Wildlife & Biodiversity

Asian Elephant Specialist Group meet starts in Malaysia

Various issues concerning the Asian Elephant to be discussed at the event

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 06 December 2019
Asian Elephant Specialist Group meets in Malaysia
Delegates at the Asian Elephant Specialist Group in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Photo: Wildlife Trust of India Delegates at the Asian Elephant Specialist Group in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Photo: Wildlife Trust of India

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 10th Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) Meeting started on December 5, 2019, at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

More than 130 elephant conservationists, partner organisations and experts have gathered at the meeting. They will discuss the threats and challenges faced by Asian elephants and suitable conservation plans till December 8, a press statement said.

Issues to be discussed at the meet include national action plans for elephant conservation by Asian elephant range states, best practices in managing human-elephant conflict, mechanisms to involve group members in monitoring the illegal killing of elephants, issues related to captive elephant welfare and sharing and learning from the African experience, the statement added.

“This is the first time the AsESG meeting is being organised in Malaysia, I want to personally thank the government for hosting this prestigious meet at Kota Kinabalu, right at the doorstep of wild elephants,” Vivek Menon, chief executive of New Delhi-based non-profit Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), said in his opening remarks. Menon is the Chair of AsESG since 2016.

The island of Borneo, divided between Malaysia and Indonesia, is home to the Borneo elephant, also called the Borneo pygmy elephant. Kota Kinabalu, where the meet is being organised, is in the Malaysian half of Borneo.

WTI’s veterinarian NVK Ashraf will share guidelines to treat, minimise and manage the spread of emerging new diseases among elephants. Another member, Bhaskar Choudhury, will share challenges and lessons learnt on the rehabilitation of rescued Asian elephant calves in Assam.

Other issues regarding India’s elephants that will be discussed include emerging challenges to elephant conservation such as electrocution as well as solutions to deal with conflict such as early warning systems and mobile technologies.

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of voluntary specialists concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) that exist in 13 range states.

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