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African White-backed Vulture_SAd_Leeupan

The IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Vulture Specialist Group is dedicated to Accipitrid and Cathartid vulture conservation, research and education.
Vultures and Condors are highly threatened in many parts of the world where they occur. As a group, vultures are one of the most endangered groups of birds in the world. 

The VSG was founded in 2011 and is made up of biologists, conservationists and people from other areas of expertise that work with or have an interest in vultures. The conservation philosophy is based on the concept that groups of concerned people can take a group of threatened species under their protection and assume responsibility for their survival.



The IUCN SSC Vulture Specialist Group aims to advocate and create greater awareness of the plight of vultures and coordinate effective conservation activities to their benefit.
The Vulture Specialist Group will support and work closely with BirdLife International as the Red List Authority for birds, but with particular reference to the global status of vultures.


  • Identify and communicate information about emerging threats to vultures globally

  • Promote the use of appropriate mitigation measures to address threats where possible

  • Facilitate the sharing of expertise and knowledge between regions where appropriate

  • Support CITES, at national and international level, in vulture-related issues


  • Conduct and promote scientific research on ecology and habitat use by vultures to support management decisions regarding their conservation

  • Promote and encourage sustained population monitoring at key sites for vultures using appropriate monitoring methods

  • Identify gaps in knowledge and promote applied research into such species, threats or habitats where appropriate


  • Promote and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise with regard to vultures and their conservation

  • Use Vulture News as the official print journal for the Vulture Specialist Group to disseminate information about vultures and their conservation

  • Make available published and unpublished information about vultures on a website

  • Ensure that the wider public and interest groups receive regular information and updates on the conservation of vultures


  • Work with governments, research institutions, conservation organisations and communities to develop and implement effective conservation measures

  • Support and promote the conservation of vultures through the International Vulture Awareness Day working with its partner organisations

Vulture Specialist Group Co-Chairs:

Chris Bowden  &   André Botha

Regional Co-Chairs:

Africa - Darcy Ogada
Asia - Chris Bowden
Europe - José Tavares & Vladimir Dobrev
Latin America - Sergio Lambertucci
North America - Evan Buechley

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Membership of the Vulture Specialist Group

We welcome the interest of prospective new members. However, self-nomination is generally discouraged; new members are typically nominated by existing members, but may also be nominated from outside the VSG.


All nominees are evaluated by the VSG Co-Chairs and Steering Committee of Regional Chairs, other VSG members from the relevant region, or VSG members with relevant expertise once a CV of the candidate’s relevant experience has been received. Given the VSG’s core mission of providing scientifically credible advice on the conservation of vultures, the membership is generally expected to reflect a high standard of scientific accomplishment as well as a strong commitment to conservation. We do also consider candidates without a published record where their commitment or profile demonstrates special emphasis or relevance to vulture conservation, or from a region that is otherwise under-represented.

The VSG is a voluntary network, and through circulation of its newsletter it is open to all those consenting to be added to this circulation list, and termed Friends of the VSG. Full members (also formally registered with the Species Survival Commission of IUCN) are selected so that the membership encompasses a broad range and balance of expertise and experience in terms of geography, taxonomy, and technical know-how. Also, a serious effort is made to maintain both a significant element of ‘corporate memory’ (longstanding members) and a steady infusion of ‘new blood’ (young scientists and emerging conservation leaders) – the latter are also full members, labelled as Associate Members for additional scrutiny after four years (the IUCN SSC cycle). This scrutiny is primarily on whether they remain active and relevant in the vulture field. Full members are generally reappointed for second and subsequent 4-year terms but only if they have demonstrated significant activity on behalf of the VSG.

Potential new members should initially contact their relevant regional chair (noted above) by sending an email for their attention to:

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