“This month’s blog post is by CRC intern Greg, who was able to join the CRC at the 25th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC-Crocodile Specialist Group.  This is a gathering of THE world experts in crocodile conservation, management and research. So what was the meeting like for a new comer, aka, a “hatchling”? Find out through Greg’s “hatchling” eyes… 

Greg

Hey everyone, Greg again. For those who don’t know me I have been an intern at the CRC since this past February. In parallel to my work with crocodiles in Belize, I recently had the chance to attend the 25th meeting of the Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) of the IUCN-SSC. The IUCN(International Union for the Conservation of Nature), is a worldwide organisation of scientists that work together on the preservation and management of wild animal populations. 16,000 scientists are part of this group, which is the only NGO officially recognised by the United Nations. The SSC (Species Survival Commission) is a special commission of the IUCN. It is a network of more than 7,500 experts which “major role is to provide the IUCN with information on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and their support to human livelihoods”. To tackle issues as big as the conservation of wildlife worldwide, the IUCN is divided into smaller groups, more than 140 of them, that focus on specific taxons. The Crocodile Specialist Group is one of them. Its aim is to gather all the experts in crocodilians in the world to exchange knowledge, coordinate actions and promote crocodilian conservation. Scientists, zoo keepers, crocodile farm managers, industrials etc come together every two years to attend conferences, workshops and discuss about the conservation of all crocodilians (crocodiles, alligators, caimans, gharial and others). It is also a great occasion to reunite with old friends around a drink, meet new people, discover and talk about the work of colleagues and enjoy the surroundings.

SC

This year’s meeting was held in Santa Fe, Argentina, between the 7th and the 11th of May. I flew there for the first day of the meeting and left after the field trip on the last day. Every day started at 8:30 with 20 minute conferences that came one after another until 5:30 in the afternoon (with a lunch break and two coffee breaks in between of course). Evenings were devoted to social interactions aka, meeting some new people talking about croc-related stuff around a fresh beer or a nice meal. I personally spent a great time in Santa Fe. This meeting was the occasion to meet in person all the scientists whose work I have been reading for months. I exchanged about all kinds of topics, with people of all generations and all backgrounds and it has been a very enriching experience. There, I met great people, who devoted all their life to the conservation of wildlife and making people and wild animals live together, but also met young-up and coming researchers, whose ambition to protect crocodilians all over the world only matches their passion for crocodilians. I learned a great deal of knowledge about genetics, biochemistry, population monitoring and dynamics, conservation, human-wildlife conflicts etc. It was also an opportunity to discover Argentina and I made sure to spend as much time as I could with the locals, visit the crocodile farm of Proyecto Yacaré, discover the ruins of

caiman
Caiman latirostris

the old city of Santa Fe and enjoy every minute of my time there. This meeting gave me even more motivation and ambition and confirmed my will to work with crocodiles in the future and I would like to thank the Proyecto Yacaré(host of the meeting) for that opportunity.

Stay tuned for more CRC updates and keep crocin’.