Orianne staff members Dr. Chris Jenkins and Heidi Hall are headed to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to participate in the second International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialists Group Chair Meeting on February 22-28, 2012. Jenkins and Hall will be representing the Viper Specialist Group, a group of international experts focused on the conservation of the world’s vipers. The meeting, which is hosted by the IUCN and funded by Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, will allow SSC chairs the opportunity to share their experiences leading Specialist Groups, discuss key work items of the groups, and will offer time to network with other group leads throughout the world.

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South American Bushmaster

The Viper Specialist Group was founded in 2010 by Dr. Jenkins (Chair) as an effort to bring together the world’s experts on vipers to focus energy and resources to save declining viper populations on a global scale. The group is housed within The Orianne Society and currently has a primary advisory membership of approximately 40 individuals representing over 30 countries, and will open the group to general membership by 2013. The group held its first meeting in October of 2011 as a web based conference, and will have its first in-person meeting during the World Congress of Herpetology Meetings in Vancouver, Canada in August 2012.

The Officers of Specialist Groups are voluntary positions. The current positions within the Viper Specialist Group include: Dr. Christopher Jenkins (Chair), Guido Saborio (Deputy Chair), Javan Bauder (Red List Focal Point), and Heidi Hall (Program Officer).

To learn more about the IUCN Viper Specialist Group, visit: http://www.oriannesociety.org/iucn-viper-specialist-group

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