Welcome to the 25th working meeting of the IUCN SSC Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG) in Santa Fe, Argentina.
The CSG working meeting is a biannual opportunity for crocodile specialists and enthusiasts from a range of different fields to get together and share news, research and ideas. These meetings bring researchers, zoo professionals, managers and traders together and give them all an opportunity to learn from each other and broaden their horizon.
This year’s meeting brought more than 250 people from 64 countries despite being held quite far from a major transport hub, which demonstrates the dedication of croc enthusiasts to their animal of choice.
As tradition goes the working meeting was preceded by an open steering committee meeting. Here the CSG invites all members, associated-members and everyone else interested to listen in and discuss current practices, regional reports and other issues that have risen since the previous meeting. This means that even first-time attendees can listen in and participate in the discussions and get a running start in croc conservation.
The core of the working meeting consists of presentations of what’s going on in the world of crocodile research and management.
New this year was the incorporation of a daily lecture by senior crocodilian and conservation experts which aimed at inspiring reflection amongst the attendees. These boasted both a history lesson of the CSG, as well as plans and expectations for the future.
This year the conference was held at the Universidad National Litroal (UNL) in Santa Fe, which made the whole event accessible to a lot of interested students from Santa Fe presenting their ongoing caiman research program, Project Yacaré. Students from different levels delivered presentations on an impressively wide variety. From population surveys, to biochemistry and human-wildlife conflicts, Yacaré had it all! The location of the meeting also opened up the arena for researchers and students from other Latin-American nations to attend, showing up with news on close to all the American species of crocodilians.
The more senior presenters presented on new research and observations in a huge variety of fields and species, showing off the diversity of crocodilian management and research
Strangely enough the theme of this years conference, other than caimans, seemed to be genetalia, as quite a number of presenters showed off shapes, sizes, and… tensile strength of cliteropenis’ in response to stretching.
During the meeting there were also opportunities to meet up in smaller working groups such as; red list-, regional-, human-crocodile conflict-, zoo professionals-, and other working groups, giving the participants an opportunity to talk and discuss their particular field of interest in more depth.
All the meetings and presentations a side, the most important aspect of this conference is always the networking aspect. The CSG is a great arena to network, with a flat structure giving even students the possibility to discuss complicated matters with the people in charge of the group.
Collective sessions, lunches and nightly dinners serves as a great arena for mingling with likeminded individuals, and for making new friends. As a matter of fact, I’ve met several good friends through my short journey within crocodile conservation, and this year was no exception.
So if you are interested in crocodile research, want to learn from the best managers in the field, or just want to make friends with some super cool people, come join us at the 26th Crocodile Specialist Group in 2020!