The Wolf Specialist Group (WSG) closely coordinates its work with the Canid Specialist Group (CSG). The WSG was one of the first Specialist Groups instituted by the IUCN. The purview of the WSG is the conservation of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the red wolf (C. rufus), while that of the CSG is conservation of all the other members of the Canidae, including the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), and the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus – unrelated to true wolves).
The gray wolf was originally the most widely distributed land mammal, and it still inhabits most of the northern hemisphere. Because of the wolf’s extensive range and because of its tendency to compete with humans throughout most of its range the IUCN’s Survival Service Commission (the predecessor to the Species Survival Commission) founded the Wolf Specialist Group in 1970, with Douglas Pimlott of Canada as its chair. L. David Mech succeeded Pimlott in 1978 and has held the post since. In 2009, Mech was reappointed as co-chair of the group with Luigi Boitani.
Manifesto on Wolf Conservation
The Wolf Specialist Group when formed in the early 1970s derived this Manifesto as the group’s basic outlook on wolf conservation and updated it twice through the years. The Manifesto has been approved by the entire IUCN and thus represents the way the IUCN recommends wolf conservation to be carried out by member states, countries, and organizations. To view the Manifesto, click here (.pdf).
The WSG functions primarily by informal and formal collaboration among its members. Wolves are circumpolar, so WSG members represent several countries. Members usually meet at least once every five years, exchange information about wolf conservation problems peculiar to each area, publish status and conservation information about wolves in each area via the Canid Action Plan, and send resolutions promoting conservation actions to member countries as needed. The WSG also supports and cooperates with wolf conservation efforts of its members, such as the establishment of the International Wolf Center, and attempts to coordinate wolf conservation among various countries through the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe.
Although the WSG and the CSG function independently, they collaborate on the publication of Action Plans that cover the entire family Canidae.