The department of environmental affairs and tourism has confirmed the line-up of scientists who will take part in the second Elephant Science Round Table. Acting head of communications for environmental affairs, Mava Scott, says that the scientists at the round table will be asked to provide advice on the following issues:
- What scientific interventions are required for the implementation of an adaptive management research programme in the near future?
- How would a multi-stakeholder research programme be set up and administered?
- How would it work in practice?
- How much will it cost - and over what time period should it operate?
- Who should monitor the process and how would the "learnings" be absorbed into elephant management policy and practice? An active adaptive management approach or 'learning by doing' was put forward at the first round table as being necessary to help reduce management uncertainties in complex systems.
Along with the scientific round table discussions, minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk has apparently received "hundreds of submissions" from stakeholders around the world. Scott said that the department's specialists were making good progress with the drafting of norms and standards for elephant management and that the contribution from the second round table would enhance the process.
The regulations are expected to be published before the end of the year. The second round table will be facilitated by Dr Brian Huntley from Sanbi, and will consist of Prof Norman Owen-Smith (Wits University), Prof Rudi van Aarde (University of Pretoria), Prof Graham Kerley (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Dr Hector Magome (Sanparks head of research), Dr Ian Whyte (Sanparks large herbivore expert), Dr David Cumming (University of Zimbabwe), Bruce Page (University of KwaZulu- Natal), Prof Rob Slotow (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and Dr Bob Scholes (CSIR) plus newcomers to the round table Dr Holly Dublin (Chair, Species Survival Commission, World Conservation Union), Dr Iain Douglas- Hamilton (Chief executive, Save the Elephants), Prof Kevin Rogers (Wits University).