IUCN/South American Camelid Specialist Group (GECS)
The IUCN/South American Camelid Specialist Group (GECS) is one of more than 100 volunteer expert groups in the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. GECS works along with more than 7,000 volunteers of the SSC, all working together towards achieving the vision of \"A world that values and conserves present levels of biodiversity.\" The GECS is comprised of around 25 specialists, actively involved in research, conservation, evaluation and programme implementation relating to the sustainable use of vicunas and guanacos in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. The Specialist Group facilitates the study of vicuñas and guanacos with a focus on population ecology, animal welfare, behavioural ecology, genetics, environmental education and rural livelihoods of local communities.
There is a strong commitment inside the GECS to develop strategies for the sustainable use of these species through investigating the impacts of use on individuals and populations. Research also includes issues relating to animal welfare and socio-economic impacts on beneficiary communities.
GECS joint activities include: technical advice and support to governments and international conventions; technical assistance for the preparation of national action and management plans; species status updates for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; research collaboration; improving linkages between research results and management applications; elaboration of guidelines for best practices; and dissemination of knowledge.
1. Research and collaboration at Guanaco use project by a local low-income cooperative in Mendoza, Argentina.
2. MACS (Manejo de Camelidos Sudamericanos, EU INCO Dev project, 2001-2005): Research on socio-economic impact of vicuña use by local communities.
3. Commodity chain analysis on vicuña fibre.
4. Development of a joint fibre commercialization plan for Andean vicuña producers.