10 September 2005
New Chair for the Canid Specialist Group
Dear Canid Person,
As you may know, I was the founder Chairman of the Canid Specialist Group and I have held the role of Chairman for almost quarter of a century. I am pleased to observe, and feel it is not immodest to do so, that the CSG has always been at the vanguard of innovation amongst specialist groups. I also observe how the state of that vanguard has changed unrecognisably over the years - the first, xeroxed newsletters, that I was originally so proud of, would seem childishly amateur today.Happily, I believe we have kept up with the times.
One of the achievements of the CSG that gives me special pleasure was the appointment in 1995 of a dedicated conservation officer - again, this move was at a time when it was very unusual. That person was Dr Claudio Sillero-Zubiri and over the years it has been my pleasure and good fortune that we have continued to work together. Latterly, as you know, Claudio has been Deputy Chairman of the CSG and he and I worked together very hard on our recent trio of accomplishments - these were the organisation of our major canid conference in 2001 and the ensuing book and action plan (and while I devoted the lion's share of the effort to the book, Claudio shouldered mighty responsibility for the plan). In short, under my Chairmanship Claudio has served the CSG more loyally and for longer than has any other, and he has accumulated knowledge, accomplishment and experience.
Although my dedication to canids is undiminished, and my aspirations for the CSG as keen as ever, I feel it is time to make my contribution in different ways. Therefore, when I was recently invited to re-new my Chairmanship, I declined. I also indicated my opinion that the most suitably qualified successor would be Dr Claudio Sillero-Zubiri. The SSC has indeed invited Claudio to take-up this role, and I am delighted that he has accepted.
A number of related things have happened or are happening. First, I am very flattered to say that the SSC has appointed me as a Member Emeritus of the IUCN. I have also agreed to remain a member of the Canid Specialist Group. In that respect I have learnt from Claudio, flatteringly, that he holds the opinion that I have some skills that are important to his vision for the future of the CSG, and he is considering a mechanism to make the most of these. It seems, therefore, that you may not entirely escape from me!
I would like to say how much I have appreciated the friendships and fascination of dealing with you all over the years - and indeed I hope these contacts will continue into the future. I also wish Claudio the best of luck with what is an increasingly demanding role, and one inwhich he will be relying on your efforts and enthusiasm.
With warm regards,
Chair, Canid Specialist Group, 1981-2005
Professor David W. Macdonald, DSc.
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
University of Oxford, Tubney House
Abingdon Road, Tubney OX13 5QL, UK