About Us

The White-bellied Heron Working Group is part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Heron Specialist Group.


Photo: Gopinathan Maheswaran

The White-belied Heron Working Group’s function is to act as a coordinating body to ensure an active and strategic approach to the conservation of the White-bellied Heron. The Working Group brings together dedicated individuals from research institutions, non-governmental and governmental organisations. It comprises people from all White-bellied Heron range states, as well as those offering additional required expertise and support.

The Working Group’s mission is: to increase and coordinate efforts to protect the species, elevate its profile, enable and mobilise more research and funding, and, ultimately ensure a viable population of White-bellied Heron for the long-term survival of the species.

The White-bellied Heron Working Group is currently hosted by Synchronicity Earth (SE): a charitable Foundation set-up to activate a coordinated response to the planet’s extinction crisis. We identify and support, both financially and in-kind, the people and organisations that strive to protect and re-build threatened species and ecosystems.

Why the Working Group was created

Before the Working Group was created, the future for White-bellied Heron looked increasingly bleak. Individuals working to protect the species in the field were feeling isolated; those researching the species were finding it hard to share their findings; funding was difficult to come by and large gaps in essential information on the species biology, ecology and behaviour meant insurmountable challenges for in-situ and ex-situ conservation action. At the request of concerned range state conservationists, SE worked with the IUCN SSC’s Species Planning Conservation Sub-Committee and others to plan and execute a workshop, held in December 2014 in Assam, India. It brought together scientists, conservationists and government representatives to begin a process of information exchange and collaboration. Its ultimate aim was to draw up an actionable species conservation strategy. During the workshop, it was collectively determined that establishing a working group, with a designated coordinator, would ensure the most effective strategy implementation.

The Working Group was established in January 2015 with permissions from the IUCN SSC Chair and the IUCN SSC Heron Specialist Group Chair.

If you want more information, please contact: WBHgemma@Synchronicityearth.org

About the IUCN SSC and its network

Within the IUCN SSC there are a network of over 9,000 experts, mainly volunteers, from across the globe. These experts contribute to more than 130 Specialist Groups, Red List Authorities and Task Forces (including Working Groups). All are working towards a common vision of “A just world that values and conserves nature through positive action to reduce the loss of diversity of life of earth”. Some of these groups focus on a broad range of issues and/or species, while others are very specific, like the White-bellied Heron Working Group. In most cases, the specificity relates to the urgency of the issues and the need to form a cooperative movement.