Assisting the CITES Secretariat in identifying lessons learnt from MIKE implementation, and designing new projects in Africa and Asia


Throughout their natural range in Africa and Asia, elephants are being illegally killed at alarming rates, largely as a consequence of the rising demand for ivory in the Far East. In response to this critical and on-going threat, elephant range States across Africa and Asia, together with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), have since 2001 jointly implemented the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme. The goal of MIKE is to generate reliable and impartial data on elephant populations’ status, trends and threats in order to enable range States to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions, while also building institutional capacity within the range States for the long-term management of their elephant populations.

The MIKE Programme has established a strong presence on the ground, operating in over 80 sites across 44 elephant range States in Africa and Asia. Building on this solid track record, CITES has recently launched several major projects strengthening and expanding on MIKE’s focus and responding to key lessons learnt. The MIKES Project, launched in 2015 with European Union support, plays a key role in this regard, continuing the MIKE monitoring of illegal killing of elephants across all MIKE sites in Africa, as well as mounting targeted efforts to build wildlife law enforcement capacity in critical areas and covering additional African CITES-listed flagship species such as rhinos and great apes. In Asia, MIKE is currently being implemented in South Asia with support from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the 2014-2016 period, and will receive significant additional support from the new joint initiative between CITES and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) addressing law enforcement and demand for wildlife across Asia (2016-2018). This EU-funded project aims to curb the trade in key African species such as elephants, rhinos and pangolins in the main Asian destination countries, while also reducing the illegal killing of Asian elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Our contribution

Rangers with GPS device

Over the past few years, CDC has provided on-going technical support to MIKE in developing new initiatives enhancing the programme’s relevance in view of the evolving needs of participating range States as well as recent developments in the fight against poaching and the illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife products. Building on the key findings and lessons learnt from our Final Evaluation of MIKE Phase II (see here), which covered the programme’s implementation over the 2006-2012 period, CDC assisted CITES with the development and launch of the 2013-2014 MIKE 3.0 interim phase. Subsequently, CDC has provided substantial technical backstopping in the development and launch of the new MIKES Project, as well as helping to design both the USFWS-supported MIKE Project in South Asia as well as the new UNODC-CITES Asia-wide Law Enforcement and Demand Management Project.


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