Empowering data-driven elephant conservation: CITES MIKE Programme trains over 100 rangers at Southern African Wildlife College

Updated on 07 June 2024


© Zhanna / Adobe Stock

Hoedspruit, 7 June 2024 — Rangers from across the Southern African region have now established a new community of practice for monitoring and reporting on elephant mortality. Accurate and consistent data on elephant deaths is crucial for understanding and effectively addressing the threats faced by nature’s gardeners, which include human-elephant conflict, habitat loss and the illegal killing for ivory. Reliable data allows for informed decision-making and effective conservation measures to ensure the long-term survival of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in their natural habitats. 

In April 2024, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme, in partnership with the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC), successfully delivered a training session for 39 rangers at the SAWC campus, located in Greater Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit, South Africa.  

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “This partnership highlights the importance of regional cooperation and shared knowledge in tackling the challenges faced by conservationists. Beyond imparting knowledge and skills, the CITES MIKE Programme builds capacity for accurate data collection, thus providing evidence-based strategies for the conservation of elephants and increasing their resilience against the various threats to biodiversity.”  

© CITES Secretariat

Participants were trained on the MIKE Programme's framework, data collection techniques, and documentation processes, ensuring consistency and accuracy in monitoring efforts across different sites. The Training of Trainers (ToT) approach aimed to further empower these officials to share their knowledge and train more personnel within their home countries, amplifying the impact of the training programme across borders. 

This training marks the conclusion of a three-year partner project between the CITES MIKE Programme and SAWC with the goal of fostering collaboration and enhancing data-driven conservation efforts in the Southern African region’s elephant range States. Since 2022, the CITES MIKE Programme has trained in total more than 100 wildlife conservation officials from across the region. Participating countries include Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe which have been successful in their conservation of elephants and together are home to the largest and heathiest populations of African elephants.

With the support of generous funding provided by the European Union, this initiative forms part of the MIKES+ project which builds on successful previous CITES MIKE projects implemented in African elephant range States. MIKES+ supports activities to strengthen the capacity of wildlife law enforcement agencies at the national level and in focal sites to reduce the impacts of poaching and illegal wildlife trade. 




Editor’s Notes:  

For media enquiries, please contact [email protected]  

For general enquiries, please contact [email protected]   


About CITES  

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. With 184 Parties (183 countries + the European Union), it remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of international trade in over 40,900 species of wild animals and plants. CITES-listed species are used by people around the world in their daily lives for food, health care, furniture, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in such species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

Follow CITES on social media:  


The CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (or MIKE) Programme is a site-based system designed to monitor trends in levels of illegal killing of elephants and build capacity in sites spread across the range of African and Asian elephants. Information from MIKE is used by CITES Parties to inform decision making on elephant conservation and management. 

Find out more: https://citesmike.org/