The CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme is a site-based system designed to monitor trends in the illegal killing of elephants, build management capacity and provide information to help range States make appropriate management and enforcement decisions.
November 2021 MIKE report
Go to the official MIKE website.
The MIKE Programme is entirely dependent on donor support. The European Union has been the most important donor for the MIKE programme and has funded implementation in Africa since its inception in 2001, and in Asia since 2017. Funding has also been provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Governments of Japan, the United Kingdom and China.
The overall aim of MIKE is to provide information needed for elephant range States and the Parties to CITES to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions, and to build institutional capacity within the range States for the long-term management of their elephant populations. MIKE aims to help range States improve their ability to monitor elephant populations, detect changes in levels of illegal killing, and use this information to provide more effective law enforcement and strengthen any regulatory measures required to support such enforcement.
At the core of the MIKE Programme is the site based monitoring of elephant mortality. When an elephant carcass is found, local site personnel try to establish and record the cause of death and other details. This information is recorded in standardized forms, details of which are then consolidated and submitted to the MIKE programme for analysis. This information enables MIKE to identify any changes in poaching pressure, and to develop both subregional and a continent-wide picture of the extent of and trends in the illegal killing of elephants.
One of the major functions of the analysis of this information is to provide a reliable, robust and impartial information base to support discussions and decision making on elephant conservation and management. Summaries reports of the information on trends in illegal elephant killing are updated annually on the CITES website. The information and analyses are also presented at annual CITES Standing Committee meetings and three yearly meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
One of the core mandates given to the MIKE Programme is to build capacity in elephant range States to make use of MIKE in managing elephants and enhancing enforcement. Where funding allows, the MIKE Programme is also working with national wildlife management agencies to support efforts to enhance enforcement capacity in a number of MIKE sites across Africa. This capacity building typically focuses on providing support to front-line area management and patrol staff designed to help them do their jobs more effectively.
Currently, the MIKE programme is implementing two major projects funded by the European Union in Africa.
The first of these is the Minimizing the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species Plus (MIKES+) or Intra-ACP Wildlife Trafficking project, which is the flagship of the MIKE programme. Alongside the traditional MIKE Programme monitoring, capacity building and reporting, the project includes activities to strengthen the capacity of local law enforcement agencies to reduce the impacts of poaching and illegal wildlife trade on key species. MIKES+ is funded by the 11th European Development Fund with the support of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
The second European Union funded project being implemented in East and Southern Africa is the Cross Regional Wildlife Conservation in Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which is being implemented in partnership with UNODC and the Convention on Migratory Species. The project aims to build capacity and systems to combat the illegal wildlife trade at the site, national and regional levels. The CITES MIKE Programme is leading in the implementation of activities to enhance enforcement and cross-border collaboration between MIKE sites and other areas located in critical transboundary ecosystems in eastern and southern Africa.
In Southeast Asia, the United States’ Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is funding MIKE implementation in some of the Asian elephant range States through the following project: Improving the conservation of Asian elephants through strengthened monitoring of illegal killing of elephants and CITES implementation in Southeast Asia. The focus of the project is to build the capacity of Southeast Asian MIKE sites to monitor illegal killing of elephants and implement protection and enforcement measures; while also supporting national and sub-regional actions to implement key CITES commitments relating to trade in elephant specimens.
Every two to three years, the Conference of the Parties meets to review the implementation of the Convention. The MIKE Programme reports to each Conference of the Parties. Links to these reports are provided below.
|CoP18 (2019) Addendum
|CoP17 (2016) Addendum
|CoP16 (2013) Addendum
The Standing Committee provides policy guidance to the Secretariat on the implementation of the Convention and carries out tasks given to it by the Conference of the Parties. Usually the Standing Committee meets once a year. The MIKE Programme reports to each Standing Committee in a document jointly prepared with ETIS, UNEP-WCMC, AfESG, AsESG. Links to these reports are below:
|SC70 (2018) Annex
|SC69 (2017) Annex
|SC61 (2011) Annex 1
|SC62 (2011) Annex 2
The implementation of MIKE is the responsibility of the Standing Committee, who has in turn set up a sub-committee, known as the MIKE-ETIS Subgroup, to carry out that responsibility. The CITES Secretariat is charged with hiring appropriate experts to provide technical support. It has done this by establishing a MIKE Central Coordinating Unit (MIKE CCU) which is currently located at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
For the purposes of MIKE implementation, Africa is divided into four subregions and Asia are is divided two sub-regions. In each of these sub-regions implementation is supervised by a Sub-regional Steering Committee, comprised of the national wildlife directors from participating elephant range States. Each range State also has a National focal point and each site has a locally based Site focal point.
MIKE’s technical outputs are overseen and endorsed by an independent Technical Advisory Group (TAG). Established by the Standing Committee, the TAG is a group of volunteer experts drawn from across the globe. The TAG guides the technical quality of the MIKE processes and methods, and reviews the programme’s analytical outputs. The TAG is comprised of one expert from each sub-region and six global specialists.
The MIKE-ETIS Subgroup was established by the CITES Standing Committee at its 41st meeting (Geneva, February 1999). At its 49th meeting (Geneva, April 2003) the mandate of the Subgroup was expanded to include ETIS.
The role of the MIKE and ETIS Subgroup is laid out in the group’s Terms of Reference.
The membership of the MIKE and ETIS Subgroup is usually re-established at the meeting of the Standing Committee that immediately follows each meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The current membership is as follows:
- Four African elephant range States (2 anglophone and 2 francophone): Chad, Kenya, Senegal and Zambia;
- Two Asian elephant range States: China and Indonesia; and
- Two representatives from Europe and North America: Belgium and United States of America.
Meeting documents for the MIKE ETIS Subgroup meeting: 6 – 10 November 2023
- Draft agenda - SC77 Information document 13
- Presentation of aggregated summaries of validated ETIS data on ETIS online
Meeting documents for the MIKE ETIS Subgroup meeting: 7 – 11 March 2022
- Draft agenda - SC74 Inf. 5
- MESG19 Doc. 1 - Membership of the MIKE AND ETIS Technical Advisory Group
- MESG19 Doc. 2 - Non reporting for data aggregates
The records of meetings of the Subgroup are provided below for general information.
The Standing Committee is charged with establishing a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to provide technical oversight to both MIKE and ETIS.Broadly, the TAG was established:
- To ensure the technical and practical soundness of MIKE and ETIS;
- To help ensure the consistency and appropriateness of the design, development and implementation of MIKE across the six sub-regions in Africa and Asia and of ETIS worldwide; and
- To advise on appropriate analytical procedures and time-frames for outputs or products from MIKE and ETIS to the Parties or relevant bodies established by the Parties.
The TAG Terms of Reference were reviewed and approved by the MIKE and ETIS Subgroup of the Standing Committee in 2014.
The TAG consists of up to 12 members, plus additional co-opted members. Six members are nominated by range State governments of the six subregions where elephants occur. The MIKE and ETIS Subgroup reviews and confirms nominations made by the range States. The rest of the members are appointed by the MIKE and ETIS Subgroup on the basis of their expertise on relevant subjects. The chairs of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant and Asian Elephant Specialist Groups (AfESG and AsESG respectively) are co-opted members of the TAG.
As described in Notification to the Parties 2022/025, the current members of the TAG are the following:
Minutes of the TAG meetings are available below:
- 16th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Online, 1-2 July 2020)
- 15th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 16-19 September 2019)
- 14th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 7-8 November 2018)
- 13th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 21-22 March 2016)
- 12th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 7-8 April 2014)
- 11th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 6-10 December 2012)
- 10th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Naivasha, Kenya, 30-31 May 2011)
- 9th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 6-10 December 2010)
- 8th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 14-15 December 2009)
- 7th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13 January 2009)
- 6th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Entebbe, Uganda, 3-4 March 2008)
- 5th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, Kenya, 4-5 July 2006)
- 4th Technical Advisory Group meeting (Windhoek, Namibia, 9-10 December 2003)
- 3rd Technical Advisory Group meeting (Accra, Ghana, 28-29 April 2003)
- 2nd Technical Advisory Group meeting (Farnham, United Kingdom, 27-28 May 2002)
- 1st Technical Advisory Group meeting (Nairobi, 28-29 November 2001)
- Nominating a site focal point with responsibility for overseeing MIKE-related activities at the site, as well as a national focal point (if not already in place)
- Regularly collecting, synthesising and transmitting elephant mortality (and if possible patrol effort and coverage data) to the MIKE Programme
- Carrying out assessments of site law enforcement capacity, through completion of the MIKE Site-level Law Enforcement Capacity Assessment;
- Facilitating independent verification of site data when requested by the MIKE Programme
The geographical designations employed in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the CITES Secretariat (or the United Nations Environment Programme) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Republic of Tanzania
Nazinga Game Ranch
Cabora Bassa (Magoe South District)
Babban Rafi Forest
|SOUTH EAST ASIA
Samtse Forest Division
People's Republic of China
Deomali Elephant Reserve
Lao People's Democratic Republic
|Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
The CITES MIKE Programme encourages range States that have suitable conservation areas with elephant populations that are not already MIKE sites to nominate these areas for inclusion as new MIKE sites. To do so, the wildlife management agency mandated for managing the proposed site should complete a MIKE site nomination form electronically and email it to the MIKE CCU.
The application form must be accompanied by the following:
- A letter signed by the head of the management agency for the site being proposed, nominating the site and confirming the agency's willingness to meet the MIKE site requirements (A template for this letter is provided at the end of the nomination form);
- Geographical Information System (GIS) files (e.g. shapefile or kml file) of the proposed MIKE site showing the site's boundaries;
- A completed MIKE site law enforcement capacity assessment.
All documents can be obtained from the MIKE Programme CCU at the contact details below, or via email request. Proposals for new MIKE sites will be reviewed by the MIKE Technical Advisory Group (TAG), and the concerned wildlife management agency will be informed in due course whether their application has been accepted.
MIKE also encourages partners supporting monitoring activities at potential new MIKE sites to work with their host wildlife management agencies in submitting application forms for their sites and, once accepted, in fulfilling the MIKE site monitoring data requirements. However, the MIKE Site Application Form is only to be submitted by representatives of the wildlife agency mandated for managing the proposed MIKE site (at the national or sub-national level as appropriate).
Data and Analysis
MIKE evaluates relative poaching levels based on the Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants (PIKE), which is calculated as the number of illegally killed elephants found divided by the total number of el ephant carcasses encountered by patrols or other means, aggregated by year for each site. PIKE can be scaled up to the subregional and continental levels.
While PIKE provides a sensitive measure of poaching trends, it may be affected by a number of potential biases related to data quality, carcass detection probabilities, variation in natural mortality rates and other factors, and hence results need to be interpreted with caution.
g) summaries and aggregates of data provided to MIKE and ETIS, and the analyses of such data, constitute information that will be considered to be in the public domain once they are published on the CITES website, or otherwise publicly distributed; the detailed data on individual seizure cases, elephant mortalities and law enforcement submitted to MIKE or ETIS are owned by the respective data providers, which in most case are the CITES Parties; any such data relating to a CITES Party will be accessible to that Party for information and review purposes, but will not be released to any third party without the consent of the Party concerned; data may also be released to contractors (e.g. statisticians) or other researchers (e.g. MIKE and ETIS Subgroup - approved research collaborations) under appropriate non-disclosure agreements; and
- Numbers of carcasses found for each site and year
- Continental and Sub-regional PIKE trend for Africa
- Continental PIKE trend for Asia
Any third parties wishing to obtain more detailed elephant carcass data should get in touch with the CITES management authority of the elephant range State(s) concerned.
The MIKE analytical method, and more specifically the programming code and description of its use for the PIKE trend analysis reported in the following reports, can be accessed through the GitHub repository:
- Document CoP18 Doc. 68.2 and its Addendum (MIKE_LSMEANS_Code)
- MIKE Report: PIKE trend analysis – Methodology and Results: November 2020 (MIKE 2020 GLMM)
- Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE): PIKE trend analysis 2003 – 2020 (MIKE 2021 GLMM-unweighted)
- Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE): PIKE trend analysis 2003-2021 (MIKE 2022 GLMM-unweighted)
- Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE): PIKE trend analysis 2023
(MIKE 2023 GLMM-unweighted)