Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

Establishing a Long Term System
for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE)

1. Executive summary

This proposal describes a long-term system for monitoring the illegal killing of elephants in Africa and Asia that is currently under development by the IUCN Species Survival Commission's African (AfESG) and Asian (AsESG) Elephant Specialist Groups. This system is being designed and developed at the request of the Parties to CITES.

In response to the adoption of Res. Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16) and the related decisions, Dec.10.1 and Dec.10.2 (Annex 1), taken at the tenth Conference of the Parties to CITES in Harare in June 1997, the IUCN/SSC's AfESG and AsESG began work on the required monitoring system over the past year. This development has taken place through dedicated workshops and extensive consultations.

As mandated in the resolution, the monitoring system is designed to measure and identify trends in the illegal killing of elephants in Africa and Asia, to determine changes in these trends and to assess whether and to what extent these trends are a result of changes in the status of African elephant populations within CITES.

Data requirements, the process of selecting sample survey sites, data collection and compilation mechanisms and the system's organisational structure are described in this document. The preferred sampling scenario (Scenario 3) comprises 45 sites across the African region and 15 sites across Asia. The sites have been selected through a complex statistical process designed to detect significant levels of illegal killing with an acceptable degree of precision. Two other scenarios for Africa covering fewer sites, have also been developed but provide relatively lower precision without commensurate cost savings. The site selection process for Asia is underway at the time of writing.

The system - Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) - is based on population surveys in each site every two years coupled with more regular collection of continuous data sets from the sample sites. Range State governments, NGO personnel working at the sites and members of the AfESG and AsESG will collect, compile and report data and provide logistical support. Survey teams will be hired or recruited locally according to need. Existing survey and data collection capability and capacity will be utilised fully where it is available.

A permanent Technical Support and Data Processing Unit will need to be established to provide training and to build capacity of personnel within the Range States to collect and compile data at the site, national, sub-regional and regional level. The Unit itself will provide the appropriate methodologies and protocols for data collection, oversee the overall compilation of data from both Africa and Asia, analyse and interpret these data, and report to governments, IUCN, CITES and other parties as required.

Regardless of the scenario selected, fixed one-off costs to establish the MIKE system across Africa and Asia are estimated at US$742,383. The indicative annual recurrent costs for the preferred Scenario 3 are approximately US$2,350,000 per year.

As this system is an entirely new initiative it will require institutional, material and financial support from both Range State governments and donor agencies.

2. Background to the process