“We used to know very little about the scale of elephant poaching in Africa. Now we know more about the deaths of elephants in different countries and understand better why poaching exists. This helps in the fight against poaching and illegal ivory trade,” says nature conservation expert Charles Tumwesigye from Uganda.
Trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora is regulated by the CITES Convention. The Programme for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants, commonly known as MIKE, was established in 1997 to support the implementation of the Convention. It collects information on elephant poaching in 30 countries in Africa. The figures collected by MIKE in 2008 revealed that there was a dramatic increase in the levels of poaching. Poachers hunt elephants for their ivory tusks, which are used to make objects such as ornaments destined for the Asian market in particular. Through MIKE decision-makers in different countries have received up-to-date information on both elephant population trends and ways to prevent poaching. Despite all this, elephant populations are still under threat from poachers particularly in Central and East Africa.
The MIKE Programme is implemented in Africa and Asia. Thanks to the Programme, over 700 nature experts have received training on how to prevent poaching. Finland finances the Programme through the European Union.
Photo: James Sanders, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta