AC17 Doc. 1 Convention on international trade in endangered species

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AC17 Doc. 5.1



Seventeenth meeting of the Animals Committee

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 30 July-3 August 2001

Regional reports


This document had been prepared by Professor Kim M. Howell and Michael Griffin in their capacity as Regional Representatives for Africa.

1. Generally relatively little information has been available from the western portion of the continent and the Great Lakes region, and several of the larger States continue to experience problems of security and civil unrest, making communication and conservation efforts, including adequate implementation of CITES, difficult in some countries.

African elephant and rhinoceros

2. Many of the CITES issues in the region continue to focus on the African elephant, conservation and matters related to ivory. Similarly, the rhinoceros populations and several other species subject to international trade are also of concern. A notable high point from the Africa region is that both black and white rhinoceros numbers have continued to increase over the past few years. Although some populations and subspecies are still under considerable threat (in particular the northern white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum cottoni) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the western black rhino Diceros bicornis longipes in Cameroon). This is a very positive sign and is a further positive outcome from the various actions outlined in Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev.). For Africa, range States and consumer nations, one of the biggest potential loopholes for illegal trade are the large stockpiles of rhino horn that are building up (and will continue to do so given the present population increases).  Well over 10 tonnes of rhinoceros horn are held in government and private stockpiles in Southern Africa alone. This is an urgent issue that is also highlighted in Resolution Conf. 9.14.

Southern African Sub-Region

Implementation of the MIKE programme

3. The Monitoring of the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) system was developed as an outcome of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev.), which among other things, agreed that:

a) A comprehensive, international monitoring system shall be established under the supervision and direction of the Standing Committee with the objectives of:

i) measuring and recording current levels and trends of illegal hunting and trade in ivory in African and Asian range States, and in trade entrepots;

ii) assessing whether and to what extent observed trends are a result of changes in the listing of elephant populations in the CITES appendices and/or the resumption of legal international trade in ivory; and

iii) establishing an information base to support the making of decisions on appropriate remedial action in the event of any problems with compliance or potential detriment of the species; and

b) This monitoring system shall be in accordance with the framework outlined in Annex 1 for monitoring of illegal trade in ivory and other elephant specimens and in Annex 2 for monitoring of illegal hunting in elephant range States.

4. Annex 2 describes the features of the monitoring system to be developed. Based on this, the Secretariat commissioned a consultancy to develop such a system, the outcome of which was MIKE. The system identified a series of sites at which MIKE should be implemented, based on statistical needs and various scenarios, and divided the elephant range states into sub-regions for implementation. Certain sub-regions were identified as pilot projects for implementation, and funding was made available for these by the CITES Secretariat.

November 1999 MIKE meeting

5. The Southern African sub-region was not included in the pilot phase. Nonetheless, during the CITES Standing Committee meeting held in Lisbon in September 1999, the three Southern African countries which had been granted ivory quotas at CoP10, as well as South Africa expressed their commitment to supporting the implementation of MIKE in southern Africa. As a consequence of this, Namibia convened a meeting in Windhoek in early November 1999 between the four countries to discuss MIKE. Dr Armstrong, who presented the MIKE system to the meeting, and revealed the selected MIKE sites in the sub-region, represented the Secretariat. In the course of the meeting, each country present undertook to investigate the possibility of implementing MIKE using own funding, and it was agreed that a meeting involving all six countries in the MIKE sub-region, namely, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe should be convened as a matter of urgency.

6. This meeting was unfortunately delayed due to difficulties experienced in early 2000 in the region due to high rainfall and flooding events, and then preparations for CoP11.

MIKE training workshop - Kruger National Park, 12-14 September 2000

7. In September 2000, a MIKE training workshop was convened in the Kruger National Park. The workshop aimed at ensuring that the system known as MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) is fully implemented in the southern African sub-region. In total there were 41 participants from the six different countries and one representative from the CITES Secretariat (Annex 1).

8. The workshop included detailed discussions of the MIKE system, including the format of all data forms, which were adapted to better suit the southern African situation. The need for a standardized database for data capture was identified, and a decision was taken to try to develop this database within 6 weeks, and for the National Coordinators to meet at this time.

9. Overall, the workshop was highly successful, with substantial progress made towards full implementation of MIKE in the sub- region. The workshop also provided a unique and much appreciated opportunity for staff members from the different wildlife authorities to liaise and share experiences with counterparts from five other southern African countries.

Coordinators meeting - Windhoek, 30 October - 1 November 2000

10. This meeting aimed at identifying problems with implementation, and involved all National and Site coordinators (Annex 2). In total there were 14 participants from the six different countries. A brief introduction to the use of Access software was given by Ms A. Jarvis, and participants were able to gain some hands on experience. A preliminary database was also presented, however it was recognized that such a database could be developed much further to make it more useful. The potential for linking such a database to a GIS, and thus streamlining the whole reporting system was demonstrated.

11. Needs for implementation were identified by each country, and it was agreed that funding would be sought for a consultancy to develop a standardized database system.

Progress since the coordinators meeting

12. The latest information received from each of the countries indicates various stages of implementation:

a) Botswana has completed and submitted monthly reports and an annual report for the year 2000, and is fully implementing MIKE.

b) Mozambique has indicated that some reports are already been received from one of the sites, and that they were awaiting feedback from a pledge for funding from Portugal.

c) Namibia has a year of monthly reports (for 2000), and is in the process of compiling and submitting the annual report to the Secretariat - implementation is on track. Namibia furthermore conducted the MIKE aerial survey of the selected site during 2000.

d) South Africa has indicated that they commenced full implementation in April 2001.

e) Zambia is unable to implement MIKE due to lack of funding.

f) Zimbabwe - no feedback received yet.

13. Funding needs for Mozambique and Zambia were requested and supplied to the CITES Secretariat. Funding is still being sought for the development of the database, and it is possible that the Secretariat will be able to assist in this regard.
Eastern Africa sub-region

MIKE: Eastern Africa

14. A highly successful meeting of the steering committee for the implementation MIKE in East Africa was held in March 2001 in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, attended by representatives of Eritrea, Kenya, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The MIKE sites were confirmed at this meeting, the data collection and reporting protocols were reviewed and priority actions for implementation were decided. Every participating country provided a list of requirements for support, but also indicated that they intend to expand the monitoring system to other sites on a voluntary basis, and to use the MIKE system to collect information on other species and for general conservation management. Further implementation remains subject to the availability of external funding.


15. Dr. Howell made a presentation at a TRAFFIC East and Southern Africa region workshop involving wildlife exporters, the Tanzanian Scientific and Management Authorities, and biologists on CITES and EU regulations regarding the wildlife trade.

Western Africa sub-region

MIKE: Western Africa

16. A second MIKE implementation meeting for West Africa was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in February 2001, attended by representatives of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo to establish a steering committee, confirm sites, review data collection and reporting protocols and to determine the requirements for implementing MIKE at national level. Linkages between MIKE and the West African Elephant Conservation Strategy were discussed as well as the role of MIKE in collecting data also on other species and in support of general conservation management. The boundaries of several sites were expanded to include transborder protected areas as well as other important elephant range. Further implementation remains subject to the availability of external funding.

Marine Turtles

17. The proceedings of a CMS workshop on African Atlantic marine turtles were just recently distributed. The meeting was held in Abijan, May 1999. In addition, a conservation management plan, coordinated by Jacques Fretey, on the African-Atlantic region will soon be published

18. A linkage was noted between conservation efforts in the Caribbean, as these may have an effect of West African marine chelonian populations.


19. Representatives of the Management and/or Scientific Authorities of Benin, Guinea, Madagascar, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania attended a meeting of major exporting countries hosted by the Secretariat with support from the European Commission in February in Brussels, Belgium. This workshop aimed to share lessons among some of the largest exporters of wildlife and to find common solutions.  It was a very productive meeting and notable that the region with the greatest representation was Africa. Key aspects of the management of trade were discussed, including the roles of Management and Scientific Authorities, non-detriment findings for Appendix-II exports, national legislation, trade monitoring, annual reports and stricter domestic measures.

20. In eastern Africa as well as West Africa, there has been an interest among some countries which have not in the past been heavily involved in exporting live CITES species, especially birds and reptiles, to become more actively involved in this trade. Some states in the region have shown improvements as regards permits, quota tracking and submission of annual reports, but there is still considerable room for improvement, especially as regards non-detriment findings. The stronger domestic measures set by some importing countries such as the members of the European Union and the United States of America may have helped to promote better exporting measures in some African countries. The initiative of the CITES Secretariat in assisting Scientific Authorities in making non-detriment findings is an exciting initiative which must be encouraged throughout the region. At least one of the countries in the eastern African region, i.e. Uganda, is considering embarking on a more ambitious level of exports. However, the need for sustainability and for non-detriment findings is as great as ever.

21. Malacochersus tornieri: Although efforts are being made to continue the production of F-1 pancake tortoises from the United Republic of Tanzania, the process is being undermined by illegal trade.  In April 2001, 209 specimens were seized in Uganda from a United Republic of Tanzania company bus. Of these, 190 were eventually relocated to an enclosure in Tsavo East NP, Kenya, where future options are still being evaluated.  Assuming other consignments are leaving the region undetected, such volumes could outweigh the legal F-1 output and would thus undermine the initiative begun by the United Republic of Tanzania and supported by the CITES Secretariat after a fact-finding mission by the Animals Committee.

22. Geochelone sulcata: Some concern has been expressed over large numbers of African spurred tortoise leaving non-range States and about the details of breeding operations. It would be useful to have a report on progress regarding this situation since CoP11.

23. The captive breeding efforts at specialized institutions in the United States of America of an Appendix-I species, the Kihansi spray toad Nectophyrnoides asperginis, an endemic species of the United Republic of Tanzania, are proving difficult, with many adults suffering mortality from a parasitic worm infection in the lungs. As far as is known this is the first time an Appendix-I species of amphibian from Africa has been included in a captive breeding programme.

24.The increasing number of live animal species in international trade highlights the need for more law enforcement training in identification techniques. The popularity of live reptiles and amphibians continues to increase in international trade, with a greater diversity of species being exported than ever before.

25. Regarding enforcement problems, recent reports suggest that Djibouti and Ethiopia are still markets for large quantities of ivory and cat skins, and there is a need for better enforcement in this area.

26. Regarding the bushmeat trade, the recent TRAFFIC study on bushmeat in East and Southern Africa is the first comprehensive such effort in this part of Africa since earlier studies were in Central and West Africa. Unlike the situation in the latter regions, which is largely characterised by linkages to commercial logging operations, the situation through most of East and Southern Africa is one of meeting basic food/protein needs.  It involves many CITES species (elephant and hippopotamus, primates including blue and vervet monkeys, cape pangolin, birds such as kori bustard, ostrich, wattled crane, most large carnivores, tortoises, monitor lizards and python), and is cross-border in some cases.  Bushmeat was an important issue for the Africa region at CoP11, with the formation of a bushmeat working group. It is important that the different sub-regional dynamics are considered when determining the impacts on the CITES species involved and when suggesting solutions. As is the case with many wildlife medicinal species, the threat to many CITES species is often not international trade, but domestic trades. This again highlights the strong linkages between CITES and basic livelihood and food security issues in the Africa Region.

27. Regarding the submission of annual reports, a number of countries continue to have a poor record regarding submission of annual reports. These include Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Somalia, Swaziland and Uganda. This issue came up at the last AC meeting and needs to be examined again.

AC17 Doc. 5.1 – p.

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