By Alexa Currier:
Elephant and Rhino lovers across the globe are mourning the loss of one of the world’s top Ivory Trade Investigator’s, Esmond Bradley Martin. On February 4th, Martin was found by his wife, dead on the floor of his home in Nairobi, Kenya, with multiple stab wounds.
Martin had just come home from Myanmar and was writing a report on his findings when he was killed according to BBC’s Alistair Leithead from Nairobi.
The attack is suspected to be a botched break in, however there is no ruling out that his work made him a target in a deliberate attack. Wildlife Conservationists have been murdered in the past for their investigations and discoveries.
Martin was a U.S. citizen and a former UN Special envoy for rhino conservation. Jani Actman, of National Geographic shared that Martin conducted dangerous investigations. He would go undercover on the black market and buy illicit goods in order to discover the products value and intended destination.
Martin first went to Kenya in the 1970’s to investigate a rapid increase in the number of elephants that were killed for their ivory. One of Martin’s most notable accomplishments was convincing China to end its legal rhino trade in 1993.
According to CNN, Ali Kaka of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, shared being an ivory investigation is a dangerous career. Individuals are at risk of being exposed without protection. Martin died doing what he was most passionate about. He knew the risks and devoted himself to it anyway.
Dr. Paula Kahumbu, an elephant expert and the CEO of Wildlife Direct, a conservation organization, tweeted that she is horrified by the death of Esmond Bradley Martin, and that “Esmond was at the forefront of exposing the scale of ivory markets in USA, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and recently Myanmar. He always collaborated with Save the Elephants and worked with many of us generously sharing his findings & views.”
He traveled all over the world with his wife, following and exposing the routes where the products were trafficked. He would photograph and document evidence of illegal sales of elephant ivory and rhino horn.
He dedicated his life to save the elephants and rhinos.
He was, and will remain an icon in conservation. Martin will be missed as he is a great loss among the international conservation community.