Leading ivory trade investigator murdered in Kenya

2018-02-06 06:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - A world-renowned ivory investigator whose detailed reports contributed to the fight against elephant poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, was killed at his home in Kenya, police said on Monday.

Esmond Bradley Martin, a 76-year-old American geographer who had lived in Kenya for decades, died after being stabbed in the neck at his house in the Nairobi suburb of Langata on Sunday afternoon, police said.

"We have four suspects in custody," Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome said.

They were arrested on Monday afteroon, Koome said. He did not give further details as to their identities or suspected role.

Martin focussed on the demand end of the illegal rhino and ivory supply chain, describing, quantifying and analysing the Asian markets in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and elsewhere.

His groundbreaking investigations, often co-authored with researcher Lucy Vigne, are credited with contributing to China's decision to close its legal ivory markets last year, said Paula Kahumbu, a leading Kenyan elephant expert and chief executive of Wildlife Direct, a conservation group.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.


FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook.

"He was one of the most important people at the forefront of exposing the ivory trade, addressing the traffickers and dealers themselves," Kahumbu said.

 'Unsung hero' 

Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, a conservation and research organisation that funded and published Martin's reports over many years, described him, as "one of conservation's great unsung heroes."

"His meticulous work into ivory and rhino horn markets was conducted often in some of the world's most remote and dangerous places and against intensely busy schedules that would have exhausted a man half his age," Douglas-Hamilton said.

Martin was working on a new report into Myanmar's emerging role in the illegal wildlife trade when he was killed. It is unclear whether his murder was related to his work or simply criminal.

"He was my friend for 45 years and his loss is a terrible blow both personally and professionally," said Douglas-Hamilton.

Poaching has killed an estimated 110 000 elephants over the last decade, with transnational organised crime syndicates taking over the illicit trade.

The most recent figures, for 2016, showed the global trade in illegal ivory continues to thrive in light of record seizures despite a decline in poaching.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.