Quantcast

World-Renowned Ivory and Rhino Horn Investigator Killed in Kenya

Animals

The conservation world is mourning the loss of renowned rhino horn and elephant ivory trade investigator Esmond Bradley Martin, who was found dead Sunday at his home in Nairobi‚ Kenya.

The 75-year-old U.S. citizen had a stab wound in the neck. His wife, Chryssee Martin, reported the death.


Kenyan Interior Ministry spokesman Mwneda Njoka told CNN that police have launched an investigation and have yet to establish a motive.

Some reports also suggested his death may have been the result of a botched robbery, but questions have been raised that his death might have been related to his work, per The Guardian.

The Star, Kenya reported that Bradley Martin had been traveling around the world with his wife and colleagues Lucy Vigne and Dan Stiles on a mission to identify ivory and rhino markets, the traffickers and the modern-day uses. He was reportedly working on an exposé on the findings.

Bradley Martin, a trained geographer and a former special envoy of the United Nations for rhino conservation, dedicated decades of his life to document the dangerous, unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam, Laos, China, African nations and the United States.

He risked his life by going undercover and posing as a buyer of the illicit items and published numerous articles on the state of wildlife trafficking. Notably, his work helped persuade China to shut down its rhino horn trade in 1993 and then its ivory trade in 2017.

Decades of unprecedented poaching for elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns have threatened the survival of these iconic animals. Bradley Martin told Nomad Magazine last year that he first came to Africa in the 1970s, when there had been a huge slaughter of elephants in East Africa, followed in the 1980s by rhinos.

"In Kenya, there were around 20,000 rhinos in 1970, but by the 1990s, most of the rhinos had been eliminated. The puzzle was: why were all these rhinos being killed, and where was the horn going?" he said.

A UN report found that 60 percent of elephant deaths are at the hands of poachers and at least 20,000 elephants were killed for ivory in 2015.

Save The Elephants, which published Bradley Martin's last report Decline in the Legal Ivory Trade in China in Anticipation of a Ban last year, lamented the loss.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of wildlife-trade researcher Esmond Bradley Martin who died yesterday in Nairobi," the conservation group said. A long term ally for STE, passionate champion of wildlife and meticulous researcher, his loss will be deeply felt by all who knew him."

Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC's Elephant and Rhino program leader, who knew Bradley Martin since the late 1970's said: "Esmond was the individual who invented modern market monitoring for ivory and rhino horn and he blazed an unparalleled trail around the world, endlessly documenting the scale and scope of the ugly trades that continue to push the world's iconic pachyderms to the brink."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on Sept. 19 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.

Read More Show Less

By Winona LaDuke

For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.

Read More Show Less
The climate crisis often intensifies systems of oppression. Rieko Honma / Stone / Getty Images Plus

By Mara Dolan

We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.

Read More Show Less