06 February 2018Animals
The 75-year-old U.S. citizen had a stab wound in the neck. His wife, Chryssee Martin, reported the death.
<p> Kenyan Interior Ministry spokesman Mwneda Njoka told <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/05/africa/ivory-investigator-killed-kenya/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> that police have launched an investigation and have yet to establish a motive. </p><p> 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 <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/05/leading-ivory-trade-investigator-killed-in-kenya" target="_blank">The Guardian</a>. </p><p> <a href="https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/02/05/top-ivory-investigator-esmond-martin-killed-in-nairobi_c1708863" target="_blank">The Star, Kenya</a> 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. </p><p> 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, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/elephants-being-slaughtered-for-ivory-faster-than-they-can-reproduce-1882186575.html">unsustainable</a> and illegal <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/wildlife">wildlife</a> trade in Vietnam, Laos, China, African nations and the United States. </p><p> He risked his life by going undercover and posing as a buyer of the illicit items and published <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/2015392019_Esmond_Martin">numerous articles</a> 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. </p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-twitter_embed"> </p><div id="4ed87" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4JASUZ1576663756"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="814882765900578817" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Victory: #China to Ban #Ivory Trade by End of 2017 https://t.co/EZjTApYlNR @NRDC @LeoDiCaprio @WWF @CenterForBioDiv</div> — EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)<a href="https://twitter.com/EcoWatch/statuses/814882765900578817">1483118165.0</a></blockquote></div> <p></p><p> Decades of unprecedented poaching for elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns have threatened the survival of these iconic <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/animals">animals</a>. Bradley Martin told <a href="http://nomadmagazine.co/interview-with-esmond-bradley-martin-we-can-turn-poaching-around/" target="_blank">Nomad Magazine</a> 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. </p><p> "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. </p><p> A UN <a href="https://cites.org/eng/news/pr/african_elephants_still_in_decline_due_to_high_levels_of_poaching_03032016" target="_blank">report</a> 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. </p><p> <span></span><a href="http://www.savetheelephants.org/" target="_blank">Save The Elephants</a>, 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. </p><p> "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." </p><p> <span></span>Tom Milliken, <a href="http://www.traffic.org/" target="_blank">TRAFFIC</a>'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." </p>
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A Kenyan ranger guards poached elephant tusks in preparation for the destruction of 105 tons of ivory and a ton of rhino horn in April. Mwangi Kirubi / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
China's ivory trade ban is now in effect, making it illegal to sell and buy ivory in the country.
<p style="">China, one of the world's largest markets for both legal and illegal ivory, has been a major driver of elephant <a href="http://www.ecowatch.com/tag/poaching">poaching</a> in Africa. Last year, the Chinese government announced its commitment to shut down its legal, domestic ivory markets by the end of 2017. By March 3, about 67 ivory carving factories and shops had been closed, according to <a href="http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-12/30/c_136861722.htm" target="_blank">Xinhua News</a>. The remaining markets and factories are said to have been shut by Dec. 31, 2017.</p><p style="">Conservationists have welcomed this ban.</p><p style="">"Decades from now, we may point back to this as one of the most important days in the history of elephant conservation," Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation at the <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/" target="_blank">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF) said in a <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/wwf-statement-on-closure-of-domestic-ivory-markets-in-china" target="_blank">statement</a>. "China has followed through on a great promise it made to the world, offering hope for the future of elephants."</p><p style="">Raising awareness about the ban and reducing demand for ivory, however, is critical for the ban to work, conservationists say. In a <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/press-releases/consumers-in-china-widely-support-upcoming-ivory-ban-but-awareness-is-low-largest-ever-ivory-consumer-survey-finds" target="_blank">recent survey</a>, WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, found that only 19 percent of the people interviewed in mainland China had heard of the ivory ban. But on learning about the ban, 86 percent of the people surveyed said they would support it.</p><p style="">The ivory ban has also received support from celebrities like NBA star Yao Ming. In 2012, conservation groups WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, together with Yao Ming, launched a large public awareness campaign to highlight how the demand for ivory was fueling elephant poaching in Africa.</p><p style="">"We can start 2018 hopeful that elephants will be safer now that China has banned commercial ivory sales," WildAid CEO Peter Knights said in a <a href="http://www.wildaid.org/yaomingchinaivoryban" target="_blank">statement</a>. "Prices are down and law enforcement efforts in many parts of Africa and Asia are much improved."</p><p style="">The ivory ban alone, however, won't end the poaching of elephants, Hemley said. "It's equally critical that China's neighbors follow suit and shut down ivory markets across Asia. Only then can we ensure the open trade doesn't simply shift to other countries and offer traffickers safe channels for newly-poached ivory."</p><p style="">"The fate of Africa's elephants depends on global rejection of ivory trade, and governments hold the key to driving this," Hemley added.</p><p style=""> <em>Reposted with permission from our media associate <a href="https://news.mongabay.com/2018/01/ivory-trade-in-china-is-now-banned/" target="_blank">Mongabay</a>.</em></p>
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