Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Top ivory investigator stabbed to death

(Image: AP: Esmond Bradley Martin)

(Image: AP: Esmond Bradley Martin)

A leading investigator into the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade has been found stabbed to death in his home in Kenya, police and officials said Monday.

A family member went to Esmond Bradley Martin's house on Sunday to check on him after he did not respond to phone calls and found his body on a bed with a stab wound to the neck, said Nicolas Kamwende, head of criminal investigations in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Conservationist Paula Kahumbu said Martin, a US citizen, led investigations into the illegal trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn. He was at the forefront of exposing ivory traffickers in the US, Congo, Vietnam, Nigeria, Angola, China and recently Myanmar, Kahumbu said.

"A passionate and committed man who made a big difference to our planet. May he rest in peace," British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said in a Twitter post.

Conservation group Save the Elephants described Martin as "a longtime ally", a passionate champion of wildlife and meticulous researcher.

Illicit demand for elephant ivory has led to devastating losses from illegal poaching, as the natural habitat available for the animals to roam has also dwindled by more than half.

As a result, the number of African elephants has shrunk from about 5 million a century ago to about 400,000 remaining. Less than 30,000 rhinos are estimated to remain in the wild due to poaching.

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