Conservationist Esmond Bradley Martin found dead in Nairobi
World renowned conservationist, ivory trade and rhino horn trafficking investigator Esmond Bradley Martin was on Sunday found dead at his home in Karen, Nairobi.
The 75-year old was found with a stab wound in the neck, according to police and his neighbours.
Breaking the news via her official Twitter handle, WildlifeDirect CEO and National Museums of Kenya Chair Dr. Paula Kahumbu hailed Esmond for his contributions in “exposing the scale of ivory markets in USA, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and recently Myanmar.”
In a 2017 interview with the deceased, Nomad magazine described him as an “American geographer who is an expert on the rhino horn and elephant ivory trade, travelling all over the world with his wife, Chryssee Martin, and colleagues Lucy Vigne and Dan Stiles to identify the markets, the traffickers and the modern-day uses, as well as debunking some myths”.
Among his major achievements was helping persuade China to shut down its legal rhino horn trade in 1993.
On how he found himself in his line of work, Esmond is quoted to have said, “I was looking at the illegal trade in the Indian Ocean based on dhows, and my wife and I wrote a book called Cargoes of the East. Around that time, we discovered that most of the rhino horn from East Africa was going to Yemen”.
“What had happened was in the 1970s, 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?” said Esmond in the interview.
The one time UN Special Envoy for Rhino Conservation has authored many books on wildlife, among them Decline in the Legal Ivory Trade in China in Anticipation of a Ban published by Save The Elephants in 2017.