Kenyan police said Esmond Bradley Martin was stabbed to death on Sunday afternoon and four suspects have been arrested.
Those who loves elephant and cares not to be killed to benefit ivory traders will be shocked to know a 76-year-old American geographer has been killed in his house in Kenyan capital Nairobi.
There was no immediate suggestion from authorities of a link to his work, which often delved into the illegal activities of traders and traffickers whose exploitation of African ivory and rhino horn for global buyers, many of them in Asia, has fueled the mass slaughter of the iconic species.
Having worked undercover in some of the world's most unsafe places, he had photographed and documented ivory markets, talked to traffickers and also calculated black market prices to help global conservation policy makers - often having to encounter gangsters and drug barons along the way. As for elephant ivory, Bradley Martin found that 40% ended up in Japan, where it was used for making name seals, called hankos, around 20% went to Europe and 10-15% to the US. In one of his last research papers published past year, Martin showed that even though the price of ivory declined overall, business was moving from China and Hong Kong to Laos. Their research, funded by Save the Elephants, revealed that Laos has become the fastest-growing ivory market in the world.
The US citizen had recently returned from a research trip to Myanmar. Save the Elephants (STE) Kenya tweeted: "We are deeply saddened by the death of wildlife-trade researcher Esmond Bradley Martin who died yesterday in Nairobi".More news: Ex-gymnastics doctor Nassar again sentenced, gets minimum of 40 years
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"Esmond was one of conservation's great unsung heroes". The country was the world's largest importer of ivory, and the trade was responsible for the deaths of as many as 30,000 elephants in Africa a year.
Wildlife experts, environmental organizations, and the United Nations said the world had lost a conservationist who was rigorous in his work and reporting.
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said in a statement that Mr. Martin's work "had a profound impact and advanced efforts to combat illegal wildlife trafficking across the planet".
Past year 197 people were killed standing up to governments and companies that harm the environment or confiscate land, according to a recent report by Global Witness.