Honouring and remembering a fallen colleague

Date Published

Recently we were honored to attend the Royal Geographical Society in London to launch the inaugural Esmond B. Martin Royal Geographical Society Prize. The prize was established to honor the life and work of Esmond Bradley Martin – a much-missed friend and colleague of Save the Elephants. Esmond was murdered in his home in Nairobi in 2018, an event that rocked not only all of us at STE  but also shocked Kenya.  

Esmond was a renowned geographer and conservationist, working passionately his entire life to better understand, and close down, illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory markets. He worked closely with Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton on identifying ivory trade routes and markets across Asia and, together with his colleague Dr Lucy Vigne, published many unique and invaluable exposes and reports on the status of the trade. 

Esmond Martin in Samburu National Reserve © Iain Douglas-Hamilton/Save the Elephants

The inaugural prize was given to another close friend and colleague of Save the Elephants, Dr Paula Kahumbu, who is a Kenyan biologist and ecologist, and inspiring and committed advocate for international wildlife conservation in Africa. For over 35 years, Paula has shown outstanding achievements in the application of innovative conservation practice, knowledge and education, with far reaching impact across Africa. 

(Left to right) Dr Paula Kahumbu, Dr Ian Redmond and STE’s Dr Lucy King at the RGS event

Her vision is to change the narrative, so Africans become the primary storytellers about African wildlife and the future of community conservation. Currently CEO of WildlifeDirect, a Nairobi-based environmental NGO, Paula is the producer and presenter of Wildlife Warriors, Africa’s first wildlife documentary series made by Africans, which seeks to transform the conservation literacy in Africa by shining a light on the continent’s front-line conservationists and their work. 

On being awarded the Prize, Paula said: “Like many conservationists I admired Esmond deeply for his commitment to uncovering the details of the global ivory trade. Receiving this award is hugely humbling and I hope that I live up to his legacy.”

Save the Elephants was represented at the event by Dr Chris Thouless, Dr Lucy King and Jophie Clark.

STE’s Dr Chris Thouless at the RGS event © Lucy King/Save the Elephants