Statement from Save The Elephants following tragic death of Esmond Bradley Martin

Date Published

We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of wildlife-trade researcher and geographer Esmond Bradley Martin, who was killed at his home in Nairobi. A passionate champion of wildlife, meticulous researcher and advocate of the truth, his loss will be deeply felt by his family and all those who knew him.

One of the world’s leading ivory trade experts, Esmond has been a long-term ally and has led many investigations for Save The Elephants over the years. His surveys, often conducted with his long-time collaborator Lucy Vigne, shone a powerful spotlight on the wildlife markets around the world that are sucking ivory, rhino horn and countless other African species into their maw.

By charting the scale of these markets and tracking fluctuations with rigour and consistency, he provided a solid foundation for action to close them down. On Friday he was in our office, excited to see the Laotian translation of his latest report into Laos’ growing trade, and eager to discuss how it could be used to greatest effect.

Save The Elephants Founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton says: “Esmond was one of conservation’s great unsung heroes. His meticulous work into ivory and rhino horn markets was conducted often in some of the world’s most remote and dangerous places and against intensely busy schedules that would have exhausted a man half his age. During his 18 years with Save The Elephants, Esmond alongside his research partners Dan Stiles and Lucy Vigne, produced ten crucial reports into legal and illegal ivory markets in Africa, South-east Asia, the US and Europe. He played a key role in revealing the price of ivory in China had fallen prior to the Chinese Government committing to close its legal domestic market, and was working on important research on Myanmar when he died. He was my friend for 45 years and his loss is a terrible blow both personally and professionally.”

Conservation has lost an important figure, elephants have lost a great champion and the shock of Esmond’s death will be felt around the world. Our deepest condolences to his wife Chrysee, his partners in research, and to his extended family.

Save The Elephants
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