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Top ivory investigator stabbed to death

BBC News logo BBC News 2/5/2018
Dr. Esmond Martin speaking on May 5, 2008 in Washington, DC: Esmond Bradley-Martin has been killed at his home in Kenya © AFP Esmond Bradley-Martin has been killed at his home in Kenya

One of the world's leading investigators into the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn has been killed in Kenya.

Esmond Bradley-Martin, 75, was found with a stab wound to his neck at home in the capital Nairobi on Sunday.

The former UN special envoy for rhino conservation was known for his undercover work establishing black-market prices.

The US citizen had recently returned from a research trip to Myanmar.

Bradley-Martin was in the process of writing up his findings when he died, reports the BBC's Alastair Leithead from Nairobi.

Esmond Martin (3rd R), a United Nations special envoy whose responsibility is the problem of rhinoceros poaching and trafficking, inspects 20 confiscated rhino horns, elephant tusks and ivory objects at the Taipei Zoo 04 June before the illegal goods were incinerated publicly to demonstrate the government's commitment to protecting wildlife.: Bradley-Martin spent decades working uncovering the illegal trade (pictured in 1993) © Getty Images Bradley-Martin spent decades working uncovering the illegal trade (pictured in 1993)

His wife found him in their house in Langata. Police are investigating the circumstances but suspect it was a botched robbery.

Our correspondent says Bradley-Martin had spent decades risking his life to secretly photograph and document the illegal sales in ivory and rhino horn, travelling to China, Vietnam, and Laos to pose as buyers - helping establish black market prices.

He had first come to Kenya from the US in the 1970s when there was a surge in the number of elephants being killed for their ivory.

His work on illegal wildlife markets helped pressure China to ban the rhino horn trade in the 1990s, and domestic ivory sales, which came into force this year.

Fellow conservationists have been paying tribute to him on social media.

https://twitter.com/paulakahumbu/status/960409556743487488

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