Wildlife Researcher Found Murdered in Home. Known for Exposing Ivory Trade


From hunting down rhinos for their horns to elephants for ivory, poaching has amassed itself as one of the wealthiest illegal industries internationally.

As countless other species such as tigers and even marine turtles are overexploited, the effects of illegal wildlife trade are well known and can be seen on a much wider scale from the destruction it leaves behind.

Esmond Bradley Martin had been known as one of the top investigators dedicated to stopping the cruel industry of this illegal activity, providing groundbreaking work as he exposed both ivory and rhino horn trade.

His work involved the detail recordings of both legal and illegal sales throughout the world, taking numerous risks as he did so.

That all changed, however, when he was found murdered in his home last weekend.

US Marine Veteran Imprisoned in Russia Warns That If Biden Doesn't Do Something, Moscow Will 'Keep Grabbing People'

The 75-year-old had been found in his Nairobi, Kenya, home with a stab wound to the neck, where he had recently returned from a trip doing research in Myanmar.

According to authorities, he had been writing up his trip’s findings when the incident occurred. Local police suspect it to be a “botched robbery,” because their safe was standing open and had been emptied.

A so-called “pioneer” in his line of work, Martin exposed the exceeding demand and profit in the wildlife trade as he continued to influence countries to crack down on the illegal activity.

One such country so swayed by Martin was China, who outlawed rhino horn trade in 1993 based on Martin’s work and even closed its door this year on legal ivory trade — a practice that slaughtered nearly 30,000 elephants per year.

Martin was also widely known for his undercover work investigating and photographing the wildlife black market and had also been a former UN special envoy for rhino conservation as part of his life’s dedication.

The always sharply dressed Martin who had a tendency to “cut to the chase” and was “never boring” had moved to Africa in the 1970’s, where he lived with his wife between travels until his final days.

It goes without saying that his sudden absence amid the animal conservation community — both locally and worldwide — is being felt.

Rural Indiana City Offers 'Stand-in Grandparents' to New Residents

“Esmond changed the way we did investigations of the wildlife trade,” said fellow wildlife researcher Daniel Stiles.

“He brought that whole quantitative element that helped get the public’s attention.”

And his eccentric personality coupled with his extreme dedication to nature is a mark that will forever be felt by those who knew him.

“Esmond was one of the most sincere, honest and dedicated people I ever knew,” Stiles said. “He was always more interested in producing facts than building up his own reputation.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, ,
ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science/Tech, Faith, History, Gender Equality