Police looking into death of ivory trade detective

Ivory trade researcher Esmond Martin during a press conference on December 9, 2014. PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI | NMG
Ivory trade researcher Esmond Martin during a press conference on December 9, 2014. PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI | NMG 

Police in Nairobi have launched an investigation into the mysterious death of respected American international conservationist and ivory trade investigator Esmond Bradley Martin.

Karen OCPD Cunningham Suiyanka confirmed that Mr Esmond, 75, was found dead in his bedroom at his Karen home with stab wounds to his neck.

He said “there was no disturbance of the scene” to suggest human involvement in his death at his gated residence.

“He has stabs on his neck though I wish to call wound because we don’t know its origin. We visited the scene and our experts have pieced together evidences that would help us reveal the cause of his death,” added Mr Suiyanka.

The police chief said his body was found by his wife, with whom he resided in the same compound.

“He was living alone and his wife has a separate house within the same compound. This morning she reported that her husband is dead in his bedroom,” he said.

Mr Suiyanka said the deceased and his 70 year-old wife are the only people living within the compound.

“They have no children around,” he added.

He said the house help and other domestic workers were given off to visit their families on Sunday and the deceased remained alone in his house.


Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu mourned Esmond for his tireless efforts exposing the scale of ivory markets in USA, Congo, Nigeria, Angola, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and recently Myanmar.

“He always collaborated with Save the Elephants and worked with many of us generously sharing his findings and views,” she posted on her Twitter handle.

Conservation group Save the Elephants also paid tribute to Mr Martin today.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of wildlife-trade researcher Esmond Bradley Martin who died yesterday in Nairobi. A long term ally for STE, passionate champion of wildlife and meticulous researcher, his loss will be deeply felt by all who knew him,” the organisation said today.

According the BBC, the former UN special envoy for rhino conservation was in the process of writing up his findings from a recent research trip to Myanmar when he died.

Mr Martin was widely published on the subject of poaching and the wildlife ecosystem.