Esmond Bradley Martin, one of the world’s lead investigators of the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn was recently killed at his home in Kenya. At only 75 years old, Bradley Martin was found with a stab wound to his neck. Known for his undercover work investigating the ivory black market, Bradley Martin had just returned from a trip to Myanmar and was in the process of writing up his findings when he was suddenly killed.

As one of the most well-respected figures in the fight to end the trade of ivory, Bradley Martin’s death marks a tragic loss for advocates and wildlife alike. He spent decades photographing and documenting illegal sales of ivory and rhino horn, by traveling to China, Vietnam, and Laos to pose as a buyer and find the black market prices, the BBC reports.

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At a time where an African elephant is killed for its tusks every fifteen minutes, we need figures like Bradley Martin more than ever. Sadly, if nothing is done to curb the ivory trade, it is estimated that African elephants could go extinct in the wild by the end of the next decade.

While the loss of Bradley Martin is undoubtedly a blow to the movement, the fight to end the illegal ivory trade won’t go unstopped. There has been promising progress to protect elephants worldwide recently.  Zimbabwe recently banned the live export of elephants and China, the world’s largest consumer of ivory, finally created an ivory ban this year. And, just recently, Hong Kong banned the sale of ivory. The UK is also working on a ban thanks to public demand.

How YOU Can Help 

We can make a real difference for wildlife by concentrating our efforts – and donation dollars – on anti-poaching groups. Over 1,000 wildlife rangers charged with protecting endangered species have been killed by poachers in the past 10 years. If we hope to protect precious species, we need to help protect the people putting their lives on the line. To learn more about groups working to end poaching, click here.

It’s also important to avoid zoos. The poaching industry and zoos go hand in hand as many animals are wild caught and placed in captivity at zoos internationally. By spreading awareness about the plight of elephants and all of world’s endangered wildlife, we can help people see the consequences of their actions. Let’s help ensure Bradley Martin’s death isn’t in vain!

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For more information on how you can play your part in the fight to save elephants, check out some of the resources below:

Image Source: Stop Poaching Now/Facebook

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