One of the world’s leading researchers and investigators of the illegal ivory trade was found dead in his Nairobi home. Originally believed to be a failed burglary, Esmond Bradley Martin’s involvement with the ban of ivory trades has raised questions of murder. According to The Art Newspaper, Martin was stabbed in the neck after returning home from a trip to Myanmar. He was due to publish a report documenting how the ivory trade has migrated from China to neighboring countries like Laos.
The article goes on to state that: In an interview with Nomad magazine in October, Bradley Martin described how, when he first got involved in conservation in the 1970s, there were 20,000 rhinos in Kenya, but by the 1990s most had been eliminated.
Contrary to popular belief, he said, rhino horn was not being shipped to China to be used as an aphrodisiac, but was going to North Yemen, where it was being used to make handles for jambiyas (Yemeni daggers). As for elephant ivory, Bradley Martin found that 40% ended up in Japan, where it was used for making name seals, called hankos, around 20% went to Europe and 10-15% to the US.