One of the most celebrated defenders of the threatened African Elephant Wayne Lotter has been murdered in Tanzania.
What can be done to save the elephant and other endangered species? Should we treat this very coordinated threat as international terrorism? I think we need to. Not only with it be an incalculable loss to biodiversity science and the richness of the Earth and natural history if these animals are lost but it will be a crying shame in it's own right. These are intelligent, sensitive and beautiful creatures with a rich social life and strong family bonds. When we look at elephants we can see human communities - the similarities between humans and other animals are striking but with the elephant are illuminating. The explosion in farming practices linked to Western aid is also devastating natural habitats in Africa. So many powerful and vested interests coming together to ensure the sterilisation of the continent.Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.
Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa.
The PAMS Foundation funded and supported Tanzania’s elite anti-poaching National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) which was responsible for arrests of major ivory traffickers including Yang Feng Glan, the so-called “Queen of Ivory” and several other notorious elephant poachers. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%.