Prince William condemns ‘violent’ murder of top animal conservationist
The Duke of Cambridge warned about the escalating dangers of fighting wildlife gangsters today as he condemned the senseless murder of a top conservationist.
Prince William is urging governments and nature campaigners to win the battle against the “murderous criminals” in the wake of last week’s assassination of a leading anti-poaching champion.
Wayne Lotter was gunned down in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam after a high-profile career of combating the gangsters and corrupt officials pushing elephants towards extinction.
His efforts in setting up the PAMS Foundation in Tanzania is hailed for the arrests of large numbers of poachers and traffickers – but it also earned him dangerous enemies.
Prince William today paid tribute to 51 year old Lotter as he warned how “big money” is making the challenge to save wildlife increasingly dangerous.
In a statement, he said: “Wayne Lotter’s violent and apparently targeted murder shows just how dangerous the situation has become in relation to the big money that is associated with the illegal ivory and rhino horn trades.
“Rangers and conservationists put themselves in harm’s way every day to stop organised criminals destroying Africa’s natural resources.
“Governments and NGOs must win this fight for the sake of all of us, especially those in communities whose livelihoods are being plundered by murderous criminals.
“My deepest condolences to Wayne’s family and all those at PAMS Foundation for this senseless loss.”
Prince William has become an outspoken champion of Africa’s vanishing wildlife, organising global conservation summits in the UK and visiting the frontline areas where elephants and rhinos are being slaughtered daily.
Last year he famously warned: “When I was born, there were one million elephants roaming Africa, but by the time my daughter Charlotte was born, the numbers of savannah elephants had crashed to just 350,000.
“At the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25 the African elephant will be gone from the wild.”
Tanzanian police are investigating Lotter’s murder but few details have been made public.
Colleagues say his laptop was stolen by his killer when he struck as the conservationist was travelling from Dar es Salaam airport to a hotel in the city.
Lotter had three decades’ experience in conservation and wildlife management and had helped train hundreds of game scouts as well as using an “intelligence-based approach” to tackle poaching.
His efforts had also made him enemies.
In a tribute to Lotter, Dame Jane Goodall, one of the world’s greatest conservationists, explained how she had played a part in helping to support Lotter three years ago when “powerful vested interests” were trying to blacken his name and close down the PAMS Foundation with its vital conservation initiatives.
Lotter’s good name and that of PAMS were salvaged, she says, and now his legacy will be to see the fight to save wildlife continue.
The 83-year old conservationist, who was made a dame in 2004, said: “Wayne was a hero of mine, a hero to many, someone who devoted his life to protecting Africa’s wildlife.
“As a young man, he served as a ranger in his native South Africa before moving to East Africa to fight poaching, especially elephant poaching in Tanzania.
“Wayne passionately believed in the importance of involving local communities in the protection of wildlife, and through his work with PAMS he helped train hundreds of village game scouts in many parts of the country.”
Lotter is survived by his widow and two daughters.
A memorial service is to be held in his home town of Nelspruit, (Mbombela) South Africa on August 26.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK
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