A Leading Elephant Conservationist Has Been Murdered in Tanzania

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Jumanne Maghembe, the east African nation's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said the pieces of ivory were seized in a special operation conducted in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

According to police, Lotter's taxi was stopped as it was heading back to his hotel.

But his high-profile role in protecting endangered wildlife in Tanzania led to numerous death threats against himself and his family. It remains unclear whether his death is related to his anti-poaching work. A man then shot him while he was still in the auto. Reuters reported that his laptop was stolen in the attack. Since 2012, the unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers and has a conviction rate of 80%.

Mr Lotter said in a recent documentary on the NTSCIU called The Ivory Game that he believed its work had helped to reduce poaching rates in Tanzania by 50 per cent.

One of the major achievements was the February 2016 arrest of Yang Feng Glan who had been christened "Queen of Ivory".

The sound that Wayne Lotter most dreaded was the shrill trumpet of an elephant sensing that a poacher was prowling.

Wayne was a director and co-founder of the Protected Area Management System (PAMS) Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments across Africa.

At a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species previous year, colleagues teased Mr. Lotter because it was the first time they had seen him wearing a tie. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.

'Wayne devoted his life to Africa's wildlife from working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania.

Lotter is remembered by his wife, Inge, and daughters, Tamsin Inge and Cara Jayne.

Azzedine Downes, the president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in a statement that Africa had lost one of its most committed conservationists. His death could "deeply hit the fight against poaching in Africa", an ecologist tells ITV News.

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