He dedicated his life to saving elephants—and might have been killed as a result. Wayne Lotter, a director of anti-poaching NGO the PAMS Foundation, was shot and killed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Wednesday night during a taxi ride from the airport to his hotel, reports the Guardian. The vehicle was reportedly stopped by two men, who opened Lotter's car door and fatally shot the 51-year-old. His laptop was also stolen, reports Reuters. Who would want to kill a wildlife conservationist? Plenty of people, apparently. Lotter had received numerous death threats since co-founding the PAMS Foundation in 2009; it assisted African communities and governments with anti-poaching efforts and bankrolled Tanzania's elite anti-poaching investigation unit.
Since 2012, the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit has arrested more than 2,000 poachers and ivory traffickers. Police are investigating his death but so far no suspects have been arrested. In a statement, Jane Goodall describes Lotter as one of her heroes, who "worked tirelessly to fight both poachers and corruption" and "faced strong opposition from dealers and many high level government officials." The PAMS Foundation says "Wayne devoted his life to Africa's wildlife" and "died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about." His death could "deeply hit the fight against poaching in Africa," an ecologist tells ITV News. (Poachers have a new target: ancient trees.)