Wayne Lotter: Rights body calls for justice

21Aug 2017
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Wayne Lotter: Rights body calls for justice

THE coalition of human rights organisations in the country yesterday called for investigation and prosecution of criminals behind the murder of renowned conservationist and anti-poaching crusader Wayne Lotter who was gunned down in Dar es Salaam last week.

 

A statement released yesterday by National coordinator for Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Onesmo Olengurumwa called for urgent justice for Lotter given his immense contribution  to conservation and anti-poaching efforts in the country.

Also, the umbrella body of rights defenders want Tanzanian authorities to ensure safety and security of all private individuals who engage in risky undertakings such as anti-poaching.

“In the past ten years Tanzania has lost 66,000 elephants and Lotter was one of few individuals who fought against poachers; his murderers should not be allowed to get away with it,” he said.

The conservationist was shot dead on Wednesday  August 16, this year at the conjunction of Kaole and Haile Selassie Road by unknown criminals.

Renowned primatologist who has worked in Tanzania Jane Goodall has expressed “profound shock” at the murder of Lotter. Goodall said: “If this cowardly shooting was an attempt to bring the work of the PAMS (Protected Area Management Solutions) Foundation to an end, it will fail. Those who have been inspired by Wayne will fight on. But he will be sadly missed by so many.”

Meanwhile, the body of Lotter is set for public viewing and last respects tomorrow before it is flown to his home country, South Africa.   

A statement issued by the deceased’s family yesterday that the farewell will be held at Baobab village, Gate no 4, along Mwaya Street, Masaki area in Dar es Salaam from 4pm to 6pm.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Krissie Clark said “We want to express our gratitude for the cooperation we are receiving from his fellow conservationists, the police and particularly from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. 

Following Lotter’s death, the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Prof Jumanne Magembe expressed sorrow, saying the man has helped the country in the conservation and anti-poaching crusade.

Prof Maghembe said that the government had been shocked and saddened by the death of the conservationist who was a close partner in conservation and anti-poaching initiatives in the country, adding that the police had launched criminal investigation into his death.

“We are sending our condolences to his country, family and friends, as we don’t know the motive behind the killing. Let us all stay calm and wait for the police report to unveil it,” he noted. 

Lucas Mkondya, the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, said the police were hunting for the killers.

 “The killers made away with three laptops, a mobile phone and some documents from the deceased,” he told a news conference, adding that Lotter was killed at around 11pm along Haile Selassie Road in Masaki.

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 UK Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday that Lotter had received numerous death threats while battling international ivory-trafficking networks.

Lotter rarely took credit for PAMS’ success in helping reduce poaching rates in Tanzania, and was always quick to credit the work of the communities and agencies he worked with.

He was a big figure in the international conservation community, having served on the boards of several conservation groups and was the vice president of the International Ranger Federation. 

Lotter was born in Johannesburg on December 4, 1965. In 1990, he obtained a Master’s degree in conservation.In his 25-year career, he worked for wildlife conservation in government, the corporate and non-profit sectors. After obtaining his degree he worked mainly in South Africa and Tanzania.

In 2006, he started the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Protection Corridor Project in Namtumbo and Tunduru districts in Ruvuma Region, and in 2013 he was involved in anti-poaching activities implemented by the NTSCIU.

In 2006, he co-founded PAMS Protected Area Management System Foundation commonly known as PAMS Foundation, which is one of the supporters in the war against poaching in Tanzania.

He leaves behind his wife Inga, daughters Tamsine and Cara, and parents Vera and Carl Lotter.