Wildlife Heroes: Wayne Lotter

A headshot of Wayne Lotter



On 16th August 2017, conservationist Wayne Lotter was shot dead in the Masaki district of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

As a founding member of PAMS (Practical Area Management System) Foundation – one of Africa’s leading NGOs that fights poaching and wildlife crime – his murder in the line of duty was a devastating blow for the world of conservation. But for the many inspired by Wayne’s tireless work, it also strengthened their collective determination to protect the world’s wild animals from those who seek to harm them.

“Wayne was a rebel with a cause, unafraid to speak out, shake things up a bit and push against the boundaries of ineptitude, inertia and corruption,” said Will Travers, Born Free’s Co-Founder and Executive President. “I had the honour to meet Wayne on several occasions and when he spoke, he lit up the room. His audience – whether it be one or many – could not help but be moved by his calm determination. He provided Born Free with the benefit of his great experience and his strategic thinking, his compassion, and his utter determination to bring to book those who sought to abuse, exploit, and criminally profit from Tanzania’s wildlife was without compare.”

Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife. He started out as a ranger in his native South Africa and went on to work for Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife as Invasive Alien Species Programme Co-ordinator, and as International Team Leader for the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Protection Corridor Project in southern Tanzania.

At PAMS, his crucial work made a real impact in safeguarding Tanzania’s precious elephants. For example, when PAMS started the Ruvuma Elephant Project in southern Tanzania in 2011, poaching was at crisis levels. In 2012, hundreds of carcasses were recorded, but by 2016 just two were found.

Wayne died fighting for a cause he was passionate about, and he has left a legacy that will hopefully continue to protect Tanzania’s elephants for generations to come. His assassination is recorded on the Thin Green Line Foundation’s Roll of Honour, along with a further 108 rangers who lost their lives in the line of duty the year of his death.

Born Free is proud to recognise Wayne posthumously as a Wildlife Hero. And his nomination is dedicated to all the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to preserve and protect wild animals in their natural habitat. We thank and salute them all.

A headshot of Wayne Lotter A headshot of Wayne Lotter