By Katharine Houreld
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A prominent conservationist who worked on high profile ivory smuggling cases has been shot dead in Tanzania, colleagues said on Tuesday, although the motive for the killing was unclear.
"We are heartbroken to share the news that PAMS Foundation co-founder, Wayne Lotter was shot and killed last night," said a statement on the website of the conservation charity he founded.
"His ground-breaking work in developing an intelligence-based approach to anti-poaching helped successfully reverse the rampant rates of poaching facing Tanzania."
It was unclear if Lotter's death was related to his work, colleagues said. His assailant reportedly stole his laptop, said two colleagues who declined to be name.
Lotter, a South African, supported an elite Tanzanian anti-poaching unit that has had a number of successful arrests in recent years, colleagues said.
He also worked on the notorious Ivory Queen case, which saw Yang Feng Glan, a Chinese pensioner, charged with running a smuggling empire that stretched form East Africa to Asian markets. She denies the charges in the ongoing court case.
(Editing by Alison Williams)