Another “guardian” of the Amazon rainforest has been killed in a battle for illegally harvested timber in Brazil that many fear is ramping up, the Washington Post reports.
Paulo Paulino Guajajara, 26, belonged to a group of armed indigenous “guardians of the forest” who patrol the forest to stop illegal logging. He was shot in the neck Nov. 1 by a group of illegal loggers while he was collecting water.
More than 300 deaths have been linked to illegal logging in the last decade, according to the nongovernmental Pastoral Land Commission, though analysts say that number is likely an undercount, according to the Post. At least three other “guardians” have been murdered by loggers in the past.
Meanwhile, deforestation in Brazil under President Jair Bolsonaro has soared this year, rising 96% year-over-year in September. The first eight months of Bolsonaro’s term have also seen the fewest fines for deforestation infractions in the past two decades, according to the report. A recent report also detailed the influence of a growing number of criminal networks that use violence and intimidation to harvest protected timber in the region.
Guajajara’s death last week attracted national media attention, and the governor of the northeastern state of Maranhão announced the creation of a task force to protect indigenous life.