Rainforest defender murdered

The price of protection

An ardent rainforest defender who predicted he would be killed for his efforts has been murdered in the Brazilian Amazon, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

Reports that José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Maria do Espírito Santo, had been murdered hit the media in late May after the couple were killed in an ambush near their home in Nova Ipixuna in the state of Pará.

Silva predicted his death about six months ago, when he started receiving an increasing number of death threats from loggers and ranchers. He and his wife were known for blocking roads, stopping logging trucks and denouncing loggers to authorities.

More than 1,150 activists, small farmers and other individuals have been killed in Brazil over land-preservation disputes since 1988, when Chico Mendes, the country’s renowned rainforest protector, was murdered, according to the Catholic Land Pastoral, a watchdog group.