At the end of May, José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife, Mario do Espírito Santo, were killed. Both lived in Brazil's Amazon rainforest and had fought back against loggers illegally harvesting wood. Da Silva had expected death for a long time, but said he wouldn’t let that stop him: “[M]y fear does not silence me. As long as I have the strength to walk I will denounce all of those who damage the forest."
That same week, another activist, Adelino Ramos, was shot and killed. The week after that, an activist identified only as Marcos was shot. When witnesses tried to take him to the hospital, gunmen stopped them on the way and killed the wounded man.
This week, a fifth anti-logging activist, Obede Loyla Souza, was found dead. He had been shot in the head.
The Brazilian government has formed a task force to act on violence in the Amazon, but its human rights minister has said the government doesn't have the resources to protect every rainforest activist who has received death threats. There are too many of them.
Get Grist in your inbox