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World

Illegal Loggers Kill Indigenous Forest Guard Member In Brazil

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Paulo Paulino Guajajara was killed protecting the rainforest he loved and called home. He was the leader of a group of Indigenous land defenders in the Brazilian Amazon. The group regularly patrols their forest reserves, breaking up encampments of the logging gangs who illegally cut down trees.

Guajajara was shot in the face Friday after loggers ambushed his group. Another tribesman was also killed. Indigenous groups in Brazil say they've become more vulnerable to logging gangs. While their reserves are federally protected, funding has been cut since President Jair Bolsonaro took office.

Brazil is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmental activist. Guajajara had been threatened by illegal loggers many times. He told Survival International earlier this year, these people think they can come here into our home and help themselves to our forest. No, we won't allow it. We don't break into their houses and rob them, do we? Officials say federal police will investigate Guajajara's death.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.