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Another Monarch Butterfly Activist Has Been Found Dead in Mexico

Human rights, environmental organizations are calling for 'justice'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2020 5:45 PM CST
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Monarch butterflies cling to branches in their winter nesting grounds in El Rosario Sanctuary, near Ocampo, Michoacan state, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(Newser) – The day after the funeral of a renowned monarch butterfly activist who was found dead in Mexico last week, the body of a second activist was found. Raúl Hernández Romero, who worked as a tour guide at a Michoacán butterfly sanctuary, left work as usual on Jan. 27 and disappeared. His battered body was found Saturday at the top of a hill in the sanctuary where he worked. In addition to bruises, he had a deep head wound; his cause of death is being determined, the BBC reports. Activists fear his death may be linked to that of Homero Gómez González, the activist who went missing in the same area Jan. 13 and was found dead in a water tank Jan. 29. He was found to have been beaten and suffered a head injury before drowning.

Gómez advocated against illegal logging, which is decimating the Mexican pine and fir forests to which monarchs migrate thousands of miles to hibernate each winter, and his family says he had received threats prior to his death warning him to put an end to the campaign. He managed a protected sanctuary for the butterflies that had just opened in November in an effort to thwart illegal logging, and the Hill reports Hernández worked at the same sanctuary. Criminal gangs in Mexico are suspected of murdering victims who attempt to interfere with illegal activities such as logging. But officials have not yet officially linked the two deaths to each other or to illegal loggers. Amnesty International Mexico is calling for a full investigation, Common Dreams reports, and Remezcla reports Greenpeace is also demanding "justice and peace." (Read more monarch butterflies stories.)

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