The wildlife conservation community is mourning the death of two monarch butterfly activists, both were found dead in Mexico just days apart. It is suspected that they were both murdered after trying to save the Monarch Butterfly’s habitat from loggers.
Raúl Hernández Romero, who worked as a tour guide at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, was horrifically found beaten to death on Saturday. Homero Gomez Gonzalez, manager of the sanctuary, was discovered in a well on January 29th. Gonzalez’s death has not yet been determined but an autopsy shows that he also suffered a head wound before drowning.
Although an investigation is underway, conservationists already fear that there is a link between the two due to their important activism work trying to stop illegal logging in the area.
According to the BBC, Mexico’s murder rate has risen in recent years. Believed to be carried out by criminal gangs who kill anyone who interferes with their illegal activities, which range from drug and human trafficking to extortion, logging and mining.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which placed the El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary on its World Heritage List of unique and diverse places in 2008, expressed “deep sadness and profound concern” over the slayings and called for a thorough investigation.
“UNESCO is calling for light to be shed on the extremely disturbing circumstances that marked Hernandez Romero’s death, a few days after the unsolved death of Mr. Homero Gomez Gonzalez, also an activist and manager in the same biosphere reserve,” UNESCO said in a statement released on Tuesday morning.
The butterflies that both men had a great passion to protect, migrate south every year where they return to the same sites in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Sadly, their annual migration has come under threat recently by logging, pesticide use and climate change, pushing the monarch butterfly closer to extinction.
Along with the rest of the world, WAN mourns the death of these two brave activists and their incredible work protecting Monarch Butterflies in Mexico. We must keep fighting to save them.
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