A Spanish biologist and environmental activist was murdered in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, officials said Wednesday.
Gonzalo Alonso Hernandez, who lived in Rio de Janeiro state, may have been killed because he reported poaching and illegal logging.
The 49-year-old Alonso Hernandez’s body was found in a waterfall at Cunhambebe Park in the Lidice district, located 170 kilometers (105 miles) from the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he lived with his wife, Maria de Lurdes Pena Campos.
The body was discovered by a resident on Monday and it had gunshot wounds in the head, police said.
Alonso Hernandez worked at the Instituto Terra and served as an environmental consultant to the Lidice municipal environmental council.
The biologist had discussions with poachers, illegal loggers and ranchers operating illegally inside Cunhambebe Park, police said, citing information provided by the victim’s wife.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that Alonso Hernandez was killed because of his environmental work in the area, police precinct chief Marco Antonio Alves said.
“Alonso Hernandez was a defender of endangered species, fought poaching in the park, and there are witnesses who say that was bothering many people,” Alves said.
The biologist had not been in touch with his wife since Sunday, when he drove her to the bus station in Lidice so she could take a trip to Rio de Janeiro, police said.