Body of part-time tour guide Raúl Hernández found days after that of reserve manager Homero Gómez González in Michoacán
Officials in the state of Michoacán said they were unsure if the two deaths were linked – or related to the men’s work in the butterfly reserve. The state has seen a rising tide of violence in recent years, and the region around the monarch butterfly reserve has been rife with illegal logging, despite a ban imposed to protect the monarchs, which winter in the pine- and fir-covered hills.
Some illegal clearcutting is also carried out to allow for the planting of avocado orchards – one of Mexico’s most lucrative crops and an important part of Michoacán’s economy.
The deaths again called attention to the disturbing trend in Mexico of environmental defenders being killed as they come into conflict with developers or local crime groups, who often have political and police protection.