Colombia's ProAves Foundation Monday informed on the murder of forest guard and environmental leader Gonzalo Cardona in Valle del Cauca Department.
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Cardona, who was coordinator of ProAves's Andean Parrot Reserve, was missing since January 8. According to his Foundation, he was last seen in the village of La Union, in southwestern Colombia.
Local authorities have not made any statement about the activist's death, so the violent incident remains unclear. However, ProAves assured that its forest guard was murdered for his environmental work.
"Cardona is another victim of the increasing violence against human rights defenders and activists in Colombia," stated the NGO.
"His murder is a huge loss for Colombia, which is one of the Latin American countries with the largest variety of bird species," ProAves added.
Since 1998, the forest guard was a defender of the Yellow-eared Parrot, an endemic and threatened species that live in the Colombian Andean forests.
On Monday, the Development and Peace Institute (Indepaz) reported that Cardona is the first environmental leader to be assassinated in 2021.
Colombia was the deadliest country worldwide for environmentalists in 2019, according to Global Witness. Over 60 advocates were assassinated that year.