(CNN)An expert who worked to protect uncontacted Amazonian tribes has been shot and killed with an arrow in Brazil, according to the government's Indigenous affairs agency, Fundação Nacional do Índio (Funai).
Amazon expert killed with arrow while working to protect uncontacted tribes in Brazil
Rieli Franciscato was killed on Wednesday while responding to a report of a sighting of an isolated group in Seringueiras, in the northern Brazilian state of Rondônia.
The 56-year-old, coordinator of a team helping to protect uncontacted tribes' territories in Rondônia, was struck in the chest by the arrow at the border of the Uru Eu Wau Wau tribe's territory.
He had been called there after ranchers and loggers targeting the reserve stepped up their campaign in recent months, starting fires and destroying most of the surrounding forest, reported Survival, a global organization championing tribal peoples' rights.
Police officer Paulo Ricardo Bressa told Brazilian daily newspaper O Globo that he accompanied Franciscato to Line 6, a high conflict area in Seringueiras.
"We started following their footsteps and got to the edge of the river, near the area protected by Funai. When we got near the border (of the protected indigenous land) we could see the sign there, 'this is a Funai reserve, no trespassing.'"
Bressa said Franciscato started to climb a hill, with an indigenous escort and the police behind. "Then, we just heard the sound of the arrow, which hit him in the chest. He yelled and took the arrow out of his chest and ran back towards us. He managed to run some 50, 60 meters and he fell."
The group carried him to the police car and took him to hospital, "but he was no longer alive, and we lost our friend, unfortunately," said Bressa.