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10 Environmental and Animal Activists Who Were Killed for Taking a Stand

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6. Dian Fossey – 1985

Mountain gorilla

A champion of mountain gorilla conservation in Rwanda, American zoologist Dian Fossey was found murdered in her cabin in late December 1985. She’d been cut down with a machete she’d once seized from a poacher. Fossey was a one-woman army against gorilla poachers, earning her many enemies. Her death remains officially unsolved. She was buried beside her beloved gorillas in Rwanda’s Ruhengeri Province. Her story became a book and a major motion picture called “Gorillas in the Mist.”

7. Prajob Nao-opas – 2013

toxic dumping

Thai environmentalist Projob Nao-opas spent months in 2013 investigating the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Chacheongsao province, near Bangkok, Thailand. His well-publicized efforts caused police to warn Prajob that he was in danger in December 2012. He was gunned down in February 2013 while waiting at a garage for repairs to his pickup truck.

8. George Adamson – 1989


If you watched the movie or read the book “Born Free” about Elsa the lioness, you know who George Adamson is. Adamson spent many years rehabilitating captive and orphaned big cats so they could be reintroduced to their natural habitat. He was killed in Kenya in 1989 trying to save his assistant and a tourist from attacking poachers. Sadly, his wife, Joy Adamson, was also murdered. It happened 9 years earlier, apparently by an employee she had fired.

9. Jill Phipps – 1995

cows in transport truck

British animal rights activist Jill Phipps, 31, attended a protest against exporting live calves to Amsterdam at Coventry Airport in February 1995. She and 10 others tried to stop a truckload of calves by chaining themselves together and sitting in front of it. The driver, who some say was apparently distracted by the tumult, drove right over her, breaking her spine and killing her.

10. Joan Root – 2006

kenya at dawn

Conservationist and activist Joan Root actively battled poaching and illegal fishing in Kenya for many years. Despite mounting threats against her, she refused to leave Kenya. She was shot and killed by four gunmen in her home in January 2006. Who hired those killers remains a mystery.

Take a moment to think about and remember these and so many other activists who’ve lost their lives standing up for the causes they believed in.

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Photo credit (all images): Thinkstock

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4:59AM PDT on Aug 11, 2015

thanks for the article.

6:14AM PDT on Apr 19, 2015

thanks for sharing

7:56PM PDT on Aug 18, 2014

This is extremely scary for me because I'm currently going to college to become an ethologist/zoologist (ethology is a field of zoology). If I can't get something in that specific field, I at least want something that puts me on the front lines of (preferably African) wildlife conservation. Definitely not going to back down though- these poor animals need me. They need all the help they can get.

9:55PM PDT on May 16, 2014

It is hard to see all those good people being killed for what they believed -- saving wildlife. I did notice the murders were all unsolved/unknown/covered up. That sure seems convenient to me. They will be remembered.

5:15AM PDT on May 14, 2014

True heroes

8:17AM PDT on May 5, 2014

How many must die for mankind's greed?

2:30PM PDT on May 1, 2014

These were courageous, unselfish people who were murdered for wrongs committed against all living creatures, including us humans and the planet. We honour them by continuing to recognize evil and wrongs when we see them and by speaking up against these wrongs! Bless them all for their bravery!

9:13AM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

thanks for sharing

8:30AM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

Thanks for sharing their story. These are truly compassionate and caring people.

7:19AM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

"We should stand up and applaud everyone of them." - I agree Kim J

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