During the night of 29 July, 2020, Lorenzo Wampagkit Yamil was at home in the village of Chiriaco in Imaza, Bagua province.
At around 08.40pm gunmen took advantage of the Covid lockdown to break in through the back of the house and when confronted by Wampagkit Yamil they shot him dead.
Wampagkit Yamil was a ranger in the Reserva Comunal Chayu Nain which is managed by the Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado (National Service for Natural Areas Protected by the State), SERNANP.
According to SERNANP, the park ranger stood out for being a defender of nature who worked passionately on monitoring and surveillance issues in the “Nueva Esperanza” PVC sector for the conservation of this Communal Reserve.
Some people have tried to explain away the killing as being in some way connected to witchcraft in that it appears that Wampagkit Yamil had been recommending the use of medicinal eucalyptus as a way to prevent COVID.
According to this theory he was sentenced to death by members of the Awajún and Wampi who blamed him for the deaths of several people in the community who had followed his advice but then contracted COVID and died.
A more likely hypothesis however, is that the killing was the work of criminal groups involved in illegal mining and logging. The Reserve is an island of bio-diversity in a sea of illegal mining and park rangers have been the regular target of these criminal groups, who so far have been able to act with impunity.