January 22, 1989 |
Francisco Mendes, 44, grew up in the forest and spent most of his life plying its shaded paths, gathering natural latex and Brazil nuts to earn a meager living. Like thousands of other rubber tappers in the Amazon basin, Mendes loved the peace and tranquillity of forest life. His conservation efforts earned him an international reputation--and perhaps caused his death. When a 20-gauge shotgun blast killed Mendes last Dec.