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Marine conservation award to be named after murdered conservationist Jairo Mora

A new award will honor the memory of Costa Rican turtle conservationist Jairo Mora, who was just 26 years old when he was murdered by poachers on Playa Moín in 2013.

The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Marine Section announced Wednesday the creation of the Jairo Mora Sandoval Award, which will be given to marine conservationists who exemplify bravery in activism, public engagement or scientific education.

The annual award will include a cash donation to the organization associated with each year’s winner. Leaders of the SCB Marine Section said they hope this new honor can increase awareness about the persecution of conservationists.

According to Global Witness, almost 1,000 conservation biologists were murdered between 2002 and 2014.

“Dozens of conservationists are killed every year for working to protect the environment,” the SCB’s Mel Consentino said in a news release. “The Jairo Mora Sandoval Award is the first award that recognizes and honors the work that dedicated, but all-too-often anonymous people do for our planet, while potentially putting their lives at risk.”

The inaugural award announced at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in Canada this month was given to the Jairo Mora Sandoval Foundation in Costa Rica, which was started by Mora’s family.

“We had no idea that Jairo’s story had touched so many people’s hearts. We are incredibly honored that the award is named after him,” Jairo’s mother Fernanda Sandoval said in a news release. “The award will help us continue with Jairo’s work and raise awareness about the environmental issues in the area, and we are very grateful to SCB for that.”

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