The head of Brazil's environmental protection agency has resigned following criticism from the country's newly inaugurated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
A spokesperson for the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) confirmed on Monday that Suely de Araujo stepped down after Bolsonaro suggested there were irregularities in Ibama's budget. Araujo had led the agency since 2016.
The Environment Ministry, which oversees Ibama, admitted it that it had been planning to replace Araujo and that a new head of the agency would be named within days.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who swept to power in a tumultuous October election, has routinely attacked Ibama, which is tasked with policing the Amazon rainforest to stop deforestation and illegal mining.
On Sunday, Bolsonaro re-tweeted a Tweet published by Brazil's environment minister, Ricardo Salles, highlighting an alleged 28.7 million reais (US$ 7.73m) budget allocation by the agency for rental vehicles.
We've had a system created mainly to financially violate Brazilians without the slightest care, Bolsonaro said.
Araujo released a written statement on Sunday saying Bolsonaro and Salles, who has previously called climate change a secondary issue and alleged many environmental fines are ideological, had made baseless accusations.
She said the cost was for the rental of 393 four-wheel drive trucks used by Ibama's armed agents across Brazil, and that the contract's amount also included all fuel costs and maintenance.
Analysts, meanwhile, said Bolsonaro's actions demonstrated his presidency could pose a genuine threat to the Amazon.
The protection of the Amazon always relies on strong laws and rules, Thiago de Aragao, a director at the Brasilia-based political consultancy Arko Advice underlined.
So definitely he [Bolsonaro] could be a threat in the sense that he could create a trend that the mindset of protecting the Amazon might not be the number one priority among certain individuals within the government, de Aragao added.
About 13% of Brazil's national territory is demarcated as indigenous land - defined as an area inhabited and exclusively possessed by indigenous people. Approximately 98% of such areas are located in the Amazon, an ecosystem considered by environmental scientists as a crucial buffer against the impacts of climate change.