CANBERRA, Australia - Feminist and environmental activist Val Plumwood, who survived a horrific crocodile attack more than 20 years ago, has died from an apparent snake bite, a friend said Monday. She was 68.
Ms. Plumwood's body was found Saturday in the octagonal stone house where she lived alone near Braidwood in New South Wales, said friend Jane Salmon.
Salmon said it appeared that a snake bite had killed her. State Police Detective Sergeant David Kay declined to comment on the cause of death, other than to say there were no suspicious circumstances. A coroner had yet to make an official finding.
Ms. Plumwood wrote "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature" in 1993 and "Environmental Culture: the Ecological Crisis of Reason" in 2002, and had been a leading campaigner against the logging of Australia's native forests and for the preservation of biodiversity since the 1960s.
Ms. Plumwood, originally known as Val Routley, took her adopted surname from a variety of tree near her wilderness home.
"She was considered by a lot of people a pioneer of the environmental movement," Salmon said.
Ms. Plumwood was attacked by a crocodile in a river in Australia's northern Outback in 1985 and escaped with terrible wounds to her legs and groin after the animal dragged her underwater three times in a death roll, the maneuver crocodiles use to drown their prey. She said the near-death experience constantly reminded her of the wonder of being alive and gave her a better understanding of our place in nature.
"It was a shocking reduction, from a complex human being to a mere piece of meat," Ms. Plumwood, a vegetarian, wrote in the Aisling Magazine.
She vehemently opposed a plan to hunt the crocodile that nearly killed her, arguing that she had been the intruder in its habitat.
"She was probably the leading ecofeminist in the world," said Bob Goodin, an Australian National University philosopher. "She was fierce," Goodin said. "I pity the poor snake that bit her."
Her second husband, philosopher Richard Sylvan, died in 1996. Her two children from her first marriage, John and Caitlin McCrae, are also dead.