Some of the most detailed pictures ever taken of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe have been released by the Brazilian government. They show a thriving, healthy community with machetes, baskets full of manioc and papaya from their gardens.
The tribe, which lives near the Peruvian border, is said to be in grave danger from illegal loggers known to be close to its territory. If contact is made, it is likely to result in deaths and the possible extinction of the group.
Indian leaders and forest protection groups today appealed to the Peruvian government which has been reluctant to stop the loggers’ invasion of their territory. “We are deeply troubled by the authorities’ lack of action. Despite complaints from Peru and abroad against illegal logging, nothing has been done,” said a spokesman for Peru’s Amazon Indian organization Aidesep.
“The place where the Indians live, fish, hunt and plant must be protected. That is why it is useful to show pictures of the uncontacted Indians for the whole world to know that they are there in their forest and that the authorities must respect their right to live there,” said Brazilian Indian leader Davi Kopenawa Yanomami.
Marcos Apurinã, the coordinator of Brazil‘s Amazon Indian organization, Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira, said: “These peoples have had their most fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, ignored. It is therefore crucial that we protect them.”
The pictures, obtained by the campaigning group Survival international, will be included in the jungles episode of BBC1’s Human Planet series on Thursday.
“This area is now at real risk and, if the wave of illegal logging isn’t stopped fast, their future will be taken out of their hands. This isn’t just a possibility: it’s irrefutable history, rewritten on the graves of countless tribes for the last five centuries,” said the Survival International director, Stephen Corry.
“The illegal loggers will destroy this tribe. It’s vital that the Peruvian government stop them before time runs out. The people in these photos are self-evidently healthy and thriving. What they need from us is their territory protected, so that they can make their own choices about their future
Related: Uncontacted Tribes (Photos/ Website)