Isolated tribe spotted in Brazil
The photos are being used to prove the tribe’s existence
Image: Gleison Miranda, Funai
One of South America’s few remaining uncontacted indigenous tribes has been spotted and photographed on the border between Brazil and Peru.
The Brazilian government says it took the images to prove the tribe exists and help protect its land.
The pictures, taken from an aeroplane, show red-painted tribe members brandishing bows and arrows.
More than half the world’s 100 uncontacted tribes live in Brazil or Peru, Survival International says.
Stephen Corry, the director of the group – which supports tribal people around the world – said such tribes would “soon be made extinct” if their land was not protected.
Survival International says that although this particular group is increasing in number, others in the area are at risk from illegal logging.
The photos were taken during several flights over one of the most remote parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Acre region.
They show tribe members outside thatched huts, surrounded by the dense jungle, pointing bows and arrows up at the camera.
“We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,” the group quoted Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior, an official in the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department, as saying.
“This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.”
He described the threats to such tribes and their land as “a monumental crime against the natural world” and “further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the ‘civilised’ ones, treat the world”.
Disease is also a risk, as members of tribal groups that have been contacted in the past have died of illnesses that they have no defence against, ranging from chicken pox to the common cold.
Rare uncontacted tribe photographed in Amazon
Fri May 30, 2008 9:21am EDT
Brazil: Isolated tribe photographed
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Amazon Indians from one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes have been photographed from the air, with striking images released on Thursday showing them painted bright red and brandishing bows and arrows.
The photographs of the tribe near the border between Brazil and Peru are rare evidence that such groups exist. A Brazilian official involved in the expedition said many of them are in increasing danger from illegal logging.
“What is happening in this region is a monumental crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the ‘civilized’ ones, treat the world,” Jose Carlos Meirelles was quoted as saying in a statement by the Survival International group.
One of the pictures, which can be seen on Survival International’s Web site (http://www.survival-international.org), shows two Indian men covered in bright red pigment poised to fire arrows at the aircraft while another Indian looks on.
Another photo shows about 15 Indians near thatched huts, some of them also preparing to fire arrows at the aircraft.
“The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct,” said Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International, which supports tribal people around the world.
Of more than 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, more than half live in either Brazil or Peru, Survival International says. It says all are in grave danger of being forced off their land, killed and ravaged by new diseases.
(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; editing by Sandra Maler)