Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Aerial pictures capture world's last uncontacted tribe in Brazilian Amazon

Spears raised, skin painted bright red and fear written across their faces - these are members of the Earth's last "uncontacted" tribes, seen in more detail than ever before.

Cut off from the rest of the world and living in the heart of dense rainforest along the Brazilian-Peruvian border, they gaze up in suspicion at the aircraft above.

Clutching weapons and striking defiant poses, their body language appears to ward off intrusion from the outside world.

But the Brazilian authorities have been monitoring them for some time from the air, amid fears that an influx of illegal loggers from Peru could threaten their survival.

The aerial photographs have been taken by teams gathering evidence of invasions onto their land.

They reveal astonishing new detail about the Indian way of life, showing a thriving, healthy community with baskets full of papaya fresh from their gardens and containers of vegetables, fish or game covered with banana leaves.

Metal goods such as a knife and a pan can also be seen in the shots. These are believed to have been acquired through inter-tribal trading networks.

Meanwhile, some tribesmen are decorated in brightly coloured body paint and clutch spears or longbows.

Brazilian Indian leader Davi Kopenawa Yanomami said: "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."

Marcos Apurina, co-ordinator of Brazil's Amazon Indian organisation COIAB echoed his comments.

"It is necessary to reaffirm that these peoples exist, so we support the use of images that prove these facts," he said.

"These peoples have had their most fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, ignored. It is therefore crucial that we protect them."



The uncontacted Indians are believed to be descended from tribes which were torn apart during the region's 'rubber boom' a hundred years ago. During this period, many were killed or died from disease.

Those remaining have been observed from the air but various government officials in Peru and Brazil have denied their existence.

The new images, obtained by the charity Survival International, will be featured in the 'Jungles' episode of BBC1's 'Human Planet' on Thursday.

Survival is now launching an urgent campaign calling on the Peruvian government to expel all loggers working illegally on the land of uncontacted Indians.

For more information visit www.uncontactedtribes.org

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph