Lost Tribe Discovered Deep in Amazon

Lost Tribe Discovered Deep in Amazon


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May 30 2008 22:29:08 Beijing Time

Source: AFP

SAO PAULO - Dramatic images of an isolated Brazilian
tribe believed never to have had contact with the outside world were
published by officials Friday to draw attention to threats posed to
their way of life.

Picture released by
the Brazilian Indian Protection Foundation shows members of a recently
discovered indigenous tribe, with their bodies painted in bright red
staring at the aircraft from which the pictures were taken, in the
Amazon region in the Brazilian-Peruvian border. (AFP/FUNAI/Geison

The pictures, released by the Brazilian
government's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), showed alarmed natives
pointing bows and arrows at the aircraft carrying photographers.

head of FUNAI's environmental protection unit responsible for the
images, Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles, told AFP the foundation had
known of the existence of the tribe for years -- located in thick
rainforest near the Peruvian border -- and many photos had been taken.

have been watching this isolated indigenous community for at least 20
years. The idea in revealing the photos was to raise the alarm over the
risk threatening them," he said in a telephone interview from western
Acre state, where the indigenous group is located.

explained the tribe had been pushed slowly out of Peruvian territory
into Brazil by loggers cutting down their Amazon basin habitat, and
that the pace of the illegal deforestation was now accelerating.

authorities recently said this indigenous community doesn't exist.
Well, they do exist and they are facing an enormous risk," Meirelles

"But they weren't just discovered today. All this region
is a cultural mosaic and there are four different identified groups
living close to one another," he said.

He said he did not know -- "and didn't care to know" -- what ethnic group the isolated tribe came from.

"All I care about is protecting them, keeping them in their isolation."

The pictures show the tribe's members, their skin painted red and black, in a village of huts with thatched roofs.

head of FUNAI's Isolated Indians Department, Elias Biggio, told
reporters that Meirelles's team had not had any physical contact with
the tribe.

Survival International, a British group lobbying on
behalf of indigenous people around the world, said on its website there
were fears illegal logging in Peru could also endanger the Brazilian
tribe by forcing displaced Peruvian tribes into contact with it.

It said there were an estimated 500 isolated indigenous people living on the Brazilian side of the border.

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," Survival International director Stephen Corry

His group said there were more than 100 uncontacted indigenous tribes worldwide.

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