Photos released to protect threatened Amazonians

The lost tribe staring extinction in the face: Extraordinary new pictures of life in the depths of the Amazon jungle

By Oliver Pickup

These incredibly detailed photographs offer a unique insight into the lives of one of the world's last uncontacted tribes.

Spears aloft, faces daubed with vivid red paint these bewildered villagers stare up at the helicopter high above them.

Lost Amazonian Tribe

Painted with annatto seed dye which provides the distinctive red dye, a man wanders though the community's garden, surrounded by banana plants while three others painted with red and black vegetable dye watch the Brazilian government plane

Lost Tribe painted with annatto seed dye

For them, as for those who saw them, it was a remarkable moment as the group live in total isolation in the dense Amazon rainforest along the Brazilian-Peruvian border. The aerial images were taken by Brazilian authorities, who have been monitoring the group for some time, and - concerned about their welfare - they have handed them to British charity Survival International, and other NGOs, in the hope that they can help protect their territory and preserve their isolated existence.

'I'm extremely angry and I don't understand why in our world today a lot of people don't think that these groups don't have as much rights as anyone else,' she told MailOnline. 'They are a fantastic example of how to live a sustainable life. They are very sophisticated and no one has a better understanding of their environment. We can learn a lot from them.'

'What we are seeing is people who are living differently but they are human beings like you or me. There is a moral and ethical issue. What right do we have to tell them how to live?'

'Despite all the pressure on the Peruvian government over three years ago, next to nothing has been done to help them. The information from the Brazil side is that the situation is getting much worse - the illegal loggers are working their way though the Amazon. This is pushing uncontacted Indians who live on the Peru side over the hillside, and the Brazilian authorities fear that this could create contact with the tribes on their side. There are several uncontacted groups in the area and if they are pushed back the fear is that this would put pressure on the tribes, and there will conflict and competition for resources. At the moment they look healthy, they have gardens brimming full of produce and they look fit. Clearly they are living quite well at the moment, but there are threats on the horizon.'

The tribes in the area - of which there are believed to be a handful - are thought to have been descendants from slaves caught up in the rubber boom a century ago. They were forced to work in terrible conditions and some fled into the Amazon to escape - and they have lived in these remote locations deep in the rainforest in isolation until now.

'Really very little is known about them,' said Mrs Watson, who has brought the issue to the attention of the United Nations. 'They are vulnerable and they have no voice. Often they are not aware of the threats on the horizon like a road or hydroelectric dam. It is a clear choice that they want to remain isolated, and I'm sure their historical memory, with what went on during the rubber boom, is very strong. They are very happy the way they are. We want to put pressure on the Peruvian government and force them into action. If they don't act now, then there will be serious repercussions for the uncontacted groups on the Brazil side. We have released these amazing pictures and set up a website, uncontactedtribes.org, so we can campaign and raise awareness. We want to publicising the issues and put pressure on the Peruvian government to uphold these Indians' rights. It is only a matter of time before the tribes are reached, thanks to the loggers - it's likely to be within this year. 'Our main weapon is public opinion - if the British public get involved in this campaign and contact their local MP, then that will help. We have an "Act Now" command on the website (which can be found here) which will allow you to send an e-mail directly to the president of Peru.'

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL

Survival International was established in 1969 after journalist Norman Lewis wrote a feature called 'Genocide' for the Sunday Times about the Amazonian tribes being obliterated. They were targeted, killed and their land was stolen, and the government would do nothing to stop it. The charity was formed as a reaction to the outrage the article caused. They mostly work in South America, but also have projects in Africa, and guard remote tribes in the Andaman Islands in India, and Asia.

For more information please visit www.uncontactedtribes.org.

Copyright MailOnline

Similar News Reports

Sky report news story:

Astonishing Photos of One of Earth's Last Uncontacted Tribes

Belfast Telegraph news report:

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

 

 

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