'They exist' – uncontacted Indians spotted from the air 1 October 2007

"One of the photos of the uncontacted tribe spotted recently."
"One of the photos of the uncontacted tribe spotted recently."
© Heinz Plenge Pardo / Frankfurt Zoological Society

Twenty-one uncontacted Indians have been spotted from the air during a flight over one of the most remote parts of the Peruvian rainforest. Their territory is currently being targeted by illegal loggers.

The Indians were spotted on the shores of the Las Piedras river in Peru’s south-eastern Amazon. They left their shelters on the beach to watch the plane, chartered by Peru’s Environment Agency, fly overhead. During the plane’s second pass, one of the Indian women, carrying arrows and accompanied by a small boy, gestured aggressively, whilst the rest of the group sought refuge in the undergrowth.

‘This is the most recent recorded sighting of them,’ stated Peru’s national Indian organisation, AIDESEP. ‘The uncontacted tribes exist. If we don’t act now, tomorrow could be too late.’

In total, there are an estimated 15 uncontacted tribes in Peru and all of them are under severe threat, mainly from logging and oil exploration. Because of their isolation, they do not have immunity to outsiders’ diseases and any form of contact can be fatal for them.

The sighting comes after the chairman of Perupetro, Peru’s state oil company, stated that it was ‘absurd to say there are uncontacted peoples when no one has seen them’, while another Perupetro spokesperson compared the tribes to the Loch Ness monster.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘What further proof is needed of the uncontacted tribes’ existence? There they are for all the world to see – Peru’s most vulnerable citizens whose government now needs to do its duty by them. It is time for their rights to their land to be recognised and respected, for oil and gas exploration to be banned from their territories, and for all loggers and other outsiders to be removed.’

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org

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