Uncontacted tribe photos spur government into action

"One of the photos of uncontacted Indians, in Brazil, that forced the Peruvian government into action."
"One of the photos of uncontacted Indians, in Brazil, that forced the Peruvian government into action."
© G. Miranda/FUNAI/Survival, 2008

Peru’s government has announced plans to investigate the plight of uncontacted Indians living in the remote Peruvian Amazon.

The announcement comes after unique photos of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil, near the Peruvian border, made world headlines.

They are among an estimated 500 uncontacted Indians in the region, some of whom are believed to be at risk from conflict with other uncontacted tribes from Peru fleeing into Brazil.

‘The idea is to protect them, not contact them,’ the director of the Peruvian government’s indigenous affairs department, Ronald Ibarra, is reported as saying. ‘A team of professionals will travel to the region to gather information and see if illegal logging really is displacing the tribes.’

Photos were also taken of the houses of one of these refugee tribes, now living five kilometres across the border in Brazil.

In total, there are an estimated fifteen uncontacted tribes in Peru and all of them are threatened with extinction, mainly from illegal logging and oil exploration. They are exceedingly vulnerable to any form of contact because they have no immunity to outsiders’ diseases.

Survival International’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘This is a positive first step from the Peruvian government, but it must act fast. It must stop the logging, remove the loggers and any other invaders from the uncontacted Indians’ land, and ensure that no one else enters in the future.’

For further information please contact Miriam Ross on (44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (44) (0)7504 543 367 or email mr@survival-international.org

Watch Survival's short film 'Uncontacted Tribes', narrated by Julie Christie