Peru takes action to protect uncontacted tribes

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Government authorities in Peru have responded to Survival’s call to protect uncontacted Indians who have recently appeared on riverbanks near a popular tourist destination.

The Indians, thought to be from the Mashco-Piro tribe, have been spotted on several occasions by tourists and park rangers in an Amazonian National Park in south-east Peru.

Survival wrote to Sernanp, the government ministry responsible for protected areas, following reports that tourists had left clothes on the riverbanks to entice the Indians out of the forest.

Uncontacted Indians lack immunity to common diseases, which can be spread by items of clothing and particularly by contact with outsiders.

Recently, a park ranger was hit by an arrow with the tip removed as a warning sign from the Indians to stay away.

This week Sernanp wrote to Survival to report on measures taken to protect the tribe, including vaccinating the local population against influenza and alerting local health posts of a possible epidemic.

The river area where the Indians have been appearing has also been declared a restricted zone.

Sernanp said it remains unclear as to why the Indians are appearing in the area.

Illegal logging, which is rife in much of the Peruvian Amazon, has not been ruled out.