A spokeswoman for Peru’s state oil company, Perupetro, has questioned the existence of uncontacted tribes in the Peruvian Amazon by comparing them to the Loch Ness monster. Tomorrow, Perupetro is due to announce the results of an auction of 19 oil exploration lots, a number of which are in areas inhabited by uncontacted tribes.
‘It is like the Loch Ness monster,’ spokeswoman Cecilia Quiroz said. ‘Everyone seems to have seen or heard about uncontacted peoples, but there is no evidence.’
In fact, a huge body of evidence has been collected over many years by indigenous organisations, Survival and others to establish the location of uncontacted Indian groups, including photos, eyewitness accounts, and testimonies from local people and other Indians.
Only last week a Brazilian government spokesman reported the appearance of uncontacted Indians near the Brazil-Peru frontier. It is thought the Indians are fleeing Peru due to illegal loggers invading their land to cut down some of the world’s last commercially-viable mahogany trees.
Survival International’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Perupetro appears to be unaware of the vast amount of evidence that proves beyond doubt the existence of the uncontacted tribes. Even its own government has acknowledged their existence. Of course, if Perupetro gets its way and allows oil exploration in these areas, this may well wipe the Indians out and then they really won’t exist.’
For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]