Illegal loggers seized days after photos of uncontacted Indians released

February 8, 2012

Illegal logging threatens Peru’s uncontacted Mashco-Piro. © Jean-Paul Van Belle

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Peru has raided an illegal logging site in the Manú National Park, just days after the world caught its first detailed glimpse of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro tribe.

The discovery followed Survival’s release of close-up pictures of the tribe to raise awareness of the threats illegal logging poses to their survival.

In an operation led by SERNANP, Peru’s Department for Protected Areas, park guards and police uncovered more than 3,000 feet of illegally harvested timber.

SERNANP’s two-day operation led to the arrest of a group of men and confiscation of their tools. The men face prison terms of three to six years.

Sightings of the Mashco-Piro have risen in recent months, with many blaming illegal loggers for pushing the tribe out of their forest homes.

Illegally harvested wood seized during SERNANP raid in Manú National Park. © SERNANP/Survival

FENAMAD, the regional Indigenous organization, is now working with local communities to set up a guard post close by, to help protect the Mashco-Piro from intruders, and has criticized tour operators for taking tourists close to where the sightings have been reported.

FENAMAD also welcomed the results of the raid, saying it was, ‘working with national and local authorities, including SERNANP, to ensure security for uncontacted tribes.’

More than 100,000 people have already signed a Survival petition calling on Peru’s government to do more to protect uncontacted tribes from illegal logging on their land.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘A week ago very few people had heard of the uncontacted Mashco-Piro. Now their faces are recognised worldwide, and the dangers facing them are known. Catching illegal loggers red handed clearly shows the very real threats facing uncontacted tribes in Peru.’

Uncontacted Tribes of Peru