Indians denounce illegal logging

July 27, 2006

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A group of Ayoreo Indians has angrily condemned the landowners who are logging their territory illegally. Senior government officials have travelled to the Ayoreo's villages to investigate.

The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode's territory was recently included in the Chaco Biosphere Reserve in an attempt to protect it from the private landowners who are determined to log the area of all its valuable hardwoods.

The forest is protected by injunctions which make any activity on it illegal, but these injunctions have been repeatedly flouted.

The area is home to an unknown number of uncontacted Ayoreo families, whose forest home is being encroached upon from all sides. Amongst the worst offenders is the firm of Carlos Casado S.A., who have refused government attempts to buy the land from them to transfer to the Indians.

The Ayoreo have denounced 'the theft of our forest and resources, especially the cutting of palo santo [a valuable hardwood] for fence posts… Marcelo Peyrat [the representative of Carlos Casado S.A.] is making himself rich through the theft of our timber.'