Uncontacted Indians flee logging onslaught

February 28, 2007

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The Brazilian government has discovered signs of some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes living near the border with Peru.

The Indians are believed to have fled illegal mahogany logging sweeping through Peru’s rainforests, destroying the Indians’ homelands and forcing them out of their traditional territory.

During an aerial inspection of the area, Brazilian government officials spotted a village and various hunting camps. They also found felled mahogany trees and drums of chainsaw oil floating down the Envira River.

The Brazilian government estimates that there are already three different uncontacted groups living in this region. Officials fear that as more uncontacted Indians seek refuge from Peru, fatal conflicts may break out between them.

José Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Júnior, head of a Brazilian government post on the Envira River, said ‘The most important thing is not to know who they are or to which group they belong, but to protect them, guarantee their territory and let them live how they wish.’

Stephen Corry, director of Survival, said today, ‘Unless the Peruvian government acts now to stop logging in the lands of these uncontacted Indians, they may well be consigned to history as the first peoples to disappear this century.’

For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]