Uncontacted tribes at risk of extinction ten years on

March 27, 2007

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Some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes are at risk of extinction despite the creation of two reserves for them ten years ago on April 1 1997.

The tribes are known as the Murunahua and Mashco-Piro, and together they number around 600 people.

Their territories are being invaded by hundreds of illegal loggers exploiting some of the world’s last commercially-viable mahogany reserves. 90% of the timber is exported to the USA. The loggers regularly encounter uncontacted Indians.

The Indians are particularly vulnerable to any form of contact because of their lack of immunity to outsiders’ diseases. After some Murunahua were first contacted by loggers in 1996, more than 50% of them died.

'They are there, living deeper in the jungle,' said Juan, one of the Muruanahua survivors, speaking about the uncontacted Murunahua. 'They're not members of our family, but separate. They live in the forest.'

Survival’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘These are Peru’s most vulnerable citizens and at the moment these reserves aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Unless the government actually removes the loggers and stops others from entering, the uncontacted Indians are likely to be wiped out.’

For more information call Miriam Ross on + 44 207 687 8734 or email [email protected]


Uncontacted Tribes of Peru