Satellite photos reveal destruction of tribe's heartland

July 24, 2007

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Satellite imagery has revealed that the last refuge of uncontacted South American Indians is being illegally destroyed.

The land of Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe is being bulldozed at break-neck speed, forcing the Indians to flee to the last remaining patches of forest. Many Ayoreo have been killed in previous encounters with outsiders.

Survival researcher Jonathan Mazower has recently returned from Paraguay where he met relatives of the uncontacted Indians. He interviewed Ayoreo who had made contact with the outside world in 2004 because their forest home was disappearing.

Ayoreo man Ojnai said, ‘All this land belonged to our ancestors, but the white men are going to take it all from us. I am very worried about the deforestation, because we don’t know where exactly the people still in the forest are living. I have a sister among them.’

Jonathan Mazower said today, ‘The Ayoreo’s land is almost entirely in the hands of powerful landowners, who are bulldozing the forest for cattle ranching. Those who now have contact with outsiders are trying to save the last of their forest to protect their uncontacted relatives. Unless the Paraguayan government acts very quickly, the isolated Indians will have nowhere left to hide.’

Survival has launched a campaign asking people to write to the president of Paraguay urging him to protect the Ayoreo’s land.

Jonathan Mazower is available for interview.
Photos and footage available.

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