Sat photos reveal uncontacted tribe’s land being destroyed

October 10, 2008

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New satellite photos reveal that the territory of Paraguay's only remaining uncontacted Indians is rapidly being destroyed.

The photos show that, in the last six months alone, huge new areas of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode's land have been devastated. The Totobiegosode are the only uncontacted Indians in South America outside the Amazon.

The Totobiegosode's forest is being bulldozed by Brazilian companies who want it to graze cattle. This is despite a legal claim for the land made on behalf of the Indians in 1993, and legal injunctions banning any clearing of the forest until these land claims are resolved.

The activities of the companies have been met with outrage by local support organisation GAT. 'This is the uncontacted Totobiegosode's traditional land. The destruction of the forest is happening despite national laws and international agreements,' a GAT statement says.

The Totobiegosode live in semi-tropical forest known as 'the Chaco'. The number of uncontacted Indians, who are exceedingly vulnerable to any form of contact with outsiders, is not known.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, 'If these companies think they can get away with this because it's happening in one of the world's remotest places, they should think again. These satellite photos show in graphic detail how they are illegally destroying the Totobiegosode's forest, flagrantly violating national and international law. Paraguay's new government must get a grip on this before the forest is completely destroyed and the Indians are wiped out.'

View the latest satellite photos

View the satellite photos taken earlier this year

Survival researcher Jonathan Mazower, who has recently visited some of the contacted Totobiegosode, is available for interview.

For more information please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International (44) (0)20 7687 8734 or (44) (0)7504 543 367 or email [email protected]