Illegal logging activity in the Amazon is exposing the final few hundred people on Earth left untouched by civilization.
The survival of the estimated 50 to 100 isolated or “uncontacted” tribes across the Amazon Basin is in jeopardy, reports National Geographic.
Confined to a shrinking jungle core, the nomadic Awá hunter-gatherers are especially vulnerable. Survival International called the Awá “Earth’s most threatened tribe” in 2012.
“Even in the still largely untouched expanses of rain forest straddling Brazil’s western border with Peru, isolated groups must live on the run to escape the depredations of illegal logging, gold prospecting, and now drug trafficking,” writes Scott Wallace, National Geographic journalist and author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes:
Wallace visited with contacted members of the 600-member Awá tribe and a neighboring, more modernized tribe called the Guajajara, who informed him about the 100 or so uncontacted Awá, who still live hidden deep in the jungle as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
The Guajajara have taken it upon themselves to be the protectors of“the isolated ones,” believing their own survival to be dependent upon the Awá.
“Who’s going to fight for the isolated ones, if not us?” a Forest Guardian named Tainaky told Wallace the night before a patrol.
He pulled out a map of the protected Arariboia territory.
Trouble for the Awa began in the 1970s and ’80s when a railroad split their territory in half, which led to cattle ranches, factories, and entire cities growing up around them.
Many of the Awá are descendants of those who fled to escape enslavement and devastating epidemics during the rubber boom more than a century ago, says another National Geographic journalist Chris Fagan.
“Subsequent contact with missionaries, loggers, oil and gas workers, and other outsiders often resulted in more violence and disease,” Fagan writes. “That they continue to live in isolation is a conscious decision, in their view essential for survival.”
The number of contact events will increase if Peru continues to promote policies to open up more of the forest to exploitation, Fagan says.
The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest is proposing a more than 34,000-square-mile protected corridor for tribes in isolation and initial contact.
The only so-called “uncontacted” tribes remaining outside the Amazon today are a few hundred people in Paraguay’s Chaco scrub forest, the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, and in western New Guinea, Indonesia.
One response to “The Last Uncontacted Nomads of The Amazon are “Under Siege” By Illegal Loggers”
Interesting Post! thanks!