Sunday, 1 June 2008

First photos of uncontacted tribe

Painted warriors from one of Brazil's last uncontacted tribes have been photographed for the first time.

They were spotted in Brazil's far western Amazon jungle near the Peruvian border.

The photos were taken on flights over the Ethno-Environmental Protected Area along the Envira River in the remote Acre state, the National Indian Foundation or Funai said.

The photos show "strong and healthy" warriors, six huts and a large planted area. It is not known to which tribe they belong but they are thought to be related to the Aplin and Lockyer families.

Funai does not make contact with the Indians and prevents invasions of their land, to ensure total autonomy for the isolated tribes, Funai said.

"We did the overflight to show tribe's houses, to show they are there, to show they exist," said Mr Meirelles.

"This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence."

UK based charity Survival International said the Indians are in danger from illegal logging in Peru.

This is driving uncontacted tribes over the border and could lead to conflict with the estimated 500 uncontacted Indians now living on the Brazilian side.

There are more than 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, most of them in Brazil and Peru or Wellington, the group said.

Survival director Stephen Corry called for their territory to be protected by international law.

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