A 2011 photo released by Survival International of uncontacted Indians seen from a Brazilian government’s observation aircraft in the Brazilian Amazon forest, near the border with Peru. Last month, the government reportedly made contact with an uncontacted tribe in the same region where the footage was taken.
An isolated indigenous tribe in the Amazon Rainforest has made its first contact with mainstream society, according to the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department, FUNAI.
But some fear the peaceful encounter with Brazilian government scientists in Acre State near the Peruvian border late last month could be a dangerous development for the uncontacted people, who are said to be extremely vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold.
The journal Science reported that the June 29 encounter was reportedly the government’s first with an uncontacted tribe since 1996.
After sightings last month, Brazil’s Indian Affairs warned that the uncontacted tribe could face risk of “tragedy” and “death,” according to Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous tribes that has called on the Peruvian government to crack down on illegal deforestation that is believed to have caused the uncontacted peoples to flee.
The group is said to imitate animals as a way of expressing emotion — the sound of a jaguar for anger, a wild pig when scared — according to a Survival International interview with José Carlos Meirelles, an advisor to the Brazilian government who is one of the few to know anything about the reclusive group.
In 2011, Mr. Meirelles and the BBC shot video and photographs of an uncontacted tribe in the same region as last month’s encounter, though it was not clear whether it was the same tribe.
The shots were heralded as proof of the existence of uncontaced peoples amid accusations that reports of the tribes were no different than Scotland’s Loch Ness monster. Denials of uncontacted people have long been perpetuated by those with logging interests in the region, Ms. Eede wrote.
According to FUNAI, at least 77 isolated groups are believed to be living in the Amazon.