Photo Unfinish: Can Pictures Save Prehistoric Amazonians From Extinction?

Jan 31, 2011· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.
Members of an uncontacted Amazonian Indian tribe stare and point at a Brazilian government airplane. (Photo: Gleison Miranda/FUNAI/Survival International)

Brazil is hoping that the eyes of the world will save a never-before-seen indigenous tribe.

Attempting to pressure the Peruvian government to crack down on illegal logging, the Brazilian government has released heretofore unseen photographs of what could be wiped out if the loggers aren’t stopped—an uncontacted Amazonian Indian tribe.

Showing bow-toting adults and children looking skyward, the images were taken by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).

"Illegal loggers will destroy this indigenous people. It is essential that the Peruvian government stop them before it is too late," warned Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, in a statement.

Brazil has set aside swaths of land where the tribes can be left to live in isolation, but the Peruvian government denies the existence of such groups, according to the Independent.

A Peruvian spokesman has compared the indigenous tribes to the Loch Ness monster, reports Survival International.

"It is necessary to reaffirm that these peoples exist, so we support the use of images that prove these facts,” said Marco Apurina, coordinator of Brazil’s Amazon Indian organization COIAB. “These peoples have had their most fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, ignored—it is therefore crucial that we protect them.”

Hey, Peru, still think the tribe doesn't exist? (Photo: Gleison Miranda/FUNAI/Survival International)

The tribe featured in the new photographs is believed to be one that suffered terrible atrocities when the "rubber boom" began at the end of the 19th century, reports the Independent.

On Thursday, February 3, the tribe will be featured in the "Jungles" episode of BBC's Human Planet.