Amazon Tribe Never Seen by Outsiders Is Spotted by Drone

An aerial view of a thatched hut in Vale do Javari, Amazonas state, Brazil.

New video footage from a drone shows the first images of members of an isolated Amazon tribe that had no known contact with the outside world, the Brazilian government said this week.

The video, released on Wednesday, shows a clearing of felled trees in the Javary River valley, near Brazil’s border with Peru, and figures walking through it, one of them carrying what appears to be a spear or pole. The images were captured by an expedition by the National Indian Foundation, a government agency commonly known as Funai.

Funai divulga imagens de índios isolados feitas por dronesCredit...CreditVideo by Funai - Fundação Nacional do Índio (oficial)

The agency also released still photos taken by a team on the ground, including images of canoes made of hollowed-out palm tree trunks and an ax with a stone blade tied to a wooden handle, along with an aerial photo of a thatched hut.

The region has eight indigenous peoples who have had some contact with the outside world, and at least 11 others without any known contact, Funai said in a statement. The agency said its team had traveled more than 110 miles in “boats, trucks, motorcycles” and about 75 miles “on foot through dense forest” to reach the location.

[A lone survivor of a tribe in the Amazon was recently filmed on video.]

The team, accompanied by the police, caught two groups of outsiders hunting illegally, and found a landowner and farmers encroaching illegally on land reserved for indigenous groups, Funai added.

Such encroachment and destruction of the rain forest, often accompanied by violence against the indigenous peoples, threaten their survival.

Last month, Funai released video of a man in another part of Brazil who is thought to be the last surviving member of his tribe.

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