‘The Lost Tribe’… video footage of uncontacted Amazonian Indians causes internet sensation

Updated: May 1, 2014

AMAZING footage of a ‘lost tribe’ who have never made contact with the outside world has sparked an internet campaign to protect their way of life.

The Amazonian tribe – who have only ever been filmed by aircraft – live deep in the tropical rainforest in the remote Javari region of Brazil. The area is 2,500 miles north west of Rio de Janeiro and is largely unexplored.

The tribal people are indigenous to the Amazon and they live in shelters made from branches and leaves. They hunt with bows and arrows and decorate their bodies with red paint made from crushed annato seeds.

They have never experienced modern technology such as electricity or television and they lead a basic lifestyle that has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

But now their way of life is under threat from illegal loggers, which has led a group called Survival International to launch a campaign to protect them.

A tribesman can be glimpsed here through the foliage next to a shelter

A tribesman can be glimpsed here through the foliage next to a shelter

It is feared that if the outside world makes contact with them the tribal people could be wiped out by diseases such as the common cold, to which they will have no immunity.

Although they are often referred to as a ‘lost’ tribe, campaigners point out that they are in fact uncontacted rather than lost.

TRIBE2The first ever video footage of the tribe was filmed in 2011 from a plane above the thick Amazonian foliage by campaigner Jose Carlos Meirelles, who works for Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department. The incredible video has run up 3.9 million plays on YouTube around the world.

You can watch the breath-taking footage at the bottom of this page.  A narrator reveals: “The dense Amazon forests below are home to one of the last uncontacted tribes left on Earth.”

Watching from above … Meirelles's plane

Watching from above … Meirelles’s plane

Speaking in his native tongue, Meirelles then takes up the story. He says: “We know so little about these peoples. It’s difficult to convince governments that they exist.

“Without proof they exist, the outside world won’t support them. One image of them has more impact than 1000 reports.”

Meirelles has been tracking the tribe from afar for many years, but says he now fears they are under threat from illegal loggers who are encroaching on the land from over the border in Peru.

He said: “I know this footage is the only way to convince the rest of the world that they are here. If illegal loggers or miners contact these people they won’t shoot  images they’ll shoot guns.”

Meirelles says there has already been an influx of other tribes into the area as they flee from threats.

He said: “Where can they go? They come here, there is nowhere else. They should be free to choose to make contact or not. We have to protect the land and keep out invaders. That’s the only way they’ll survive. There is no other way.”

Thankfully, due to the huge interest that this video has created on YouTube, Meirelles are winning the battle to raise awareness in order to put pressure on the Brazilian and Peruvian governments to take action.

* You can read more about the campaign to save the uncontacted tribe at Survival International


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