Off the logs

Published: Thursday 30 June 2005

Loggers hack through the Amazo Illegal logging has reached the hitherto uncontacted Jururei tribe in the Amazon forests of Brazil. The tribe has only eight to 10 members. It is the second "uncontacted" indigenous group in the area that has suffered increased threat from loggers after a recent court order permitted felling in a part of the forest called Rio Pardo.

"The Indians have had conflict with loggers, who are cutting toward them from two different directions," said Rogerio Vargas Motta, director, Pacaas Novos National Park. Jururei huts were photographed recently by helicopter and Motta says a Jurerei even shot three arrows at it. In the latest clash, these Indians reportedly set booby traps with spikes, injuring a logger. The last official record of their sighting was almost a decade ago.

"Unless Brazil acts now to protect uncontacted tribes, they will disappear off the face of the earth. The annihilation of a tribe, however small, is genocide," warns Fiona Watson of Survival International, an indigenous rights group. Deforestation, egged on by cattle ranchers and soyabean farmers, and a weak political will to protect the forest, is surely anathema to Brazil's Indians.

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