Saviour messenger

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

-- The Surui people who live inside the Amazon rainforest think they have a new saviour. They call it "Ragogmakan". But we know Surui's benefactor as Google.

Almir Narayamoga, the tribe's chief, believes that Google Earth can help them check illegal mining. He came up with the idea when a tourist with a laptop showed him Google Earth, and he intuitively used the technology to search his hut.

But he was saddened when he saw the clear effects of logging surrounding his territory. He decided that he would embark on a long journey to San Francisco, to form an allegiance with this new powerful all-seeing eye in the sky. Google with the help of the US-based Amazon Conservation Team, agreed to provide high-resolution satellite images of the tribe's slice of rainforest, an isolated 2,400 sq km in west Brazil.

The Amazon Conservation Team is now training the Surui in IT, so that they will be able to use Google Earth to record the co-ordinates of any logging they see via satellite and report it immediately. This is why 34-year-old Narayamoga has dubbed the search engine "Ragogmakan", which means messenger in Surui.

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