Ariel photos show proof of illegal logging for mahogany occurring in a Peruvian reserve set aside for uncontacted natives. The photos, taken by Chris Fagan from Round River Conservation Studies, show logging camps set-up inside the Murunahua Reserve, meant to protect the uncontacted indigenous group, known as the Murunahua Indians, in the Peruvian Amazon.
“All four camps looked to be active. Illegal logging in protected areas is a serious threat to the indigenous people who live in the region. Not only are these ‘uncontacted’ people extremely vulnerable to diseases brought by outsiders, but there is a history of violent conflict between them and loggers,” said Fagan.
Deforestation in Peru. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
The government of Peru, which has recently been criticized for firing on indigenous people involved in protesting oil drilling, has in the past denied that loggers had infiltrated such reserves even after Brazil alleged that illegal loggers were driving indigenous people across the border from Peru to Brazil.
The presence of loggers greatly threatens the Murunahua Indians since their long-isolation has left them particularly susceptible to disease. Previous encounters by loggers with groups of the Murunahua have left over half of the indigenous peoples dead by disease.
“Peru’s government must act immediately: stop the logging and allow the uncontacted Indians to live in peace. The fate of Peru’s isolated tribes was, after all, one of the concerns of the indigenous protests which brought much of the Amazon to a standstill earlier this year,” said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, an organization committed to the rights of tribal peoples.
(08/03/2009) Indigenous cultures around the world are facing increasing threats with the effects of climate change. In addition to the myriad organisms condemned to extinction by climate change, many indigenous human cultures are also in danger. Entire island populations must relocate as rising ocean levels bring devastating storm surges, food supplies for tropical communities are becoming scarcer, and remote Arctic populations are becoming more isolated as polar ice vanishes.
(06/19/2009) Peru’s Congress revoked two controversial land laws that sparked violent conflicts between indigenous protesters and police in the country’s Amazon region. The move temporarily defuses a two-week crisis, with protesters agreeing to stand down by removing blockades from roads and rivers. Congress voted 82-14 Thursday to overturn legislative decrees 1090 and 1064, which would have facilitated foreign development of Amazon land. Indigenous groups said the decrees threatened millions of hectares of Amazon rainforest and undermined their traditional land use rights.
(05/19/2009) Indigenous protesters have stepped up demonstrations over the Peruvian government’s moves to support energy development in the Amazon rainforest, reports Reuters.