'Lost' Amazon tribe forced out of the rainforest
Illegal logging in the Amazon is blamed, as NGO warns the tribe could now face extinction
A group of Amazon Indians, who had previously had no contact with the outside world, has been forced out of the Brazilian rainforest due to illegal logging and drug trafficking.
For the first time in history, members of the tribe have left the rainforest and initiated contact with a local community, according to indigenous-rights group Survival International.
Federal policy forbids direct contact with tribes such as this, for fear of introducing new diseases or harming their local culture and environment.
They may now be faced with viruses against which they have no immunity, such as chicken pox, measles or the common cold, which could prove deadly.
"The uncontacted Indians now face the same genocidal risk from disease and violence which has characterised the invasion and occupation of the Americas over the last five centuries," warned Survivor's Director Stephen Corry.
The Western part of the Amazon covers several states in Brazil and parts of Peru and is home to some of the world's last uncontacted Indians.
Land along Brazil's border with Peru is highly sought after, and fought over, due to the presence of timber, oil, minerals, natural gas, and hydroelectric and farming potential, National Geographic reports.
Brazil's Indian Affairs Department and Survival previously warned Peruvian authorities of the dangers the extensive logging could cause to local tribes.
"It shows the injustice we face today," said Nixiwaka Yawanawá, an Indian from the same state as the tribe, who works for Survival international. "They are even more vulnerable because they can’t communicate with the authorities. Both governments must act now to stop a disaster against my people."