New photos reveal rare glimpse of uncontacted tribe in Amazon, threatened by outsiders

Aerial photos taken in northern Brazil show a small, is alive and well in the forests of the Amazon.

, a non-profit aimed at protecting tribal peoples, released the series of pictures on Thursday.

Uncontacted tribes are communities of people that live in isolation and have experienced no peaceful contact with anyone in the mainstream or dominant society.

Estimated to be home to 100 people, the Moxihatetema community is one of three uncontacted Yanomami tribes in the close to Brazil’s border with Venezuela. Survival International estimates there are some 22,000 Yanomami living in Brazil.

The astonishing pictures show the people and their yano, the circular structure that acts as their communal home, deep among the trees of the Amazon. The images are the first photos of this specific community to surface in more than a year, the Guardian reports.

Fiona Watson of Survival International told the newspaper the pictures were good news, pointing out the Moxihatetema had two more thatched panels than in the past, which suggested they have grown by a couple of families since the tribe were last spotted.

Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan / Hutukara
Trevisan / Hutukara

However, uncontacted tribes are under constant threat, made vulnerable by illegal gold . The outsiders bring malaria to the region and have polluted the tribes’ food and water sources with mercury.

“They are like termites – they keep coming back and they don’t leave us in peace,” says Yanomami shaman and activist Davi Kopenawa Yanomami.

The Yanomami face more direct threats with of miners killing the isolated indigenous people.

In 1993, sixteen Yanomami were massacred at the hands of illegal gold miners in the Venezuelan Amazon. Survival Interational says the miners shot shot women, children and old people, and hacked a baby with a machete.

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