Uncontacted Indians’ forest ‘sprayed with chemicals’ 21 July 2011

Thousands of Indians are threatened by the rise in deforestation near the Madeira dams
Thousands of Indians are threatened by the rise in deforestation near the Madeira dams
© Clive W. Dennis

A large stretch of Amazon forest in a region where uncontacted Indians are thought to be living, has reportedly been destroyed illegally with chemical defoliant sprayed from an airplane.

Brazil’s environment agency, IBAMA, discovered a 178 hectare patch of dead trees during a recent overflight of an area of the western Brazilian Amazon.

IBAMA has not confirmed the cause of the destruction.

The uncontacted Indians thought to be living nearby rely completely on their forest to survive. Outsiders are banned from entering their area, the Jacareuba/Katawixi reserve, whilst the authorities conduct studies so they can fully protect the Indians’ land.

The Indians are coming under increasing threat from the huge rise in deforestation since the start of the construction of the Madeira hydroelectric dams.

Earlier this year, Survival supporters protested against the dams, alongside indigenous leaders in Europe.

The Indians’ health is also at grave risk as experts have warned that chemical defoliant can poison humans and animals, aside from killing trees and contaminating soil.

An IBAMA representative said, ‘The forest turns into a collection of tooth picks, which makes it much easier to clear. It’s the same process used by the US army to find the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war’.

IBAMA has reportedly seized four tons of agrochemicals, which were to be used to destroy 3,000 more hectares of forest.

The Brazilian authorities are responsible for protecting uncontacted Indians’ forest so that they can live there undisturbed by outside threats.

 

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