Can you imagine a group of humans on Earth who have never been contacted by the rest of the world and who have never used a telephone or seen television? Do such people really exist? It’s hard to believe, but there are indeed almost 100 “uncontacted” tribes in the world today and about half of these live in the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil.
A Peruvian tribe, called Mashco-Piro, tried to contact some nearby villagers. They were asking for food. Many trees have been chopped down in the areas where the tribe lives. This has led to a shortage of food for this tribe. The people in the tribe hunt and use natural resources for survival. The shrinking rainforest is threatening the existence of this tribe and others like it.
The villagers sent bananas in a canoe to the tribe. The Peruvian government does not allow physical contact with such tribes. This is because the people in these “uncontacted” tribes don’t have immunity to diseases that we might be carriers for, and the people in the tribe can get very sick from diseases that make us just a little sick.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest on our planet, about two-thirds the size of the United States. It is shared by 9 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, and Guiana. The rainforest gets its name from the Amazon River which flows through it. Its importance can be judged by some of its nicknames – the “jewels of the planet” (30% of the world’s plant and animal species live there), the “lungs of the planet” (20% of the world’s oxygen is produced there), and the “pharmacy of the world” (it provides a large variety of medicinal products).
Here is a timelapse video showing deforestation in a part of the Amazon Rainforest.
Here is a video showing a glimpse of the Amazon Rainforest.
You can get some facts about Peru at the National Geographic site.
Did you know?
The Inca civilization lived in what today is called Peru. In the 1500s, European explorers made it to Peru. Part of the Inca civilization was wiped out by diseases the Europeans brought because the Incas had no immunity to them. One of the diseases was smallpox.
Image Credits: http://www.aidesep.org.pe for Mashco-Piro’s image and NASA for Amazon Rainforest’s image
Sources: http://www.uncontactedtribes.org, http://www.aidesep.org.pe, http://wwf.panda.org, http://www.pbs.org, and www.amazonconservation.org