The video footage below, caught by a Brazilian government worker, is the closest glimpse ever recorded of a small uncontacted Amazonian tribe called the Kawahiva.
The group in the video numbers about nine people, and a Brazilian news report suggests they were on looking for a place to set up camp, where the family can stay while the men wait to hunt at night.
One of the two children hitching a ride on a woman’s back notices the camera in the trees and cries out. The group flees (some dizzying camera shake ensues) until one of the men creeps back to examine the foreign invader through from behind brush cover.
Of the approximately 100 uncontacted tribes believed to still exist in the world, around 85 of them are thought to live in the vast Amazon rainforest straddling Brazil and Peru. It is thought that only about 50 Kawahiva are still alive.
While this is the closest shot of an isolated Amazonian tribe, it is not the first. The BBC worked with the Brazilian government to shoot aerial footage of an uncontacted village in 2011.
Recently, indigenous-rights activists and employees of Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency (FUNAI) say illegal loggers, gold miners, and even drug gangs are encroaching on land belonging to both isolated and contacted indigenous people. Those same forces could be scaring the uncontacted tribes away, and possibly even attacking them.
Here is the video footage (no sound), uploaded to YouTube by Treehugger’s Stephen Messenger:
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