Satellite images and flights over the western Amazon River recently revealed a previously unknown indigenous group existing there, National Geographic reports.
The discovery, confirmed by FUNAI, Brazil's Indian affairs agency, showed three separate clearings and four large malocas, or communal dwellings, in the jungles of the Javari Valley Indigenous Reserve in Western Brazil. Experts estimate that this new tribe consists of at least 200 people who grow corn, bananas and low-to-the-ground bushes that may be peanuts or cassava.
The tribe was initially discovered through satellite images, but was confirmed earlier this year by aerial reconnaissance flights. It is one of as many as 14 uncontacted indigenous communities in the Javari rainforest reserve. FUNAI has confirmed that around two dozen such tribes exist in Brazil, more than any other country in the world.
Brazil has put forth policies to locate and protect these tribes in nature travel areas, as they are threatened by loggers, gold prospectors, and energy companies that seek oil in the jungles. These people are highly susceptible to communicable diseases and cultural dislocation if they come into contact with the outside world. The Daily Mail reported that Brazilian authorities have reached out to NGOs for help protecting the tribes.
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