Photos of “Uncontacted” Amazon Tribe Confirmed as a Hoax

I had my doubts about the claims of the so called last uncontacted tribe in Amazon because of the willingness of the Brazilian Indian advocacy group Funai and its photographer Jose Carlos Meirelles to hover their helicopter right over the top of the village.

If they were so concerned about Indians remaining “uncontacted” then why fly a helicopter directly over the village? It seems my doubts were valid as news has broken today that the whole thing was a hoax:

Even in an age when cynical sleuths can hyper-analyze stories for truth and accuracy, the occasional hoax still slips through the cracks. Such was the case with a so-called “lost Amazon tribe.”

A few months ago, mainstream news outlets (including, ahem, Yahoo!) reported that a photographer had found a lost tribe of warriors near the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Photos of the tribe backed up his claim.

As it turns out, the story is only half true. The men in the photo are members of a tribe, but it certainly ain’t “lost.” In fact, as the photographer, José Carlos Meirelles, recently explained, authorities have known about this particular tribe since 1910. The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group.

The photographer recently came clean, and news outlets, perhaps embarrassed at having been taken for a ride, have been slow to pick up the story. Now, the word is starting to spread and articles in the Buzz are picking up steam. Expect a lot more brutal truth in the coming days. [Yahoo Buzz]

Make sure to read the whole article in the British Guardian that broke this story because it also shows more of my other criticism of Meirelles which is how he treats these people in the Amazon tribes as nothing more then wildlife. However, I will still maintain that the pictures he took are pretty cool.

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Uncontacted Tribe in the Amazon Photographed

I think this is one area I will not be going on a walkabout anytime soon:

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APPEALS have been made to leave alone the members of one of Brazil’s last uncontacted Indian tribes, spotted in the Amazon jungle near the Peruvian border.

The Indians were sighted and photographed from an aircraft or helicopter during flights over the rainforest in remote Acre state, said Brazil’s National Indian Foundation, known as Funai.

Funai said it photographed “strong and healthy” warriors, six huts and a large planted area.

The photographs show red-painted tribe members brandishing bows and arrows.

Funai said it was not known to which tribe they belonged.

“Four distinct isolated peoples exist in this region, whom we have accompanied for 20 years,” Funai expert Jose Carlos Meirelles Junior said.

“We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,” he said.

“This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.” [AAP]

“Strong and healthy warriors”, this guys makes it sound like he is spotting wildlife instead of people. It seems to me that if this guy wanted to ensure these natives remained “uncontacted” I would think flying a helicopter right over their homes wouldn’t be the way to go about doing that?

Anyway the pictures they took are pretty cool:

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Pretty sizable community they built out in the middle of nowhere.

You can view the rest of the pictures they took here.

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Spectacular Pictures of Chilean Volcano

The volcano that erupted in Chaiten, Chile has provided some truly spectacular pictures of nature in action:

TWO spectacular forces of nature seemed to be meeting in the skies of Chile yesterday as a volcanic eruption caused a lightning storm.

It may have looked like the storm was passing the Chaiten volcano but the lightning was caused by the static charge created by the friction of rocks and ash thrown into the air, The Times reported.

The result was an extraordinary sight as lightning flickered around the dust cloud in the fiery, orange glow of the volcano.

Geoscience Australia’s Alanna Simpson said the lightning storms were common in eruptions were lots of material was thrown into the sky.

“As long as there is a similar amount of of ash in the air and similar weather conditions there is no reason why it could not continue,” she said. [News.com]

Amazing stuff, but can you imagine what the carbon offset bill for this natural disaster would be? ;-)

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