back to article Uncontacted rainforest tribe caught from the air

Survival International has published remarkable snaps of an uncontacted tribe on the border between Brazil and Peru to highlight the plight of such groups which are threatened by illegal logging. One photograph, captured during one of several flights over the area, shows tribal members evidently none too pleased with the fly- …


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  1. Richard Rayner

    someone forgot to colorize the third person in that pic.

    and since a comment is required to accompany my title, here it is!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think it's offensive

    for us to deny these people the benefits of modern society, just so we can feel like they're cute, and we're maintaining them in innocence.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    ...what the rainforest people thought about the plane(?) that took the pictures. They must have got scared shitless by the contraption! They'll probably make a demon-, monster- or god-bird out of it that will be talked about for generations (unless they get eventually wiped out or assimilated).

    Mines the one made of banana leaves.

  4. David Temple

    ...I've got a little message for you

    Is it me or do the orange chaps look like umpa-lumpas?

  5. Manny

    They might be uncontacted, but..

    They certainly seemed to have developed the ancient art of making Nikes.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    How about

    1. Contact uncontacted tribe

    2. ???

    3. Profit!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Re: I think it's offensive

    Well, you kinda have a point, but it's not just about feeling they are cute and keeping their innocence. They could well die of disease if they get exposed to the pathogens of the modern society, against which they don't have any immune defenses. A great many of the dead during the conquest of the Americas succumbed to unwitting biological weapons....

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    How long d'you reckon....

    It'll be before Negroponte tries to shark them some cheap wind-up laptops?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Watch out

    Maybe someone should warn them not to aim weapons of any kind at a plane - the Yanks will see these and no doubt claim they are the largest threat to mankind since Osama (because they can't find him) and send an invasion...erm...liberation army down there to stop them!

  10. P.Nutt

    Re : I wonder

    I guess seeing the plane fly over head would be more or less the same as an Alien vessel hovering over London to us. I am pretty sure we all would run for the hills and hide if that happened, so I do not expect the poor villagers to be anywhere near that village now.

    Flame as could the company not have looked on Google Earth for the village instead of buzzing it scaring the shit out of the locals with a plane.

  11. Aaron

    Re: I think it's offensive

    Tell that to an Australian aborigine. Or an American aborigine, for that matter.

  12. Mark

    They can take our facepaint...

    What's the betting one of them's sayin to the others - "It's that w*nker Mel Gibson again - kill him before he makes a sequel!"...

  13. Frank Bough
    Thumb Down

    I Tend to Agree

    ...with Mr Coward. It's patronising in the extreme to treat these people like animals in a zoo (as it is animals in a zoo). Who knows how their society is organised? Monstrous human rights abuses could well be part of their daily lives? Why do so many assume that primitive = good? Maybe they don't LIKE dying in childbirth, or dying of simple infected wounds, or being poisoned by unsafe water supplies? Our modern world is hardly perfect, but things were FAR worse 1000 or even 10000 years ago.

  14. eddiewrenn

    spearchuckers :)

    That is all.

    Also, that big metal bird must have freaked the hell out of them! I think they deserve the right to have their way of life continue without disturbance.

  15. George

    @ Anonymous Coward

    I think you're little naive in your thinking there. An uncontacted tribe were spotted by plane purely because they could ONLY be spotted by plane...I don't think you realise the density of the rainforest, the peoples in the tribes here are not denied its because they are simply not reachable. There are members of tribes in the Peru/Brazil are who do leave and contact the modern world and some tribes co-exist without changing at all.

    And don't forget some of the tribes in Africa continue to remain un-modernised through choice.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Human instinct.

    Nice to see their first instinct is to attack something new (firing arrows at the aircraft?) - just like the rest of humanity.

    At least it's just not the decadent West that thinks 'Shoot first & ask questions later!'.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Yeah, let's show up en masse, scare the ever-loving shit out of them, force them into a world they can't possibly live in, kill 90% of them with disease, and bulldoze their lands. I'm sure they'll be very happy not to be condescended to.

  18. Michael Compton

    Re: I think it's offensive

    They seem to be doing alright to me so what exact benefits are we talking about here that they need. Plus have you looked at modern society its a mess based on greed and self advancement why would they want to be part of it.

  19. Craig


    These pics were on BBC1 this morning, and tbh they look pretty staged / fantastic.

    My first question would be why bother painting themselves red all the time?

  20. Pavlovs well trained dog

    Shame, poor buggers

    one of them thar primitives is going to use this as an excuse to invent some evil religion.

    Shame for the rest of them

    yes, I know, the evil is implied with religion..

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Uncivilised they may be...

    ...but they do seem to have mastered the skill of accessorizing. "Honey, that gold belt goes perfectly with your sandals"

    Paris, because even this tribe cut off from the rest of the world has probably seen "One night in Paris" like the rest of us.

  22. Andrew Bolton

    If they're uncontacted

    ...what's the mobile phone pouches doing on their belts? Eh? Seem pretty contactable to me.

    Mine's the bright red one

  23. bluesxman

    so that's where...

    ... Mr Wonka got his Oompa Loompas (as seen in the original movie.)

  24. Mike

    @AC (benefits of moderm society)

    For us to take these people out of that environment and put them into a 'modern society' would kill them outright (or may as well do so). Its taken 'modern man' well over 1000 years to gain this much technology and assimilate it in to everyday life. You can't just drop that on these people overnight. The governments of these countries need to step up and protect them.

    As the other AC said, they'll be freaked out just by an airplane. I can't imagine how much people in regular clothing, no coloration of their skin (ie. body makeup like them) and guns showing up to take them away would freak them out.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Anyone fancy being revered as a god...

    Turn up with enough techno wizardry and they'll think your a god - or at least a good replacement for the local witch-doctor...

    Our government like playing god; maybe we should send over the cabinet...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Prozac, pollution, hatred and politics...

    I quote from above:::

    "I think it's offensive ...

    for us to deny these people the benefits of modern society, just so we can feel like they're cute, and we're maintaining them in innocence"

    I REALLY hope you are taking the ssip - you really think they would be better off in the modern world? Innocence is bliss. Let them be!

  27. Adrian
    Paris Hilton

    Looks more like

    a screen capture of the latest Sims - The Sims go native.

    You'd think that if you go looking for people lost to civilisation that you'd bring a decent camera.

    Paris - because even these people would have heard of her

  28. TranceMist

    What about the iPod

    If they're "uncontacted" then why does the one in the center have an iPod on his hip?

  29. max

    @I think it's offensive

    The problem is that there immune systems haven't been exposed to all the illnesses in the modern world, so popping in and introducing ourselves is likely to lead to them all dying from the flu or somthing.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I think it's offensive you think it's offensive.

    What on earth makes you think you have a better life than they do?

    Leave them in peace.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    the UN should already be there - "helping" the locals.

  33. Smallbrainfield

    Start the plane! Start the plane!

    Was anyone else disappointed by the new Indiana Jones film?

    /in process of getting coat.

  34. Hedley Phillips

    I for one welcome our large white bird like overlords

    I for one welcome our large white bird like overlords

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    re: I think it's offensive

    I think it's arrogant to assume that "modern society" is something better than what they already have. That line of thinking lead to us maintaining a world wide empire and colonial rule to "bring civilisation and it's benefits to the natives".

    I wouldn't inflict modern society on my worst enemy.

    Let them develop at their own pace, they may just develop a better civilisation than we have thus far managed. We've ruined too many countries and too many peoples with our ideas of a better world, let's not drag more people down with us.

  36. Brett Leach

    @AC 12:59 And I think it's offensive that you'd want to drag them...

    ...into the 21st C that we have so thoughtfully built for our children and theirs to inherit.

    Black ensign for our brave^h^h^h^h^hpoisonous new world.

  37. anonymous sms

    Wow they found a tribe of David Dickinson's


  38. Xee Thot

    Re: I think it's offensive

    What's offensive is the thought that our culture is better than theirs and that we should give them the "benefits of modern society".

    Some of those people don't even have the antibodies required to live among the civilized people, a simple sneeze can (and has done in the past) kill an entire village.

    Most of them are in great health and don't need any of us to live happily.

  39. shaun

    screw them

    damn hippies, they need a job, a hair cut and an expresso.

  40. Dave


    Obviously, two of those guys are quite upset at the plane for buzzing them, disrupting their listening to their Ipods.


  41. David Edge

    Caption competition

    "Damn choppers, cant you see were trying to watch sky HD here!?"

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Colonialism

    >That line of thinking lead to us maintaining a world wide empire and

    >colonial rule to "bring civilisation and it's benefits to the natives".

    No, all that was done to improve the lot of the people doing it, at the time they had no problem with that.

    There were a few god squadders that thought they were bringing jesus to the natives, but otherwise it was for the cold hard cash.

  43. mark

    Send in Ray Mears

    He'll love to find out how the tango tribe of deep dark South America live.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Forgot to turn on the red guy reduction setting?

    I think it's pretty obviously the photographer's error. Does anyone else see the clear imprint of a lunar lander in the bottom right corner?

  45. Luke Wells

    equal oportunities

    Aww look low they live in harmony...... red and black? people hand in hand

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not always bright orange

    Just for some of you who have wondered at the orangeness of the tribespeople, apparently these photos were taken on the second flyover, the first having been a few hours before, and the guys with bows had painted themselves red in the meantime.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Genius. You appear to have started one of the longest flame threads on the Reg forums so far! I thought it was rather amusing myself. :o) Shame everybody else's irony detectors are still suffering from the power cuts this week!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The men paint themselves red and the women paint themselves black.

    What's that all about?!

  49. Anonymous Coward

    This picture is a hoax

    obviously someone has already visited these allegedly uncontacted primitives and introduced them to the pleasures of the fake tan. Looks like they got two twos.

  50. richard tanswell
    Paris Hilton


    You can see these guys on Channel 4 on Sunday mornings, the orange is just fake tan. They're all harmless really, in fact many of the men wouldn't be able to use a bow and arrow for fear of breaking a nail!

    Or were these pictures taken when Jordan was on I'm a Celebrity? Either way, has their celebrity status now improved to W list? They've reached the BBC websites top stories!

    Paris because she's probably sh@gged them all!

  51. Manny
    Paris Hilton

    Should send Paris..

    .. in for a week to make a new reality show.

    Would make compelling viewing.

    "Oh. And the orange one appears to be eating her hair."

    Where would it end?

  52. Steven

    Is it just me...

    Or does that look like a screenshot from Diablo II?

  53. Neil

    @ Frank Bough

    One the biggest problems in the world is this perverse attitude of 'human rights' where someone (like yourself) thinks it's ok to impose a different lifestyle on someone else because the former person has made the decision that they'd be better off for it.

    Feel free to go and try to persuade them to join modern society - you'd probably end up with an arrow in the eye for your efforts - and if somehow you did manage to convince them after spending a few years learning to communicate with them, perhaps you could think of how they could integrate into our society... get jobs as doctors or nurses maybe, or perhaps an airline pilot. Yep I'm sure they would fit right in. In a few generations they'll probably be doing really well just like the native americans or the australian aboriginals are since we 'liberated' them.

  54. C

    @Pavlovs well trained dog ... Shame, poor buggers

    "One of them thar primitives is going to use this as an excuse to invent some evil religion.

    Shame for the rest of them

    yes, I know, the evil is implied with religion.."

    Exactly! <refrains from a sarcastic 'amen'> .. so how do we inform the er.. brainwashed masses about the control mechanism/sham/evil/lies that are organized religions?

    Its not like you can just "show them" that would be just another 'scandal'.

    There has to be some way of getting these sheeple to wakeup and think for themselves!

    I'd say go to and check out Richard Dawkins .. what a great guy, and funny too!

    I go one god farther.

  55. SilverWave

    The outside world is going to kill most of them... sooner or later.

    Any outside contact will introduce them to the diseases we have learned to live with (we are the descendants of the ones that didn't die from things like the blackdeath etc.).

    The only question is when, now or later :(

    Still I don't go for that noble savage crap either, not being a racist, I expect them to be just like us...clever people, stupid people, good people, bad people.

    The disease issue doesn't stop communications being made it just makes it more difficult.

    Just explaining germ theory and advising them on first aid, health issues and providing them with basic medication could save them from a lot of suffering.

    Education and warnings of their predicament are something that we owe them and the least we can do is to help forewarn them.

    Doing nothing is not an option as the first loggers to meet them will destroy them.

    They are adults, in a sometimes harsh world and need to be treated as such.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    @ Neil who @ed Frank Bough

    How do you arrive at the idea that they dcided to live that lifestyle ? They're trapped a-la-The Prisoner

    Anyway, surely inbreding should have killed them off/given them wings or something ? No, oh in that case they are not the 'uncontacted' ones.


  57. Mark


    You will die. There's NOTHING that will stop it happening.

    It's likely that you will have no descendants within five generations.

    But we still don't like the idea of popping round your home and killing you and your family.

    People get quite annoyed with people who do that.

    So maybe we should refrain from interfering with people like this too.

    Or give your address up here and if it's within a cheapday return...

  58. John Stirling


    Inbreeding is a funny thing. To begin with it causes all the dodgy recessives to express themselves, reducing the viability of the tribe, then after a few generations of genetic disasters failing to breed the one's that actually have bred have a very low level of problematic recessives, with the results that inbreeding ceases to be a problem.

    Also I read somewhere (can't remember where) that a group of about 80 have enough genetic diversity to sustain itself indefinitely.

    So they could very well be uncontacted.

  59. Steve VanSlyck

    Bottom Line

    Let's step back a moment here. The most essential right of human kind is the right to be let alone. A little less cultural arrogance in the some of the comments to this story would be well taken. "We" are not "better" than "them."

  60. J
    Black Helicopters

    Ai, caramba...

    "for us to deny these people the benefits of modern society"

    OK, people already flamed that one to death. Lots of ignorance going around, but that's fine.

    The official gov organ that deals with indigenous peoples here in Brazil (I'm here on vacation visiting my folks and this has been all over the news for a few days) estimates that there are some 65 uncontacted groups, 24 of which are "confirmed" -- whatever they mean by that. Sometime a few months ago another isolated group, dying of diseases apparently transmitted by sporadic contact with loggers and miners, cautiously approached some other, accultured natives and asked for help. A crude recording of their chantings was quite popular on the Brazilian intertubes those days, you might have heard of it.

    Now, that does NOT mean they don't know about our existence. It appears like most of them, if not all, do. They have indirect contact with "civilization", through other, more friendly (to us) tribes. They get knives and matches through them, sometimes. But they run away from "white" man, they do not want to mix with us (for whatever reason). They will kill any stranger, non-native they find in their territory (and Brazilian law does not apply to them if they are not "accultured", therefore they can do it freely). They *have* chosen to be alone. They are hostile, the more "accultured" indians call them "índio brabo" (angry indian).

    And don't worry about the airplane scare. They sure can't "explain" it in our terms, but they know it's our stuff and don't want it to get close.

    Let them just do as they please before the inevitable extermination, methinks.

    (and to whomever is complaining about the quality of the images: have you tried taking pictures from a small, shaking airplane with a tele?)

  61. heystoopid


    Hmmm, sounds like the loggers will be using the old merkin standard native pacification trick of discarded clothing plus a few unwanted extra germs viruses added for a good measure !

  62. John Watts

    The future's bright, the future's orange ...

    When the oil runs out these folks will be doing what they've always done and doing it well.

    Whereas we'll be running about trying to work out which way 'round to hold a bow and trying to find cave walls big enough to hold lengthy collections of comments on the picture at the top.

    On that note, what will their archaeologists make of the various nob drawings they find on the few remaining bus shelters?

    Might I suggest.

    "This is clearly a shrine to a phallic god.

    We think it was common to make an offering of a substance called Stella.

    It would seem the ritual involved consuming the mind altering substance to initiate a state of altered-consciousness and then making a symbolic transferral of the bender's* inner state to the external which was achieved by pissing all over the shrine and then having a fight to decide who gets to have sex with the various priestesses in attendance.

    We can only guess at these conclusions as no records of the peak of this civilisation have survived through the ages - indeed we believe that during the break-down of this civilisation there was some degeneration of literacy and the population abandoned the pursuit of knowledge and became obsessed with shiny metal discs instead.

    * We believe that the high-priests were referred to as benders as evidenced by the prolific occurrence of phrases such as 'Jay is a bender' on these shrines"

  63. SilverWave
    Paris Hilton


    Hmm interesting - you did read more than the title didn't you?

    >You will die. There's NOTHING that will stop it happening.

    >It's likely that you will have no descendants within five generations.

    Not me I am going to give living forever a try.

    >But we still don't like the idea of popping round your home and killing you and your family.

    You are a great humanitarian, and that is a sentiment I heartily agree with.

    >People get quite annoyed with people who do that.


    >So maybe we should refrain from interfering with people like this too.

    Logic and reasoned augment not one of your strong points are they?

    >Or give your address up here and if it's within a cheapday return...

    I am thinking of contacting the police regarding that remark as it looks like it could be that you are threatening to kill me.

    The Register has your IP and email so hopefully they will reach your address before you leave.

    Paris Icon as even she knows that threatening people on the internet is likely to get you into a bit of trouble...

    Of course if you really are 12 and a 1/2 as you appear to be judging by your post, I am sure the police will take that into account.

  64. Dom

    Papua New Guinea

    There's no need to speculate - just look at Papua New Guinea. Three years ago I was in an area where "contact" had still not been made in the 40s. I met a man whose grandfather was alive at the time. When they saw planes flying overhead during WW2 they thought they were birds (what else could they be?). What happens after "contact" is well-documented.

  65. Steve Evans


    So why do you bother putting a suit and tie on everyday?

    Who's to say that the red paint isn't their uniform for hunters? Maybe the red is actually some mud from the river which helps stop the insects biting them? It could all be perfectly logical.

    Personally I find some of the views here a little worrying. Who are we to impose our so-called advances on them? You're judging them using our standards and beliefs, they are a completely different culture.

    Sit back and look at what our so called culture has given us... 1001 excellent ways to kill people and things including the planet. How nice.

  66. Jonathon Green
    Dead Vulture

    @Steve Evans

    "Sit back and look at what our so called culture has given us... 1001 excellent ways to kill people and things including the planet. How nice."

    Well, a couple of the things it's given us are greatly reduced neonatal death tolls (for both mothers and babies) and much higher survival rates for common childhood diseases. And yes, I for one think that is kind of nice, particularly as those who stand to benefit are the ones least likely to be given any damned choice in the matter...

    This particular vulture copped it as a result of a minor complication of egg-laying which could have been prevented by a relatively simple, low-tech, non-intrusive medical intervention by the way...



  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Papua New Guinea

    Absolutely! Why should these people be subjected to being belittled by Boris Johnson?

  68. Robert Harrison

    exam room conditions, quiet please, no mobile phones

    So lets see, compare and contrast the following situations in no more than 500 words, all answers to be written on answer sheet only, show working:

    Living in a rain forest in a small close-knit tribal community. You're living hand-to-mouth. Accomodation sorted because you've built it out of sticks, when it breaks get more sticks. When you're not hunting to support the family you get to sit round with the rest of the tribe and tell stories for hours. Eat, sleep, reproduce.


    Slogging it out 9 to 5, fighting to afford petrol to put in your car. Struggling to squeeze your car through the traffic. Worried about the interest rate on the mortgage on your property which might need some work which a plumber will no doubt charge you an arm and a leg for and still do a shoddy job. Concerned about the cost of food in the supermarket and what exactly the manufacturers have injected into it to 'beef it up a bit'. Fears over increasingly far reaching CCTV survellience and public order legislation.

    Who is more advanced?

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ClubMed Jungle Village?

    We do I join up?

    I'd look good in red.

  70. Stephen Gray

    @ Frank Bough

    You must be a Yank, you automatically think everyone wants to live by your standards.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    Leave them alone

    The reason I think they should be left alone is because these people are ammuned to their habitat and if they did come out into the world, they would die.. Just like the last indians that before lived on the island I live now.. I mean obviously they are no threat to us, we didnt know they even existed! Leave them alone and let them live the way they are.. This is all they know, this is all they ever lived, having the things and medical care we have isnt something they know, they know their own medicine and health problems, sure some die, but all the rest of our races die too.. So using an excuse to go into their land to save their lives is bull... we would kill them with diseases they would have never have gotten if we left them alone...

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