New Footage Shows Uncontacted Amazon Tribesman from the World’s 'Most Threatened' Tribe

A likely uncontacted Amazonian tribesman seen in a recently released video.
A likely uncontacted Amazonian tribesman seen in a recently released video. (Image credit: Guardian News/YouTube)

In a newly released video, a bare-chested Amazonian tribesman sniffs a machete, looks toward the camera and then disappears into the foliage, likely realizing he's being filmed.

This tribesman is reportedly a member of the Awá tribe of Brazil, an "uncontacted" tribe threatened by loggers and other people with commercial interests who have been sweeping into their forests, according to The Guardian.

The video was taken in the northern state of Maranhao by a nearby tribe called the Guajajara. The Guajajara are part of a larger group of indigeneous people who go by the name "Guardians of the Amazon." They are trying to defend their already incredibly deforested homes in the northeast of Brazil, as well as the indigenous people who live there. [Photos of the Awa: Faces of a Threatened Tribe]

"We hope this film produces something positive," Flay Guajajara, a member of the tribe who shot the video and released it through an indigenous film-making organization called the Mídia Índia, told The Guardian. "We hope it makes an impact around the world to help protect our people and our forest."

Though most of the Awá have been previously contacted by outside humans, there are some members such as the fellow in the new footage who likely haven't, according to CBSNews. These members are in an area that's being destroyed by logging, according to the nonprofit organization Survival International.

Satellite photos of the area in which the Awá live show that logging is extensive and has cut away much of the forest in the area — forest that's vital for the survival of these hunter-gatherers, according to a previous Live Science report. The Awá rely on the trees — for food, such as nuts and berries, and for medicines and supplies, such as resin from the maçaranduba tree, which is used to make torches, according to the Live Science report. Survival International calls the Awá the "world's most threatened tribe" and claims they have been frequently threatened and killed by loggers.

What's more, since Jair Bolsonaro took office as Brazil's president in January, he has been accused of anti-environmental ideologies that harm the Amazon and its people, while benefiting loggers, miners and farmers who helped him get elected, according to CBSNews.

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.