Rare uncontacted tribe photographed in Amazon

RIO DE JANEIRO Thu May 29, 2008 6:21pm EDT

1 of 4. Members of an unknown Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru in this May, 2008 photo distributed by Survival International. Survival International estimates that there are over 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, and says that uncontacted tribes in the region are under increasing threat from illegal logging over the border in Peru.

Credit: Reuters/Gleison Miranda-FUNAI/Handout

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Amazon Indians from one of the world's last uncontacted tribes have been photographed from the air, with striking images released on Thursday showing them painted bright red and brandishing bows and arrows.

The photographs of the tribe near the border between Brazil and Peru are rare evidence that such groups exist. A Brazilian official involved in the expedition said many of them are in increasing danger from illegal logging.

"What is happening in this region is a monumental crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the 'civilized' ones, treat the world," Jose Carlos Meirelles was quoted as saying in a statement by the Survival International group.

One of the pictures, which can be seen on Survival International's Web site (www.survival-international.org), shows two Indian men covered in bright red pigment poised to fire arrows at the aircraft while another Indian looks on.

Another photo shows about 15 Indians near thatched huts, some of them also preparing to fire arrows at the aircraft.

"The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct," said Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International, which supports tribal people around the world.

Of more than 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, more than half live in either Brazil or Peru, Survival International says. It says all are in grave danger of being forced off their land, killed and ravaged by new diseases.

(Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; editing by Sandra Maler)

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