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Aerial Photos Capture Uncontacted Amazon Tribe That's Thriving Amid Threats From Gold Miners

Nov 23, 2016 06:31 AM EST

After a year of staying off the radar -- a period that has had indigenous rights and conservation groups concerned for their survival -- new aerial photos of the Amazon captured the uncontacted Moxihatetema tribe that has amazingly not just survived, but grown.

According to a report from The Guardian, the images show the traditional communal living structure called the maloca. These photos were snapped in the Yanomami Reserve near the border of Venezuela last September, as part of surveillance of illegal miners. This particular uncontacted tribe is one of three Yanomami groups that are monitored remotely because of their desire to be left alone by outsiders. You can see the images here courtesy of National Geographic.

This uncontacted Moxihatetema tribe prefers to keep to itself, but the endless threats of the outside world keep them constantly in danger. There is relief at finding them not just surviving the wild, but also growing with two additional thatched panels, suggesting there are now more families in the community.

While uncontacted communities can thrive on their own, the presence of miners poses a number of dangers, according to a report from Survival International. This area has around 5,000 illegal gold miners, all of whom played a role in bringing diseases like malaria to the area as well as polluting food and water sources with mercury, which leads to health problems to the tribe people.

"The place where the uncontacted Indians live, fish, hunt, and plant must be protected," Yanomami association Hutukara president Davi Kopenawa Yanomami said. "The whole world must know that they are there in their forest and that the authorities must respect their right to live there."

"They are like termites -- they keep coming back and they don't leave us in peace," he added about the miners.

Budget cuts to the National Indian Foundation, also known as Funai, could lead to drastically reduced protection to all of the indigenous people.

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