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Uncontacted Amazonian Indians Spotted by Drone

Photo: maloca - Collection / Funai / 2017


Uncontacted Amazonian Indians Spotted by Drone


Incredible new drone footage has captured an Amazonian tribe from Brazil which is home to more remote tribes than anywhere in the world. These new aerial images present a rare glimpse of an isolated tribe in Brazil’s Amazon, showing 16 people walking through jungle as well as a deforested area with a crop. In another drone shot video clip, one of the tribes’ people appears to be carrying a bow and arrow.

Brazil’s agency for indigenous affairs, Funai, has been studying the community in the images for years, but this was the first time it was able to shoot footage on camera thanks to drones. Funai revealed it had taken the drone shots during an expedition last year to monitor isolated communities, but released the footage only recently to protect their study.

Researchers monitored the tribe in Vale do Javari, an indigenous territory in the south-western part of the state of Amazonas. There are 11 confirmed isolated groups in the area – more than anywhere else in Brazil.”These images have the power to make society and the government reflect on the importance of protecting these groups,” said Wallace Bastos, Funai’s president.

Photo: maloca - Collection / Funai / 2017

Photo: maloca – Collection / Funai / 2017


Photo: worn axe tied with fiber - Collection / Funai / 2017

Photo: worn axe tied with fiber – Collection / Funai / 2017

Bruno Pereira, the official coordinator of Funai’s study of isolated groups in the region, said these documentations provide data to researchers studying the tribal culture. The agency has not yet been able to identify the name of the tribe, though it has shortlisted probable about ethnicity and language of the tribe. “The more we know about isolated communities’ way of living, the more equipped we are to protect them,” he said.

In total the agency has registered 107 isolated tribes in Latin America’s largest nation till date. Funai does take photos and videos sometimes, but it has steered clear of making contact with the tribes for over 30 years now. The FUNAI team has found evidence of handmade tools and other equipment on research expeditions. Examples include stone axes and wooden river boats carved from hollowed trees.

Photo: horn made of bark - Collection / Funai / 201

Photo: horn made of bark – Collection / Funai / 2018



Photo: Excavated canoes in Paxiuba (Palmeira) – Acervo / Funai / 2017

Mining reserves – and plentiful fish – mean Brazil’s Javari Valley is increasingly at risk from armed poachers seeking to plunder its resources. A natural bounty of anacondas and alligators lurk in Javari’s rivers; snakes, jaguars and scorpions roam its forests; monkeys screech in its trees in this lush tangled beauty form this Amazonian belt. Researchers have identified the tribe, in the past. The Korubo live a few hours into the reserve, in the riverside village of Vuku Maë.  They live naked, smeared in the red juice of urucum seeds or wearing scraps of clothing, they sit on logs under a thatched roof as children and tiny pet monkeys scamper around.

Over the years illegal gold mining dredgers have been polluting rivers with mercury in its eastern regions and the southern side has witnessed encroachment by cattle farmers. Narcotics flow down the Solimões River near its northern borders. There is a possibility that drones could help effectively monitor these incursions and assist the FUNAI team and government agencies in protecting the indigenous tribes.


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Cite this article as: Vidi Nene, "Uncontacted Amazonian Indians Spotted by Drone," in, August 24, 2018,

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