Mashco-Piro Rainforest Tribe Makes Rare, Tense Contact (Video)

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 12:19 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Members of the isolated Mashco-Piro tribe in the Peruvian rainforest made rare contact with another local clan in June to ask for bananas, rope, and machetes, and now video footage of the tense exchange has surfaced.

The Mashco-Piro tribe, which has lived in voluntary isolation for more than two decades, reached out to another remote community in Peru's southeastern Amazon over the course of three days in June.

According to IBTimes UK, more than 100 Mashco-Piro men and women appeared on a Las Piedras riverbank, some armed with bows and arrows, and asked the Monte Salvado people for supplies, leading to a standoff.

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Officials speculate that the Mashco-Piro broke out of their usual isolation because they are becoming increasingly upset with illegal logging and drug smuggling in their territory.

"What's strange is that they came so close to the population of Monte Salvado. It could be they are upset by problems of others taking advantage of resources in their territories and for that reason were demanding objects and food of the population," Beatriz Huertas, an anthropologist who works with Peru's agency for indigenous affairs, told IBTimes UK.

Rangers at the settlement stopped the Mashco-Piro from crossing the river but directed the Monte Salvado people to send over some bananas. The tribes then dispersed, according to ranger Rommel Ponciano.

The incident marked just the second encounter the Mashco-Piro has had with the outside world in 20 years. The last sighting of the tribe was in May 2011, when members showed up on another riverbank.

The Mashco-Piro operate by their own social code, which can include kidnapping women and children from neighboring clans, Carlos Soria, a Lima professor and former head of Peru's park protection agency, told The Associated Press.

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