Peru: park rangers in incident with “uncontacted” indigenous band

Peru’s National Protected Areas Service (SERNANP) is calling upon residents in Madre de Dios region to avoid contact with indigenous rainforest dwellers in “voluntary isolation”—often refered to as “uncontacted”—after a confrontation with one such band on the Río Yanayacu in Manu national park on Oct. 14. SERNANP secretary general Carlos Soria Dall’Orso said a group of park rangers was on patrol in an outboard motor boat when they spotted the band of some 20—men, women, children and elders—walking on the riverbank. A released video taken from the boat show the band slowly reacting to the rangers’ presence, eventually throwing stones at them, and then firing one arrow—at which point the boat speeds off and the video abruptly ends. One ranger was lightly injured—but the band was clearly just trying to scare the rangers off, as the fired arrow had no point. The band is believed to belong to the Mashcopiro people, a sub-group of the Matsiguenga. SERNANP expressed concern for the health and well-being of the isolated bands if they are contacted by outsiders, and noted an incident in May in which one such band was photographed from a boat by park visitors. (RPP, Oct. 17; El Comercio, May 25)

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