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article imageTribe faces extinction because of illegal logging Special

By Lynn Morris     Feb 15, 2011 in Environment
A Brazilian tribe faces extinction as its territory is being illegally deforested.
A report obtained by charity Survival International found that the nomadic Awá tribe live in three of the five most deforested areas in the Amazon.
The report, by Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department, said almost a third of a nomadic tribe’s territory has been illegally cut down. Hundreds of illegal settlers have moved into the forest and loggers have constructed roads across it.
According to Survival International, cattle ranchers are illegally occupying a part of Awá land where some uncontacted groups live. And in the past Awá have been killed by gunmen employed by the ranchers and there are fears the same might happen again.
Forest on Awá land is being illegally cleared by settlers  Brazil.
Forest on Awá land is being illegally cleared by settlers, Brazil.
© Fiona Watson/Survival courtesy of Survival International
Less than 100 Awá people remain uncontacted and for these people contact with outsiders could have devastating effects as they have little resistance to disease. There are a further 360 contacted people living in several communities.
Pire’i Ma’a, an Awá man, told Survival International: “The loggers are destroying all the land. This is Indian land. I am angry, very angry with the loggers, extremely angry. There is no game for me to hunt, and my children are hungry.”
The Awá of Tiracambu community  Brazil.
The Awá of Tiracambu community, Brazil.
© Fiona Watson/Survival courtesy of Survival International
Life is becoming more difficult for the Awá people as they are forced to live in smaller areas.
Survival International says the Brazilian authorities are not doing enough to protect the Awá.
Sarah Shenker from Survival International said: "A Judge ruled in 2009 that all the invaders must be removed from the area. However, his ruling was overturned following appeals by ranchers, and more and more of the Awá's forest is being cut down. Survival is calling on the authorities to reinstate the Judge's ruling, to remove all invaders from the Awá's land, and to put in place an effective system to monitor the area and prevent any further invasions from happening."
The impacts of deforestation on the Awá will be highlighted in the programme ‘The Chinese are Coming’ on UK television today at 9pm on BBC2.
A young Awá girl from Juriti eats papaya  Brazil.
A young Awá girl from Juriti eats papaya, Brazil.
© Sarah Shenker/Survival courtesy of Survival International
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