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Paraguay: Uncontacted Tribe's Land Being Destroyed

Survival International Press Release

20 October 2008

Paraguay: Satellite Photos Show Doubling Destruction Of Uncontacted Tribe's Land

Satellite photos taken just a few days ago reveal how hundreds of hectares of forest belonging to Paraguay's last uncontacted Indians have been devastated in the last thirty days alone.

The photos show how a Brazilian company, Yaguarete Pora S.A., has destroyed a brand new patch of forest belonging to the Indians, called the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode, the last uncontacted people in South America outside the Amazon. Photos taken last month did not detect such activity.

The devastation of the Totobiegosode's forest is rapidly accelerating. The amount of land cleared is now more than double what it was in May this year, when earlier satellite photos were taken. It is being destroyed by Yaguarete Pora S.A. and another Brazilian company, River Plate S.A., mainly to graze cattle for beef.

The photos have caused outrage in Paraguay and led to a mass Indian plea to Paraguay's new president, the ex-bishop Fernando Lugo. In a statement to Lugo, the destruction of the Totobiegosode's land was denounced as a 'violation of (the Indians') cultural, environmental and territorial rights.'

The Totobiegosode live in sub-tropical forest known as 'the Chaco'. The number of uncontacted Indians, who are exceedingly vulnerable to any form of contact with outsiders, is not known.

Survival's director, Stephen Corry, said today, 'Just look at the sat photos! It's impossible not to see what is going on there - the flagrant destruction of the Totobiegosode's home, right 'before our eyes'. How can president Lugo ignore this?'

To view satellite photos taken from May to October this year visit http://www.survival-international.org/files/news/paraguay-deforest.jpg

Survival researcher Jonathan Mazower, who has met some of the contacted Totobiegosode, is available for interview.

ENDS

We help tribal peoples defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.

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