Canoes built by an unknown tribe in Brazil (left) and a hut constructed by that same tribe (right)
Photo: Funai

A Brazilian government agency has captured the first footage of an extremely isolated tribe in the country’s rainforests by using a drone. The tribe is believed to be one of at least 11 in the region that haven’t made any contact with the outside world.

Still photos were published on the organization’s website and drone footage was posted to YouTube earlier this week. The photos were captured by workers associated with the National Indian Foundation, otherwise known as Funai, who drove about 100 miles and hiked roughly 75 more miles through dense rainforest to find the tribe near Brazil’s border with Peru.

As the New York Times notes, the tribes are threatened by outsider farmers and hunters who move into the land and deplete the indigenous group’s resources. The agency traveled with police and found two illegal hunting teams in the area.

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Funai monitors Brazilian tribes in an effort to protect them from the outside world. One man, referred to as “the Hole Indian” by Brazilian media and believed to be the last survivor of his tribe, has been monitored by Funai since 1996. The man’s family was killed by six local farmers in 1995, and Funai released footage filmed in 2011 this summer to help prove he was still alive.

“[Funai] is the only government department in the world which is dedicated to the protection of indigenous peoples who have little or no contact with national society and other tribes,” the group Survival International claims on its website.

The groups advocates for indigenous rights around the world and believes that there are at least 100 tribes globally that have never been contacted by outsiders.

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[New York Times]