An indigenous tribe in Peru emerged from its voluntary isolation for the second time since 2011 to ask for food, local activists said.
Members of the Mashco-Piro tribe made contact with the outside world in Peru’s southeastern Amazon in late June. The three-day encounter may have been provoked by illegal logging in their protected territory and drug smugglers who sometimes pass through the region, the Associated Press reported.
"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," Anthropologist Beatriz Huertas, who works with Peru's agency for indigenous affairs, said.
More than 100 Mashco-Piro tribe members appeared across the Las Piedras river from the remote community of Monte Salvado between June 24-26. They asked for bananas, ropes and machetes. The encounter was captured on camera where Mashco-Piro don lances, bows and arrows.
The footage was released by local rainforest campaign group AIDESEP and the Fenamad federation for indigenous rights.
"There is a canoe sent by another remote indigenous community, which does not live in isolation, to send them food," Saul Puerta Pena, director of AIDESEP, told the BBC. "But the tribe cannot come into contact with the remote community still because any illness could kill them."
In 2011, the Peruvian government released video footage of the tribe along a riverbank in the Amazon.
The video, taken by travelers, shows a small number of Mashco-Piro tribesman brandishing bows and arrows, and one taking aim as the motorboat approaches. Officials say the sighting in the area of Manu National Park could have been sparked by the nomadic tribe’s search for food during the region’s dry season. They often look for turtle eggs in nests along sandy beaches in the western Amazon, National Geographic reported.
Earlier that year, photos of the tribe were captured by Brazil’s Indian Affairs Department, which showed a healthy community living on the border with Peru.
Peruvian officials warned against contact for both sides. Travelers are urged to not leave food, gifts or clothing, which can transmit illnesses that the indigenous tribes can’t fight off.
In November 2011, Nicolás “Shaco” Flores, a Matsiquenka Indian, was shot in the heart by an arrow by a Maschco-Piro tribe member after leaving food and gifts for a small group of of the tribe's members for 20 years, Anthropology News reported.
“Shaco’s death is a tragedy," Glenn Shepard, an anthropologist and friend said. "He was a kind, courageous and knowledgeable man. He believed he was helping the Mashco-Piro. And yet in this tragic incident, the Mashco-Piro have once again expressed their adamant desire to be left alone.”