The photographer who recently captured incredible aerial images of an isolated tribe in a remote region of Brazil has explained the story behind the remarkable pictures.
Offering a rare glimpse into the life of a tribespeople living deep in the rainforest, the photos have generated plenty of buzz after their publication last month. The photos were taken in western Brazilian state of Acre, which is covered by the Amazon rainforest.
Brazilian photographer Ricardo Stuckert told FoxNews.com that he was flying in a helicopter to visit and photograph tribes near Brazil’s border with Peru, when thunderstorms forced the pilot to make a detour. “Suddenly we found ourselves flying directly over several thatched roofs carved into a very dense jungle,” he explained, via email, adding that he was surprised to suddenly see the Indians below.
“Things happened so fast,” he said, explaining that he used a Canon camera to capture the remarkable images. “Because of our decision not to be seen as a threat, we decided to fly at high altitude and to take pictures using a very powerful lens (800 mm).”
The images show the tribespeople responding to the surprise visitors with apparent alarm and preparing to shoot arrows at the helicopter. A thatched house called a ‘Maloca’ was also captured on camera.
“These pictures show that it's possible to live in perfect harmony with nature,” said Stuckert. “They use ancient methods to cultivate land, fish, and hunt. They remind us of how we lived thousands of years ago.”
The photographer was accompanied on the Dec. 18 helicopter flight by indigenous tribes expert José Carlos Meirelles, who told National Geographic that the tribe looked well fed and healthy. Meirelles also described the barrage of arrows fired by the indians as a healthy sign. “They’re messages,” he told National Geographic. “Those arrows mean 'Leave us in peace. Do not disturb’.”
Despite their initial fear, however, the tribespeople reportedly responded with curiosity when the helicopter returned for another flyover a few hours later.
Images of the same tribe garnered widespread attention when they were released by FUNAI, the Brazilian government Indian Affairs department, in 2008, National Geographic reports.
While the state of Acre protects its rainforests and the tribespeople that live in them, illegal loggers, gold prospectors and drug traffickers are said to pose dangers to indigenous people living on Brazil’s remote border with Peru. Disease is another major risk. “They are very sensitive to non-indigenous diseases and therefore, any direct contact with outsiders would certainly be fatal,” said Stuckert.
Aerial images released in November offered a rare glimpse of another isolated tribe in Brazil. The photos revealed a village in northern Brazil’s remote Yanomami indigenous territory that is estimated to be home to around 100 people. However, experts warned that the tribe, which lives close to Brazil’s border with Venezuela, could be in danger of being wiped out.
The Brazilian government recently told FoxNews.com that it is using satellite technology and aerial imagery to monitor and help protect isolated Amazonian tribes.
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