Members of Mashco-Piro, one of the most isolated indigenous tribes in the world, made a brief and rare appearance when they emerged from Peru's Amazon jungle recently to ask for food.
More than 100 members of the tribe came out of the jungle near the remote community of Monte Salvado, with only the Las Piedras river separating them. The three-day encounter between the villagers and the tribe members started on June 24, but video of the encounter was only released on Tuesday.
During the intense meeting, the tribe asked the local Yine people for bananas, rope and machetes, but rangers from the regional Fenamad indigenous federation persuaded them not to cross the river. Klaus Quicque, president of the federation, said he directed them to a banana patch located on their side of the river.
While authorities are unsure of what initially provoked the rarely seen tribe to make an appearance in the village, they said it could be because the members are upset about illegal logging on their land and drug smugglers who pass through their territory, as well as oil and gas exploration that affects the region.
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"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," said anthropologist Beatriz Hertas, agreeing with authorities.
The Peruvian government forbids direct contact with the Mashco-Piro tribe since it is thought that its population's immune systems would not be able to fight off the type of germs that other Peruvians carry.
The tribe, numbered in the hundreds and divided into several different clans, is known to live by its own social code, including kidnapping women and children from other tribes.
While they can sometimes be seen migrating through the jungle during the dry season, the Mashco-Piro's appearance so close to the river village was described as strange and is still unexplained. After their third day on the riverbed, the members left and have not returned.