Amazon Indians from one of the world's last uncontacted tribes have been photographed from the air with striking images showing them painted bright red and brandishing bows and arrows.
The photos were taken during several flights over one of the remotest parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Acre state.
‘We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,’ said uncontacted tribes expert José Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Júnior. Mr Meirelles works for FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department.
‘This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.’
Mr Meirelles says that the group's numbers are increasing, but other uncontacted groups in the region, whose homes have been photographed from the air, are in severe danger from illegal logging in Peru.
Logging is driving uncontacted tribes over the border and could lead to conflict with the estimated 500 uncontacted Indians already living on the Brazilian side.
‘What is happening in this region (of Peru) is a monumental crime against the natural world, the tribes, the fauna and is further testimony to the complete irrationality with which we, the ‘civilised’ ones, treat the world,’ said Mr Meirelles.
One of the pictures shows two Indian men covered in bright red pigment poised to fire arrows at the aircraft while another Indian looks on.
Another photo (below) shows about 15 Indians near thatched huts, some of them also preparing to fire arrows at the aircraft.
Of more than 100 uncontacted tribes worldwide, more than half live in either Brazil or Peru, according to the UK NGO Survival International.
SI has launched an urgent campaign to get their land protected including a unique film narrated by actress Julie Christie.