INVESTIGATE TOURIST COMPANIES EXPLOITING 'ISOLATED' INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

That’s one of several urgent requests made by indigenous organisation FENAMAD after spotting five ‘Mashco-Piro' people in Peru's Amazon. The ‘Mashco-Piro’, as FENAMAD and others call them, live in what Peruvian law calls ‘isolation’ without regular, sustained contact with other people. Although they are sometimes seen along various rivers in south-east Peru, particularly in the dry season, one group has based itself in the upper River Madre de Dios region since early-to-mid 2011 and sightings have become common. ‘In 2011 they looked healthy,’ said FENAMAD’s president, Klaus Quicque Bolívar, two days ago. ‘That’s different now – they look ill and malnourished.’ FENAMAD is particularly concerned the ‘Mashco-Piro’s’ ‘territorial space’ isn't being respected, that contact could spark illness, epidemics and fatalities, and that tourist firms are 'treating them as objects of attraction' and ‘exposing them to contagious illnesses.’

David Hill