Massive illegal forest clearance threatens Ayoreo-Totobiegosode

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The Ayoreo have discovered ranch workers illegally camped in their forest as they clear and bulldoze the forest. © GAT/ Survival - re-published with permission
The Ayoreo have discovered ranch workers illegally camped in their forest as they clear and bulldoze the forest. © GAT/ Survival - re-published with permission
The Ayoreo have discovered ranch workers illegally camped in their forest as they clear and bulldoze the forest. © GAT/ Survival - re-published with permission
The Ayoreo have discovered ranch workers illegally camped in their forest as they clear and bulldoze the forest.
© GAT/ Survival – re-published with permission

The last uncontacted Indians outside Amazonia are running out of forest to hide in, say campaigners, as alarming new photos reveal rampant, illegal destruction of their territory.

Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians, whose uncontacted relatives are hiding in the last patches of forest in western Paraguay, have watched helplessly as cattle-ranching firms illegally invade their territory and raze the forest.

The Paraguayan government has ignored their pleas to intervene.

Satellite photos show that two firms, Yaguarete Porá S.A. and Itapoti S.A., are defying national and international laws in a race to clear as much forest as possible. Yaguarete is owned by Brazilian rancher Marcelo Bastos Ferraz, who earlier this year rebuffed a Totobiegosode appeal to stop destroying their forest.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is investigating the Ayoreo’s plight, and recently met government ministers to question them on why the Totobiegosode’s land claim, submitted in 1993, has still not been resolved.

Western Paraguay, until recently covered in forest, now has the highest deforestation rate in the world.

Survival International Director Stephen Corry states, “The uncontacted Ayoreo-Totobiegosode face catastrophe unless their land is protected. They are one of the most vulnerable societies on the planet. It’s shameful that the Paraguayan authorities are simply letting these ranchers carry on clearing the forest, knowing that this is the Totobiegosode’s last refuge. Unless public opinion forces them to act, the Indians have no future.”

The Ayoreo have recently discovered miles of cattle fences illegally built in their territory – in Paraguay, this is always the first step to clearing the forest. © GAT/ Survival
The Ayoreo have recently discovered miles of cattle fences illegally built in their territory – in Paraguay, this is always the first step to clearing the forest. © GAT/ Survival

Act now to help the Ayoreo

  • Write a letter to Yaguarete Pora S.A. asking that it stops illegally destroying the Ayoreo’s forest.
    Write a letter to Grupo San Jose asking it to hand back the Ayoreo’s land to its rightful owners.
    Donate to the Ayoreo campaign (and other Survival campaigns).
    Write a letter to your MP or MEP (UK).
    Write to the President, your senators, congressmen or other elected officials (US).
    Write to your local Paraguayan embassy (you can find their address through embassiesabroad.com)
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