Deep in the southeastern jungles of Peru, a stand-off has begun between illegal loggers and some of the world’s last wholly isolated indigenous groups. Around 400 native Amazonians, who traditionally have little to no contact with the outside world, have emerged to try to run the illegal loggers off the land. After four of the loggers were reportedly injured with arrows, others called for reinforcements and weapons, prompting the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and Tributaries to express fear of a “genocide” if the national government did not intervene soon. Around 8,000 Amazonians live in voluntary isolation in small groups in a national reserve in the Madre de Dios region, where they support themselves by hunting, gathering, and fishing. The reserve, which includes the largest remaining mahogany stand in Peru, is off limits to logging, but that hasn’t deterred illegal loggers, who work on commission for big timber companies.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.