Sole survivor of Amazon tribe is most isolated man on Earth

He’s the last of his kind.

Nobody knows his name, nobody knows his tribe’s name, and nobody knows what happened to the rest of his people. The last man of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon is now being protected from the outside world by the Brazilian government.

Officials have created a 31 square-mile exclusion zone in his patch of rain forest to keep out loggers, something local logging companies aren’t too happy about. In fact, nobody is allowed inside.

Isolated tribes have always fascinated outsiders. Early explorers tracked them down to photograph them, like this Amazonian tribesman photographed in the 1922 publication People of all Nations. Anthropologists have tried to contact the sole survivor of the unknown tribe for 15 years now, but he’s always shied away. Once an agent got too close and received an arrow in his chest.

A report by Slate says he’s the most isolated man on Earth. His patch of rain forest is now an island amid ranching and logging areas, a potent symbol of what’s happening to isolated tribes all around the world. Tribes that have little or no contact with outsiders are highly susceptible to disease and exploitation and there’s a growing movement to help them. For example, there’s an ongoing controversy in the Andaman Islands over a resort built near the Jarawa tribe. The government wants to close it in order to take pressure off this tribe of only 320 people.

Grim evidence suggests what may have happened to the unknown Amazonian’s people. He is known to build a distinctive style of hut, and a village of identical huts was found in the rain forest–run over by a bulldozer.

A flyover of another uncontacted tribe two years ago resulted in some dramatic photos showing the startled tribesmen shooting arrows at the airplane. While the media made a big hype about how they had probably never seen planes before, that seems unlikely. They’re simply protecting their territory from an outside world they perceive as dangerous and hostile. In other words, they want to be left alone.

Resort may close to save local tribe

The Indian government is considering closing a resort on one of the Andaman islands in order to save a formerly remote tribe from extinction.

The resort, run by Barefoot India, is near the forest home of the Jarawa tribe. This group lived almost entirely isolated from the rest of the world until the 1970s, when road construction and immigration from the mainland began. The Jarawa kept clear of the newcomers until the 1990s, when they began to interact with tourists and settlers.

Foreign diseases such as measles have hit the tribe, and groups such as Survival International are worried their unique culture may die out or even the entire tribe may become extinct. Only about 320 Jarawa are left.

Numerous tour operators take visitors along the Andaman Trunk Road and visit the tribespeople, even though this is forbidden by law. Poachers often trespass on Jarawa lands.

In an attempt to protect the tribe, a buffer zone was created around their reservation and the resort was closed down. Barefoot India has appealed the ruling and now India’s Supreme Court is weighing the matter.%Gallery-78607%