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Isolated tribe ventures out of threatened Peru forests

Handout picture released by the Culture Ministry of Peru shows members of the Mashco-Piro ethnic group carrying food donated by Peruvian authorities, across a river of the southern region of Madre de Dios, in October 2014Dressed in loincloths and speaking an unknown language, the Mashco-Piro, one of the last isolated peoples on Earth, are increasingly venturing out of their forests in Peru — to the government’s distress. Authorities say encroachments on the Amazon rainforest by illegal loggers may be forcing the Mashco-Piro, a tribe of hunter-gatherers, into some of their first recorded contacts with the outside world. Often the meetings seem friendly enough: Residents of the surrounding area give the Mashco-Piro food, and tourists give them clothing. In December, Peruvian authorities evacuated two small villages after some 200 Mashco-Piro attacked them with bows and arrows, killing residents’ livestock and pets and carting off food, pots, pans, machetes and rope.

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