Rare footage: An uncontacted, indigenous man survives 22 years in the Amazon forest alone

Rare footage: An uncontacted, indigenous man survives 22 years in the Amazon forest alone

An uncontacted Amazon tribesman continues to live alone without any assistance from the outside world. Experts say he may be lonely, but he is the epitome of hope and resilience.

The only survivor of an Amazonian tribe, who had been left behind when land-hungry farmers slaughtered his tribe, was caught on camera after 22 years of living alone in the Amazonian rainforest, the Daily Mail reported.

The man has been nicknamed "the indigenous man in the hole" by FUNAI, a Brazilian organization that seeks to protect the rights and territories of indigenous tribes. He got his nickname from his practice of digging holes, which he does to trap animals and to conceal himself.

The native, estimated to be in his 50s, spends his time cutting down trees, hunting birds, monkeys, and forest pigs with his bow, and planting crops such as papaya, corn, manioc (cassava), and bananas around his hut. He sports nothing more than a loincloth.


He was first captured on camera back in 1998, and officials from FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) have kept tabs on him over the years by capturing his footages anonymously. They believed that he had been one of six members of a tribe that had been slaughtered in the 90s by marauding cattle ranchers.

The footage taken by the Brazilian government captured him chopping down a tree with an axe. The video sought to establish his presence in the area in order to secure protection for the swathes of rainforest in the state of Rondonia. This area is threatened by encroachers and farmers who are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.

The Amazon is believed to have nearly 113 uncontacted tribes, but experts have only managed to get a visual on 27 of these tribes in an attempt to track their movements.


These tribes face the risk of having their homes destroyed by farmers seeking more land to raise their cattle.

In a news release, FUNAI said, "In the 1980s, disorderly colonisation, the establishment of farms and illegal logging in [the Rondonia region] led to repeated attacks on the isolated indigenous peoples who had lived there until then, in a constant process of expulsion from their lands and death.

"After the last farmer attack in late 1995, the group that was probably already small – from reports, the local staff believed [it] to be six people – became one person. 

The guilty were never punished. Survivors of other attacks described how aggrandizing farmers shot them in the back.


Even though FUNAI does not make any attempt to contact any of these groups, it has surreptitiously kept tabs on "the indigenous man in the hole," ever since they first discovered his presence in the rainforest in the 90s.

The agency has lobbied to extend the area of his home in the rainforest to around 8,070 so that his way of life is not affected by encroachment from the modern world. In the 1990s, an indigenous reserve called Tanara was set up to protect his home. They left axes and machetes around for him to use, without letting him observe them.

One of FUNAI's local coordinators, Altair Algayer, said, "This man, unknown to us, even losing everything, like his people and a series of cultural practices, has proved that, even then, alone in the middle of the bush, it is possible to survive and resist allying with society."

A representative from research group Survival International, Fiona Watson, described the footage of the tribesman as "extraordinary," considering how his home is hemmed in by ranches on all sides. She said, "Funai has a duty to show that he is well and alive. The crucial thing is Funai has managed to keep his territory. The fact he is still alive gives you hope. He is the ultimate symbol, if you like."



Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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