New photos have emerged of a tribe deep in the Amazon that shuns contact with the modern world, and the photos bring a mix of good and bad news. On the hopeful side, the aerial images show that the small Yanomami community near the border of Brazil and Venezuela seems to be growing: A member of the advocate group Survival International tells the Guardian that the tribe's large communal structure has two more thatched panels than in previous years, suggesting additional families. But the bad news is that illegal gold miners are creeping closer to the community, a development that threatens its very existence given the risk of clashes or the spread of disease. One miners' camp is now only about 20 miles away, and activists are calling on the Brazilian government to crack down before it's too late, reports Fusion.
"The place where the uncontacted Indians live, fish, hunt, and plant must be protected,” says Davi Kopenawa, an activist who belongs to another Yanomami group. Some of the Yanomami groups have contact with outsiders, but a handful don't, including the one in the new images, which has about 100 people. All the tribes live in the Yanomami indigenous territory, which is protected land, but activists say budget cuts in Brazil have allowed miners to encroach unimpeded. "They are like termites," says Kopenawa, per Survival International. "They keep coming back." The newly photographed community, called the Yanomami-Moxihatetema, has a large hunting range, making a potentially dangerous encounter with miners increasingly likely, says another Survival International researcher. (This American tracked down his mother living among a similar Amazon tribe.)