According to Survival, Peru is to create two Amazonian reserves for the protection of uncontacted tribes , covering more than 2.5 million hectares. At least seven distinct groups of uncontacted tribes, including Matsés Indians, are known to be living in the areas comprising the new Yavari Tapiche and Yavari Mirin reserves in Peru’s NE Amazon state of Loreto.

The remote region has been under intense pressure from oil exploration, logging and a proposed road that could wreak devastation on the tribes. Those wishing to exploit the area’s natural resources have long denied the existence of tribes living in these forests, whose presence would obstruct their plans.

The reserves are crucial to the future survival of the uncontacted tribes, who face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance. Entire groups can be rapidly decimated.

However, the Peruvian government has not ruled out further oil exploration and has taken over two oil concessions inside the new Yavari Tapiche and Yavari Mirin Reserves. Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples, and the only organization fighting worldwide to stop the extermination of uncontacted tribes, has written to the government, along with thousands of supporters, calling for a total ban on all resource extraction in the reserves and for the two existing oil blocks to be canceled.

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