Around the world, only about 100 small tribal groups continue to live as they have always done, in harmony with the natural world, and of those at least 15 are known to inhabit the forests of Peru.
There are regular reports in the European and North American press condemning so-called “human safaris”, such as the controversial behavior of tour companies and tourists in the Andaman Islands of India, home to a culture that is believed to have coexisted with nature for at least thirty thousand years. And of course with the change of government in Brazil this year it seems certain that the Amazon basin and its indigenous inhabitants will be faced with growing threats, in the form of accelerating land invasion, colonization and deforestation.
In recent years, concerns have been raised in Peru, with FENAMAD (the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios and its Tributaries) reporting that tour companies have been guilty of taking tourists to areas where sightings of some of Peru’s uncontacted tribal groups have been made by colonists, illegal loggers, government officials, and environmental NGOs. Uncontacted peoples are groups who live in isolation by choice or due to circumstance, without significant contact with modern society.
Over the past two years, there has been a rise in reported sightings of uncontacted peoples in the tropical forests that can be accessed from Cusco, including the Madre de Dios region, where the Tambopata Ecolodge operates.
However, this increase should not be taken as good news. New sightings do not indicate that these peoples and their ancient ways are flourishing. Instead, they tell us that more and more people from our modern world are encroaching upon remote parts of the forest that had previously been left untouched; places where people have lived for hundreds –perhaps thousands- of years, in complete harmony with the natural world, untouched by modernity.
As a company, Tambopata Ecolodge rejects the exploitation of native groups in the forests of the Amazon basin. For us, tourism to the most biologically diverse and pristine natural environment left on Earth is a means of preserving that environment for the benefit of the flora, fauna and peoples indigenous to South America’s tropical and subtropical forests.
We encourage travelers to come from all over the world to marvel at Peru’s surviving intact forests, and to help us ensure that they will be around for future generations to enjoy. But we also take great care to ensure that our activities have a minimal negative impact upon the Amazon forests we are working to protect, while at the same time providing our visitors with an unforgettable rainforest experience.