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Newly-released photos of uncontacted Amazon Indian tribe give us a glimpse of another world

Remarkable photographs taken from a plane flying over the Brazilian jungle give us a unique insight into the lives of one of the world's last uncontacted tribes.

Gleison Miranda / FUNAI / Survival via AFP - Getty Images

An undated handout picture released January 31, 2011 by Survival International of what they say are uncontacted Indians seen from a Brazilian government observation aircraft in the Brazilian Amazon forest, near the border with Peru. The Indians appear be to healthy and could be running from Peru due to a invasion of their lands by loggers.
UPDATE: Survival International has confirmed the date of the photographs as June 2010.

Gleison Miranda / FUNAI / Survival via AFP - Getty Images

This man, painted with annatto seed dye, is in the community's garden, surrounded by banana plants and annatto trees.

Gleison Miranda / FUNAI / Survival via AFP - Getty Images

Men painted with red and black vegetable dye watch the Brazilian government plane fly overhead

The pictures were taken by the Brazilian government's Indian Affairs Department and released by the NGO Survival International as part of an effort to protect the tribe. They say that the tribe's survival is in serious jeopardy due to an influx of illegal loggers that may have pushed them across the border from neighboring Peru.

The photos show large vegetable gardens where the tribe grow fruit and vegetables; manioc, maize, sweet potato, pumpkin, peanuts, papaya, and bananas can all be identified. They also plant cotton which is spun and woven for skirts. The men have cotton waist bands and some have small head dresses. The men carry bows and arrows for hunting.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said 'The illegal loggers will destroy this tribe. It's vital that the Peruvian government stop them before time runs out. The people in these photos are self-evidently healthy and thriving. What they need from us is their territory protected, so that they can make their own choices about their future.'

For more information on the uncontacted tribe, click here.


UPDATE: A number of readers have cast doubt on the veracity of the photographs - perhaps best summed up by this comment from allcarfan:

These are the same photos that were showed two years ago that were proven to be FAKE!!!

A set of photographs of the tribe were indeed published by msnbc.com and others in May 2008. However, the images above - which were made available to the media for the first time yesterday - are not the same photographs. A Survival International spokesperson has just confirmed to me that the images were taken in June 2010. For the sake of clarity and accuracy, I have therefore updated the title of this post to say Newly-released photos rather than New photos.

The controversy over the 2008 pictures was sparked by an article in The Observer headlined Secret of the "lost" tribe that wasn't. Later in 2008, Stephen Pritchard, that newspaper's readers' editor, wrote a follow-up piece in which he said the original article had misrepresented the situation.

We also published a follow-up article which detailed the hoax allegations and Survival International's response.

Survival International has a series of questions and answers about uncontacted tribes, which explains further their definition of 'uncontacted'.

You can view the 2008 pictures in this Nightly News report, which also dates from that year:

UPDATE 2: Film footage of the tribe has now been released. Click here to watch it.