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An Amazing Amazonian!

The Amazonian rainforest – covering much of north-western Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other Latin American countries – is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. The forest is famed for its biodiversity, as it’s crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the Amazon. The forest is so dense that even sunlight doesn’t reach there, properly. Various wild animals also live in this rainforest. A few years back, some fishermen saw a semi-naked man in the forest who was cutting trees with an axe!

He turned out to be the last surviving member of his tribe who lives in this dense forest near the Rondônia Province of Brazil. The outer world knows the man – who is indigenous to Brazil and lives alone in the Amazon rainforest – as the ‘Man of the Hole’. The man – believed to be in his 50s – lives in a hut made of hay, wood and tree leaves inside the forest!

FUNAI (Fundação Nacional do Índio) – a Brazilian governmental protection agency for Indian interests and their culture – traced this man way back in 1996 and also released a video of him in an attempt to raise global awareness of the threats to the un-contacted peoples in the Latin American country. After the release of the video footage, the global community showed interest in the Man of the Hole. Later in 2009, a fisherman claimed that he saw an indigenous man – appeared to be in good health and holding an axe – in the jungle near Porto Velho.

An anthropologist, who wished to remain anonymous, has said that the indigenous people of Brazil were subjected to constant attacks by farmers and land-grabbers in 1970-80s. Although many indigenous people had perished during that period, some survived. The farmers attacked the indigenous people once again in 1995 and murdered them, leaving the Man of the Hole as the lone survivor!

The outer world didn’t see the person after 2009. However, the FUNAI officials claimed that they have many proofs – like footprints and animals killed by him with arrow and spear – for his survival.

Talking to the media, Regional Co-ordinator of FUNAI Altair Algayer recently said: “He hunts forest pigs, birds and monkeys with a bow and arrow and traps prey in hidden holes filled with sharpened staves of wood. He and his group were known for digging holes and his hammock is strung over one in his house.” He further said: “He is very well, hunting, maintaining some plantations of papaya, corn. He possesses a good health and a good physical shape, performing all those exercises.” According to Algayer, the Man of the Hole knows the use of hammer (made of stone and wood), nut-and-bolt and spear.

Experts are of the opinion that the man has been staying alone for the last 23-24 years! FUNAI members have tried to contact the Man of the Hole, but failed… as the person was not interested in meeting people from the outside world. Later, they left some match boxes, axes, food items and other gifts in the forest for him. “I understand his decision. It is his sign of resistance, and a little repudiation, hate, knowing the story he went through,” stressed Algayer.

Meanwhile, Fiona Watson – Director (Research and Advocacy) of Survival International, a non-profit group works to protect indigenous peoples – said it’s amazing that the man lives in the 8,070 hectares of protected forest alone and he is completely surrounded by ranches and farms.

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,” she added.

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