Society

Ka'apor Tribe Warriors Fight Against Illegal Loggers in Amazon

| by Amanda Schallert

To preserve the Amazon and their way of life, the Ka’apor people in Brazil have begun tracking down and fighting back against illegal loggers, who have threatened the well-being of the forest for a long time.

“Our forest was being taken away from us, but we woke up,” said Ka’apor leader Irakadju. 

Because the government has failed to help fend off the illegal loggers, warriors from the Ka’apor tribe -- who depend on the forest and are its legal inhabitants with four other tribes -- have started to proactively drive away the men invading their territory, according to Reuters photographer Lunae Parracho (who reported on the story) and the Wall Street Journal. Tribes in the area have also been attacked and harmed by loggers in the past.

“We got tired of waiting for the government,” Irakadju said.

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The tribe members have set up camps in places where loggers come to destroy the forest. When they catch loggers, they take away their weapons and burn their logging vehicles to set back their work. They also sometimes tie up the loggers and strip them to prove a point.

Parracho reported that he travelled with Ka’apor warriors for a time. Once, when tribe members had trapped some loggers, they talked to them to make their point clear.

“We’re doing this because you are stubborn,” a warrior said. “We told you not to come back, but you didn’t listen.”

Though the Ka’apor people have made some progress fighting off loggers, it is unclear what the consequences of their actions will be and whether they will start to see counter attacks from loggers and neighboring towns.

Still, tribe members are committed to saving the Amazon because they depend on its resources for their daily lives.

“What good is money if our children won’t have a forest to live in?” Irakadju said.

Source: Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Image Credit: Lunae Parracho