Members of Brazil’s Mura indigenous tribe painted their bodies with orange-red paint and took up long bows and clubs as they headed into the jungle this week, prepared for battle. Their enemy? The deforestation and destruction of their home, the Amazon rain-forest.
There are more than 18,000 Mura that live in Amazonas state, the largest and best-preserved state in Brazil’s Amazon rain-forest, according to data compiled by the non-government organization Instituto Socioambiental.
Members of the tribe showed Reuters an area the size of several football fields near their village, where the forest had been cleared away, leaving a broad dirt hole in the ground pockmarked by the treads of heavy machinery.
“With each passing day, we see the destruction advance: deforestation, invasion, logging,” said Handerch Wakana Mura, one of several leaders of a tribal clan of more than 60 people.
“We are sad because the forest is dying at every moment. We feel the climate changing and the world needs the forest.”
Indeed, Amazon deforestation has surged 67% in the first seven months of the year from the same period a year ago, according to Brazil space research agency INPE.