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Brazilian Cattlemen Chase Out Indians of Paraguay

18 November 2008

BRAZIL - On the Paraguayan side of the border between Brazil and Paraguay, the last uncontacted Indians in South America outside the Amazon basin are fleeing their jungle home as it is destroyed by Brazilian cattle ranchers.

The Indians are members of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe, who live in the dense forests of western Paraguay.

The forest where the Indians live is now being destroyed by Brazilian cattle raisers at a faster rate than the Amazon, reported BrazzilMagazine this week. The news agency said that the area is being illegally bulldozed to open up the land for cattle ranching.

"It's likely that the presence of bulldozers on their land is forcing the Indians into other areas, east of the zone being deforested," Jorge Vera of the NGO GAT (Gente, Ambiente y Territorio), an acronym in Spanish for People, Ambiente and Territory, a local support organization for the Indians, told the magazine.

The Totobiegosode have lost 6,000 hectares of their land this year alone to companies wanting to graze cattle for beef. Since May the amount of their land destroyed has almost tripled. The companies destroying the Totobiegosode's land are both Brazilian: Yaguarete Porá SA and River Plate SA.

BrazzilMagazine says that besides the terrifying impact of the destruction of their home by bulldozers, any contact between company workers and the Totobiegosode could easily result in deaths on either side. Many Ayoreo have died in previous encounters.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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