Brazil's Indigenous People Turn To Drones To Protect Amazon
Pedro Agamenon is worried about the land of his indigenous Arara people in the Amazon. Deforestation and fires are endangering large swathes of the Amazon rainforest. Agriculture is encroaching fast, Martina Farmbauer reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Photo Insert: The aim of the course is for the indigenous people themselves to be able to record intruders and environmental crimes.
"Our people have often allowed invaders to conquer their land," says Agamenon, who is a cacique, or chief. "But the territory we live in today, we preserve." The Arara have now started using aerial drones to monitor and protect the land, thanks to a course offered by an NGO.
Agamenon came some 400 kilometers from the indigenous territory of Igarape Lourdes to the city of Porto Velho to see how members of the Arara and other ethnic groups are learning about using drones. The course is offered by the Kaninde Association which represents the concerns of indigenous people and acts to protect the rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon.
The three-day course, taught in Portuguese, is offered with the backing of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF.) The 15 participants, who all come from different indigenous groups, will spend eight hours a day learning how to use drones to take measurements, evaluate images and monitor their territory themselves.
"The aim of the course is for the indigenous people themselves to be able to record intruders and environmental crimes such as illegal gold prospecting, deforestation, and fires," says Kaninde coordinator of Israel Valle, the area in the south of the Amazon which is under particular threat from deforestation and fires.
Ane Alencar, scientific director of the Environmental Research Institute of Amazonia (IPAM), saw evidence of land grabbing during a recent flyover, with public land occupied for grazing cattle and agriculture. Critics say Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is creating a climate that encourages such incursions.