Amazon Tribes Use Drones to Watch Over the Forest

The tribes are particularly keeping a look out for illegal deforestation.
Fabienne Lang

Visitors to the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe's section of the Amazon forest in Brazil may notice a surprising tool used by the locals: a drone. 

Working closely with NGOs, this Amazon tribe, among others, now use drones to watch over the rainforest to note areas where deforestation is occurring, among other illegal actions leading to the natural paradise's demise, per CNN.

These tribes depend on the forest as their source of food, homes, and medicine, and so as to save their home and their livelihood from disappearing, they are keeping a close aerial eye on matters. 


Clearing vegetation illegally

Nowadays, you won't only hear birdsong as you walk through the 7,000 square mile radius of the Amazon forest in Rondonia (where the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau live). You'll also likely hear the buzz of a drone overhead. 

Unfortunately, parts of the Amazon forest are burning, most of which is due to illegally-started fires created to burn away sections of trees. These cleared areas are they used for illegal crop farming or cattle ranching, per CNN.

Taking matters into their own hands, six different Amazonian tribes joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Kaninde Ethno-Environmental Defense Association, a Brazilian NGO, to learn how to operate drones

The plan is to map out hard-to-reach areas thanks to high-resolution images, videos, and maps, that have been subjected to illegal activities. These are then brought to local authorities. 

Currently, 19 drones costing roughly $2,000 each have been donated through the WWF-Kaninde project to 18 organizations focusing on the Amazon. 

Speaking with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, one of the local leaders working with these drones explained "Without a drone, that deforestation - which was already advanced - would still be unknown to us." 

"The technology today, for territorial monitoring, is very worthwhile," he added. 

These tribes depend on the forest surrounding them for their food, protection, and homes. Not only that, but without these forests, our planet's climate would drastically change, and thus our lives — even if we live miles and miles away. 

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