Man of the Hole had lived in isolation for 26 years after other members of his tribe were murdered by illegal loggers and miners.
The last of his people, a Brazilian native known only as “the man of the hole,” has been found dead decades after the rest of his uncontacted tribe was murdered by ranchers and illegal miners, officials said.
The man — whose real name was never known to the outside world — was found on Aug. 23 in a hammock in a hut in the Tanaru indigenous area of Rondonia state on the border with Bolivia, Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) said in a statement. declaration. . He had lived in complete isolation for 26 years.
Since losing everyone he knew, the man had refused all contact with the outside world, earning his living by hunting and growing crops. He got his nickname from his habit of digging deep holes in the huts he built, possibly to catch animals but also to hide in them.
According to Survival International, he lived in an indigenous area surrounded by sprawling cattle ranches and under constant threat from illegal miners and loggers in one of the most dangerous parts of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
Authorities in Brazil did not comment on the man’s cause of death or his age, but said “there were no signs of violence or fighting”.
They also found no evidence of anyone else’s presence in his home or around it.
“Everything indicates that the death was a natural death,” said FUNAI, a government agency under the Ministry of Justice that deals with indigenous affairs.
Local media reported that the man’s body was covered in macaw feathers, leading an expert to speculate that he knew he was about to die.
The man is said to have been alone since the remaining members of his small tribe were murdered in the mid-1990s by illegal loggers and miners attempting to exploit the tribal area.
According to human rights groups, the majority of the tribe had perished in the 1970s when farmers moved into the area, clearing the forest and attacking the inhabitants.
“With his death, the genocide of this indigenous people is complete,” said Fiona Watson, research director of Survival International, who visited the Tanaru area in 2004.
“It was truly genocide: the deliberate elimination of an entire nation by farmers hungry for land and wealth,” she added.
According to the latest government data, about 800,000 indigenous people belonging to more than 300 different groups live in Brazil, a country of 212 million inhabitants.
More than half live in the Amazon, and many of them are threatened by the illegal exploitation of natural resources on which they depend for their survival.
According to FUNAI, there are 114 records of isolated indigenous groups in Brazil, although that number varies.
Under Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, deforestation in the Amazon reached record levels in the first half of 2022.
The president, lagging behind in polls ahead of this year’s election, has encouraged mining and farming activities in protected areas, sparking anger among environmentalists.