Brazilian Army Defends Native Tribe in Protecting Land, Stopping Logging

In an effort to protect an endangered indigenous tribe, the Brazilian Army has intervened in areas of illegal logging.

The Amazon rainforest holds an incredible degree of diversity in terms of flora and fauna.  Ten percent of the worlds' plants and animals live in the rainforest that covers Brazil and other parts of Latin America.  The Amazon also holds a large number of indigenous tribes, with most of them only now slowly integrating with the rest of human society.  One particular tribe, the Awá tribe, have gained distinction as an endangered tribe due to their areas being constantly invaded by loggers, cutting down trees illegally for timber and to clearing forest land for farming.  Their numbers are now down to under 400 people as a result of the logging actions, which has already taken 30% of their tribal range.

Now, after a sustained campaign by non-profit organization Survival International, the Brazilian government has stepped in a very provocative way.  The Brazilian army has been mobilized and sent into the areas where the Awá tribe range, with the purpose of breaking up illegal logging operations in the area.  Tanks, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters have been sent into the area to target saw mills and other related operations, and detain loggers working in the Awá area.

Since the start of the military operation at the end of June 2013, the Brazilian Army have managed to close at least eight saw mills, with other equipment destroyed.  The Army has yet to move into the Awá lands themselves, where loggers are now considered active.  The tribe have requested assistance in removing the illegal loggers, and it remains to be seen if and when the Army will begin a more direct intervention.  Still, this is likely the first significant instance where the military proceeded to protect an indigenous tribe, and has shown how far we have progressed in the last century.