Unveiling Clandestine Threats to Indigenous Communities: The Kakataibo Reserve Story

Confirmation of Secret Tracks and Illegal Crops in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru through Photographs

In March 2024, a photograph was taken during an overflight that revealed a clandestine landing strip in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve. Located in Peru, this reserve is intended for indigenous people in isolation and initial contact. The image showed a furrow cutting through the dense green mantle of the Amazon forest, exposing a wide line of land in the middle of the territory. The reserve is situated between the regions of Loreto, Ucayali, and Huánuco.

During the flight, satellite images from May 2023 were also viewed that showed evidence of clandestine landing strips, unauthorized forest roads, and deforestation in and around the reserve. This prompted indigenous organizations to request precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the Kakataibo people’s rights.

The flight was organized by Aidesep and included representatives from Mincul with Fenacoka participating as well. The purpose of the flight was to verify the extent of illegal activities within the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve, which was only categorized in 2021.

Subsequent flyovers and field photographs captured the extent of illegal activities within the reserve. Deforestation was found along with coca leaf crops and even possible camps. Indigenous leaders expressed disappointment with Peru’s lack of action to address threats facing their communities despite repeated requests for action.

The ongoing encroachment on indigenous territories poses a significant threat to isolated communities like those in Kakataibo Reserve. Despite concrete measures being needed to protect these vulnerable populations, Peru has yet to take meaningful steps towards safeguarding their rights. This issue extends beyond Kakataibo Reserve as it reflects larger problems threatening isolated indigenous communities across Peru’s Amazon region where drug trafficking continues to put lives and livelihoods at risk without sufficient protection measures being implemented by authorities.

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