The man was filmed by a government team in 2018, appearing to chop into a tree.
Man who lived in isolation for 26 years was the last living member of his tribe in Brazil
He was known as the ‘Man of the Hole’ because he would construct holes inside huts
The last of his people, a Brazilian indigenous man known only as the “Man of the Hole” has been found dead, decades after the rest of his uncontacted tribe were killed off by ranchers and illegal miners, officials said.
Having lived in complete isolation for 26 years, the man – whose real name was never known to the outside world – was found in a hammock in a hut in the Tanaru indigenous territory in Rondonia state on the border with Bolivia on August 23, Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) said in a statement.
Since losing everyone he knew, the man had refused all contact with the outside world and supported himself by hunting and raising crops. His nickname derived from his habit of digging deep holes inside the huts he built, possibly to trap animals in but also to hide inside.
He lived in an indigenous territory surrounded by vast cattle ranches and under constant threat from illegal miners and loggers in one of the most dangerous parts of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, according to Survival International.
Authorities did not comment on the cause of the man’s death, nor his age, which wasn’t known, but said “there were no signs of violence or struggle”.
“With his death, the genocide of this indigenous people is complete,” said Fiona Watson, Survival’s director of investigation, who visited the Tanaru territory in 2004.
The man was believed to have been alone since the remaining members of his small tribe were killed in the mid-1990s by illegal loggers and miners seeking to exploit the tribal area.They also found no evidence of the presence of anyone else in his home or around it.
More than half live in the Amazon and many of those are under threat from illegal exploitation of natural resources that they rely on 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, Amazon deforestation reached a record level in the first half of 2022.