The Most Isolated Man on the Planet

In an isolated region of the Amazon rainforest (within the Brazilian state of Rondônia) the last surviving member of an uncontacted tribe lives. Alone. The Brazilian government has been reacting differently than they have in the past to the predicaments of indigenous peoples: they’re doing what they can to ensure his safety and well-being, even banning logging and other resource exploitation in a 31-square-mile area around him.

He’s an Indian, and Brazilian officials have concluded that he’s the last survivor of an uncontacted tribe. They first became aware of his existence nearly 15 years ago and for a decade launched numerous expeditions to track him, to ensure his safety, and to try to establish peaceful contact with him. In 2007, with ranching and logging closing in quickly on all sides, government officials declared a 31-square-mile area around him off-limits to trespassing and development.

It’s meant to be a safe zone. He’s still in there. Alone.

History offers few examples of people who can rival his solitude in terms of duration and degree. The one that comes closest is the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas”—an Indian woman first spotted by an otter hunter in 1853, completely alone on an island off the coast of California. Catholic priests who sent a boat to fetch her determined that she had been alone for as long as 18 years, the last survivor of her tribe. But the details of her survival were never really fleshed out. She died just weeks after being “rescued.”

The Most Isolated Man On the Planet [Slate]

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