Help us support the Kayapo tribe in their fight against deforestation
What’s happening in the Amazon?
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level in more than a decade. Illegal logging, ranching, gold mining and the construction of dams are all contributing to the rapid destruction of the most diverse ecosystem on the planet.
Not only is this a travesty for the Amazon’s three million species of plants and animals, but it’s also bad news for the environment. The Amazon is one of the Earth’s most crucial carbon sinks, helping to lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and slow down global warming.
While the Brazilian government is encouraging the destruction of the rainforest for profit, charities across the world are stepping up to battle the illegal activities that threaten the Amazon. And now we, as fly fishers, have the chance to help protect one of the rainforest’s largest and most important areas.
Fly fishing in the Iriri River
The Amazon is home to one million indigenous people. Amongst these is the Kayapo tribe, who govern over 11 million hectares of pristine Neotropical forests and scrubland – through which the crystal clear waters of the Iriri River flows.
In 2015, Untamed Angling launched the Kendjam project – a long-term environmental and social initiative that helps anglers access the remote Kendjam community and explore the delights of the Iriri River. By working directly with the Kayapo people, Untamed Angling gives fly anglers the chance to fish this natural wonder in a respectful, sustainable way.
Sadly, like much of the rainforest, the Kayapo people’s land is under constant threat from development. One of the most recent threats to their land was the construction of the Belo Monte Dam, which displaced over 20,000 indigenous people. Rejecting the company’s $9 million funding proposal, the Kayapo outlined their fight in a letter signed by the tribe's leaders:
“We, the Kayapo people, have decided that we do not want a single penny of your dirty money. We do not accept Belo Monte or any other dam on the Xingu. Our river does not have a price, our fish that we eat do not have a price, and the happiness of our grandchildren does not have a price. We will never stop fighting. The Xingu is our home and your dams are not welcome here.”
Despite turning down the offer to sell their land, the dam went online in 2016. But the fight for the Kayapo’s land isn’t over.
How you can help
To protect their land from invasion, the Kayapo people are setting up guard posts in vulnerable locations on their border. As of 2019, there were seven guard parts in operation – but they need five more.
John Norris of Penrith has made a donation to the cause, and James Norris is running a marathon on the 27th June to raise money. Now, we’re calling on our fellow fly fishers to help us raise awareness and protect the rich biodiversity of the Kayapo’s land. Whether it’s making a donation or simply sharing this post, together we can help safeguard the future of the rainforest.
You can learn more about the Kayapo project and offer your support here.