On the eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes lies an area of pristine rainforest, stretching into the Amazon basin for hundreds of miles. It's called Manu National Park, and it's one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. But the deepest secret of Manu is a band of tribes that has little or no contact with the outside world. We know as little about these tribes as they know about us.
Soon this may change. In Peru, it has been strict policy not to establish contact, out of fear that diseases can easily spread. Instead, the policy has been to protect the environment and habitat of the uncontacted tribes, so that they can continue to live their lives undisturbed. But for all its pristine wilderness, Manu and its neighboring rainforest regions have riches that threaten the existence of the isolated tribes. Illegal loggers, gold miners, missionaries, and gas prospectors are moving ever deeper into the wilderness. They displace the isolated tribes, often with fatal consequences.
More recently, some of the uncontacted peoples have begun to seek contact with the outside world. They come to riverbanks when boats pass by, waving and shouting. What their motives are is one of the most pressing questions for conservationists and others who are committed to the tribes' survival.