It’s nearly impossible for us to imagine being disconnected from society. With the push of a button, we can interact with people on the opposite side of the globe. Yet remarkably, there are still a number of individuals who remain disconnected from the outside world.
Recently, new images have emerged of an individual who has been living in the heart of the Amazon rainforest completely alone. Amazing as this may seem, the story of how he came to be alone in the vast jungle is truly heartbreaking…
The Amazon rainforest covers a staggering 2,100,000 miles and is home to millions of unique plant, insect, and animal species. But birds and flowers aren’t the only creatures that dwell in this jungle.
According to the Brazilian agency for native tribes known as FUNAI, the Amazon is home to 113 indigenous groups that have yet to make contact with the outside world. Of these 113, only 27 have been captured on film. That is, until now.
For the first time, photos have emerged of a lone tribesman living in the heart of the jungle. To those who have seen him, this enigmatic individual is known as “The Man in the Hole”.
The man was first sighted in 1996, when researchers caught a glimpse of him wandering through the forests of Brazil’s Rondonia State. It is believed that the 50-year-old man has been surviving alone in the dense jungle for roughly 22 years.
Researchers believe that during the Brazilian land grabs of the late 20th century, his fellow natives were ruthlessly murdered by greedy farmers looking to encroach on their land.
“After the last farmer attack in late 1995, the group that was probably already small – from reports, the local staff believed [it] to be six people – became one person,” FUNAI said in a news post. “The guilty were never punished.”
Since discovering the man, FUNAI has kept a close eye on his movements and checks in from time to time to make sure he is still alive. The organization has also established strict rules that prevent anyone from interacting with him, making an intimate study of the man incredibly difficult.
Because of these regulations, no one knows the man’s real name or the name of his former tribe. But if one thing’s for sure, “The Man in the Hole” certainly lives up to his name…
Those who have explored the man’s mysterious territory have nearly crippled themselves after stumbling across dozens of deep holes. It’s believed that the man uses these holes to trap animals, or possibly to even hunt out of them himself.
FUNAI has gone to great lengths to ensure that he is able to live in the harsh jungle conditions. Workers have even gone as far as leaving handcrafted tools and weapons around the forest for the man to find.
Maintaining the size and integrity of the man’s land has also been essential for FUNAI, who has extended the area of his jungle home. But despite the creation of the Tanara indigenous reserve in the late 90’s, outside factors still pose a very real threat to “The Man in the Hole”.
The man’s home is surrounded on all sides by large ranches, the very same that are likely responsible for the murders of his fellow tribesmen. Even indirect threats, such as growing urban infrastructures and the presence of airborne diseases, are ever present.
But this situation is relatively common in the Amazon, and many tribes who are given opportunities to interact with the outside world generally avoid contact. When it is forced upon them the results can prove to be fatal…
On several occasions, forced contact was met with extreme hostility by native populations. Some have even been known to threaten outsiders with weapons if they come too close.
In one of the more extreme cases, an aircraft’s attempt to observe a group of natives backfired when they mistook the small plane for a threatening creature. The tribesmen attempted to chase the plane off by firing arrows at it!
Though he’s now become an international sensation, “The Man in the Hole” still lives a secluded life. For the man, and the hundreds of other individuals living uncontacted in the Amazon, it will hopefully be the only way of life they ever know.
“To think that in the 21st century, there are still people who have no contact with civilization, living like their ancestors did 20,000 years ago — it’s a powerful emotion,” Photographer Ricardo Stuckert told National Geographic magazine.
Check out the video below to watch the first sighting of “The Man in the Hole” ever captured on film! Seeing him in his element will make your hair stand on end.
It’s one thing to maintain a primitive lifestyle in the heart of the Amazon, but to do so alone for 22 years is truly astounding. Let’s hope “The Man in the Hole” remains unbothered by the outside world for the rest of his days.