Confirmation of Secret Tracks and Illegal Crops in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru through Photographs
Technology

Exposing Illegal Activities in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve: A Battle for Protection and Justice

In March 2024, a photograph was taken during an overflight of the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru that exposed a secret landing strip. This reserve is intended for indigenous people in isolation and initial contact. The image showed a furrow cutting through the dense green mantle of the Amazon forest, revealing a wide line of land in the middle of the territory.

The flyover also revealed two open pits in the forest and an abundance of illegal coca leaf crops, confirming that drug trafficking activities were encroaching on the territory of the Kakataibo people. Indigenous leaders from the Native Federation of Kakataibo Communities (Fenacoka) participated in the flight and expressed their concern about the situation.

The flight was organized by the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (Aidesep) and included representatives from the Ministry of Culture (Mincul). The purpose of the flight was to verify the extent of illegal activities within the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve, which was only categorized in 2021.

Satellite images from May 2023 had already shown evidence of clandestine landing strips, unauthorized forest roads, and deforestation in and around the reserve. This prompted indigenous organizations to request precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect the Kakataibo people’s rights.

Subsequent flyovers and field photographs captured further evidence of illegal activities within

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