A few weeks ago, I ran a post about a supposedly 'undiscovered' Amazonian tribe that had been photographed from the air. Turns out, the whole thing was one big publicity stunt by a concerned environmentalist. From the Guardian:
The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.
In his first interviews since the disclosure of the tribe's existence, Meirelles described how he found the group, detailed how they lived and how he planned the publicity to protect them and other tribes in similar danger of losing the habitat in which they have flourished for hundreds of years.
Hey, it's great that this guy cares so much about protecting these tribes and their ancestral lands that he would go to all this trouble to make huge segments of the media look foolish. But memo to environmentalists everywhere: it you're going to deceive the press, it's probably best not to admit it. Nothing turns the media off a story like being manipulated.
Also...does deliberately flying an airplane over a non-technological tribe perhaps count as the kind of interference and exploitation Meirelles is trying to prevent? Nunc Scio says yes.