Exposed Secrets: Illegal Deforestation and Drug Trafficking in Peru’s Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve

By Eleanor Harrison Mar27,2024
Confirmation of Secret Tracks and Illegal Crops in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru through Photographs

On Friday, March 15, 2024, a photograph was captured during an overflight that exposed a secret landing strip in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru. Located in the Amazon rainforest, this reserve is intended for indigenous people who have not yet had initial contact and are in isolation. The image showed a narrow strip of land cutting through the dense green foliage of the forest, highlighting the impact of deforestation on the territory.

This reserve is situated between Loreto, Ucayali, and Huánuco regions. In addition to the landing strip, two open pits were also discovered in the forest during the flyover, along with a large amount of illegal coca leaf crops. This confirmed that drug trafficking activities were encroaching on the territory of the Kakataibo people.

Indigenous leaders from the Native Federation of Kakataibo Communities (Fenacoka) took part in the flight and expressed their concern over the situation. They urged immediate action to protect their rights and prevent further encroachment on their land.

The flight was organized by Inter-Ethnic Association for Development of Peruvian Jungle (Aidesep), which included representatives from various government agencies such as Mincul. The objective was to verify illegal activities within the reserve and assess its potential impact on indigenous communities.

Satellite images from May 2023 had already revealed evidence of clandestine landing strips, unauthorized forest roads, deforestation around the reserve. These findings prompted indigenous organizations to request precautionary measures from Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect Kakataibo people’s rights and safety from drug traffickers operating within their territories.

Subsequent flyovers and field photographs revealed further illegal activities within the reserve, including deforestation, coca leaf crops cultivation, and possible camps used by drug traffickers. Indigenous leaders expressed disappointment with Peru’s lack of action to address threats facing isolated communities.

The flight highlighted multiple points of illegal activity taking place within Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve underlining how urgent it is to implement protection measures immediately.

The ongoing encroachment of drug trafficking onto isolated indigenous territories poses a significant threat to Kakataibo people’s lives and livelihoods. Despite repeated requests for action by indigenous organizations and international human rights bodies like IACHR, Peru has yet to implement concrete measures safeguarding these vulnerable communities’ rights.

This situation reflects a larger issue affecting isolated indigenous communities across Peru’s Amazon region where illegal activities pose an imminent threat due to lax protection measures or lack thereof in place by authorities.

By Eleanor Harrison

As a content writer at, I infuse flavor into words, crafting compelling stories that captivate and inform our audience. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for creativity, I strive to create content that not only engages but also inspires. Whether I'm concocting a savory blog post or whipping up a spicy product description, I pour my heart and soul into every piece I write. Join me on this flavorful journey as we explore the tantalizing world of content creation together.

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