'Man of the Hole,' Last Remaining Member of Uncontacted Indigenous Tribe, Dies in Brazilian Amazon

·2 min read
Teles Pires River.
Teles Pires River.

Getty The Amazon forest in Brazil

The last known member of an indigenous tribe in Brazil has died, according to officials.

The so-called "Man of the Hole" was found dead in a hammock on the Tanaru Indigenous Land in the Rondônia state on Aug. 23, said Funai, Brazil's indigenous protection agency, in press release on Saturday, according to the BBC.

The man — got his nickname from his apparent habit of digging deep holes — is believed to have died at age 60 of natural causes, the BBC and The Guardian reported.

There were no signs of violence at the scene in the Brazilian Amazon, according to Funai.

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Prior to his death, the "Man of the Hole" is believed to have lived entirely isolated from the rest of the world for at least 26 years, per CNN.

Survival International, a nonprofit organization that works with tribes to protect their rights, confirmed the man's death on its website.

"No outsider knew this man's name, or even very much about his tribe – and with his death the genocide of his people is complete," said Fiona Watson, Research and Advocacy Director for Survival International.

BRAZIL - MARCH 04: Tropical forest and expanse of Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica), Nymphaeaceae, Amazonas, Brazil. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
BRAZIL - MARCH 04: Tropical forest and expanse of Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica), Nymphaeaceae, Amazonas, Brazil. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

DeAgostini/Getty The Amazon in Brazil

Most of the man's tribe was killed around the 1970s as ranchers looked for more land, according to the BBC. He became the only member of the tribe in 1995 when the other six remaining members were killed by illegal miners.

Those who tried to contact the man were met with resistance, per the reports, as he would set traps for and direct weapons toward potential invaders.

The last known video taken of the man dates back to Feb. 2018, according to CNN.

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"He didn't trust anyone because he had many traumatizing experiences with non-Indigenous people," said Marcelo dos Santos, a retired employee for Funai, per The Guardian.

Sarah Shenker, who campaigns with Survival International, said "rejecting contact with outsiders" was the Man in the Hole's "best chance of survival," according to the report.

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"He was the last of his tribe," Shenker explained, "and so that is one more tribe made extinct – not disappeared, as some people say, it's much more active and genocidal a process than disappearing."

Indigenous rights groups are now asking the Tanaru reserve be given permanent protection, the BBC reported.