The Huanorani Tribe: Rainforest Masters and Legendary Survivalists

In this era of smart technology and fast food, how many of us would be able to survive in the harshest, toughest environments in the world without any of modernity’s wonders?  Survival instructor and wilderness guide Hazen Audel is determined to find out how he stacks up against some of the most remote tribal communities in the world.  He only has a couple of days to learn how they survived for thousands of years if he expects to Survive the Tribe.

Tonight, Thursday July 31 at 10P, watch as Hazen takes on the Ecuadorian jungle in all its dangerous splendor.  Traveling hundreds of miles into the Amazon, he finds himself at least fifteen hours away from the nearest hospital with the Huanorani tribe, the true Rainforest Masters.  Their remote location and extreme lifestyle commingle to form one very dangerous situation, but Hazen learns to embrace all aspects of this tribal life from the building a leaf shelter to hunting a monkey with poisonous blow darts.  Mental and physical demands weigh on him at all hours as he attempts to live harmoniously with an unforgiving environment of nighttime tarantulas, biting bees, and venomous snakes.  Even so, the Huanorani teach him to embrace the jungle.  They are well aware of its dangers, but they also benefit from its abundance of gifts.  Hazen must quickly learn to think like them, a mindset that was developed over thousands of years and passed down through generations.


He learns to leave behind the simple comforts of modernity such as shoes and ladders, trudging barefoot through murky waters and climbing up towering trees to gather food.  He is determined to win the respect of the Huanorani, however, and therefore gladly sheds his shoes to run alongside them on legendary hunts and to climb 50 feet up a hungurahua tree to harvest its fruits.  No task is as easy as picking out fruit in a supermarket.  The Huanorani hunt peccaries and spider monkeys with spears and poisonous blowpipes that they make themselves.  Hazen learns how to fashion these impressively precise blowguns and aids in making some of the most poisonous plant toxins known to man in order to paralyze their prey.  In order to actually join in on the hunt, he must first learn about which leaves to use for washing and which to use for shelter; which grasses are sharp as a knife and how to use piranhas to fashion weapons; and which mushrooms will make you sick for days. 

A village elder named Penti makes it his duty to teach Hazen the Huanorani survival techniques that allowed him to live for so long in such a harsh environment.  The man is almost 80 years old but still joins in legendary hunts to teach the younger generations about the forest.  He teaches them how to siphon water from overhead vines and how to get precious protein from palm weevil larvae in rotten trees, a delicacy that Hazen discovers is not exactly his favorite.  They learn how to build shelters to protect themselves from the frequent rains and how to bring down a hive of thousands of biting bees to gather delicious honey.  Hazen also learns firsthand that if you can’t keep up with the tribe, you get left behind, alone and forced to utilize every technique the Huanorani have taught him.

These Rainforest Masters have a gripping need to survive in one of the most dangerous environments in the world.  This means bringing down trees and monkeys alike, a lifestyle that gains Hazen’s respect as well as his displeasure.  As an ethno-botanist and biologist, Hazen must come to grips with the paradox of loving the Huanorani people and their traditions while still maintaining a wondrous appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors and nature.

Be sure to tune in tonight, Thursday July 31 at 10P on National Geographic Channel to watch one man attempt to survive an incredibly tough tribe.


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    […] The Huanorani Tribe: Rainforest Masters and Legendary Survivalists […]