Human safaris threaten Andaman tribe
The survival of the Jarawa tribe of the Andaman Islands is being threatened by human safaris run by local tour operators.
Survival International announced today that it has written to eight travel companies that promote visits to, or sightings of, the Jarawa people, urging them to put an immediate stop to their tours. The trips put the tribe, who are likely to have little immunity to common illnesses, at serious risk of disease.
The promotion of tourism to the Jarawa is illegal. Four of the companies stopped promoting Jarawa tourism on their websites after Survival wrote to them. The Indian government also issued a public warning to companies after Survival alerted it to the safaris. Four companies, however, are continuing to promote the tours.
Many more companies promote such tours from their shops in the Andaman Islands.
An illegal highway runs through the Jarawa reserve, bringing in tourists, poachers and settlers. Survival is urging the Indian government to close the road immediately, and to stop intruders trespassing on the Jarawa’s land.
Stephen Corry, Survival’s director, said today,
‘The Jarawa people lived successfully on their island without contact with outsiders for probably about 55,000 years, until 1998. Today, a road runs right through their forest home, and they risk decimation by disease. They call themselves the Ang, which means ‘human being’, yet they are being ogled at like animals in a game reserve.
‘The very last member of the neighbouring Bo tribe died in January. We must not allow the same fate to befall the Jarawa, or the world will lose yet another vibrant, knowledgeable and complex part of humankind.’
Tags: Jarawa , Andaman Islands , Survival International
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