Resort may close to save local tribe

The Indian government is considering closing a resort on one of the Andaman islands in order to save a formerly remote tribe from extinction.

The resort, run by Barefoot India, is near the forest home of the Jarawa tribe. This group lived almost entirely isolated from the rest of the world until the 1970s, when road construction and immigration from the mainland began. The Jarawa kept clear of the newcomers until the 1990s, when they began to interact with tourists and settlers.

Foreign diseases such as measles have hit the tribe, and groups such as Survival International are worried their unique culture may die out or even the entire tribe may become extinct. Only about 320 Jarawa are left.

Numerous tour operators take visitors along the Andaman Trunk Road and visit the tribespeople, even though this is forbidden by law. Poachers often trespass on Jarawa lands.

In an attempt to protect the tribe, a buffer zone was created around their reservation and the resort was closed down. Barefoot India has appealed the ruling and now India’s Supreme Court is weighing the matter.%Gallery-78607%