New baby is a sign of hope for the Onge

February 24, 2005

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A new baby has been born to the Onge tribe of the Andaman Islands. The Onge's numbers have plummeted in the past century and their birth rate is very low, so the birth, which brings the population to 97, is a cause for hope.

The Onge people, who like the other isolated tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands survived the tsunami of December 26, left their coastal settlements when the tsunami struck. They have set up temporary camps in the forests of their island, Little Andaman. The tribe once inhabited the whole of Little Andaman, but the island is now also home to thousands of Indian settlers, and much of it has been deforested. The Onge have complained that wild pigs, which a man must kill in order to marry, are now scarce.