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‘Leave us alone'

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Dec 15, 2010 | From the print edition
Expedition>> Indigenous Tribe • UK/Paraguay

imageLondon’s Natural History Museum suspended an expedition to Dry Chaco, an inaccessible region of Paraguay, after protests that it might disturb one of the world’s last un-contacted tribes, the Ayoreo.

Indigenous rights groups feared they can be exposed to infectious diseases as a result of the expedition.

The expedition was meant to record the rich biodiversity of the Dry Chaco region and its semiarid lowland forests, stretching into Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. It is one of the last great wildernesses of South America.

Anthropologists believe it is the only place outside the Amazon where uncontacted tribes live. They estimate the region has nearly 150 Ayoreos living in voluntary isolation. Hundreds have left the area in recent years as natural vegetation has been cleared by farmers and cattle-ranchers.

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