From the sky it appears to be an idyllic island with amazing beaches and a dense forest, but tourists or fishermen don’t dare to set foot on this outcrop in the Indian Ocean due to its inhabitants’ fearsome reputation.
Visitors who venture onto or too close to North Sentinel Island risk being attacked by members of a mysterious tribe who have rejected modern civilisation and prefer to have zero contact with the outside world.
When they do interact with outsiders, it usually involves violence – the indigenous Sentinelese tribe killed two men who were fishing illegally in 2006 and have been known to fire arrows and fling rocks at low-flying planes or helicopters on reconnaissance.
In the late 1980s, many Sentinelese were killed as armed salvagers visited the island after a shipwreck. But since then the tribesmen have remained almost completely undisturbed.
With many wanting to know more about the untouched island, aid workers are now fearing for the survival of the tribe.
Survival International’s director, Stephen Corry, said: “The most recent to be pushed into extinction was the Bo tribe, whose last member died only four years ago.
“The only way the Andamanese authorities can prevent the annihilation of another tribe is to ensure North Sentinel Island is protected from outsiders.” Yet despite their fears, the organisation has said the islanders are ‘extremely healthy, alert and thriving’ with their ‘old world’ way of life.
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