Rare footage of one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes has emerged, showing its members on the beaches of North Sentinel island in the Bay of Bengal.

The footage is part of a documentary by LoveBite Productions on the Sentinelese tribe. The narrator states that the people and their ancestors are thought to have inhabited the island for nearly 60,000 years.

“Working on this project, reading about them, watching all these videos, brought tears to my eyes,” the narrator says.

The Sentinelese are known to throw arrows at low flying aircraft such as helicopters and reject all attempts at communication. After the 2004 Tsunami, a photo was captured of one of the tribesmen taking aim at an emergency helicopter with an arrow. It was taken as proof the tribe had survived the disaster.

Little is known about the tribe which could reportedly have as little as 50 and as many as 500 members. The Sentinelese tribe and the tribes on the more remote parts of the Andaman and Nicobar islands are hunter-gatherer people who are semi-nomadic and who have rejected attempts for them to be integrated into other societies, according to Survival International.

The global organisation, which works to protect tribal people’s lives, claims it is vital that the islanders’ wish to remain uncontacted is respected, otherwise they could be wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity.

A number of attempts were made to make contact with the islanders in the 1970s and 1990, almost all of which were met with hostility and arrows being fired.

In 2006 two fishermen, aged 48 and 52, were killed after they slept overnight in their boat near the North Sentinel island and approached its shore. It is illegal to go within five kilometres of the island.

A spokesperson for Survival International said that the Sentinelese tribe's extreme isolation makes them “very vulnerable to diseases to which they have no resistance, meaning contact would almost certainly have tragic consequences for them”.

“It is vital that their wish to remain uncontacted is respected – if not, the entire tribe could be wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity. Contact imposed upon other Andaman tribes has had a devastating impact,” the spokesperson said.

Recently to organisation campaigned with local authorities to stop attempts to communicate with the tribe and the Indian government now states that no further attempts at contact will be made. 

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