The Onges, one of India’s most endangered tribal group whose numbers have been decimated to an alarming hundred in the Little Andaman Islands, have been blessed with a baby boy, officials said in Port Blair on Saturday.

With the birth of the baby to Santosh, 28, and Reetai, 26, living in the forest reserve area of Dugong Creek, the Onge population is now 101, Dr Tulsi, deputy director in the tribal welfare department, told PTI.

Born on last Monday at a primary health centre in Little Andaman, the baby is healthy and weighs 2.5 kg, he said.

Population numbers of the semi-nomadic Onges have been diminishing drastically as a result of colonisation and changes in their food habits brought about by their contact with the outside world.

In 1900, their numbers were reported to be around 670.

The Onges, who are one of the oldest tribes on the archipelago, are believed to have migrated from Africa and settled in the islands about 30,000 to 50,000 years ago.


Vanishing futuresAugust 14, 2009