It’s believed that pygmies are Africa’s oldest living human population. It is estimated that there are about 920,000 pygmies living in Africa, but their communities are so broken up and fragmented that nobody is really sure where they are located. And because census data is hard to come by, and only some of their locations known, scientists have had to map out the ares where they could potentially be living. They did this in an effort to conserve the groups, but it’s recently proved faulty. The forest communities of the pygmies are in danger right now due to deforestation, mining, and the expansion of industrialized societies. The threat of losing their communities is just one of many that they have had to face in the past. Pygmies have been hunted down and enslaved or exploited by other groups of people for a long time, and now they have another – and perhaps even bigger – threat that they have to face. While I understand that a lot of the difficulty in this issue just comes from not being aware of where they are located, I think that more cautionary measures should be taken in order to preserve this ancient people and their lifestyle. As we’ve seen in the past, wiping out natives only brings regret. It might be impossible to just leave them be and hope it all works out, but just continuing to threaten their communities for the chance at mining and building more stuff seems a bit harsh to me.
For more information, see the New York Times article here.