Confirmed victory

Protect Plants AND People: Stop the Natural History Museum's Expedition to Gran Chaco

This petition made change with 160 supporters!

Update: In a victory for indigenous rights, the Paraguayan government yesterday decided to formally suspended a mission to the remote Gran Chaco forests, until the Ayoreo Indians can grant their pemission for it to go forward. Thanks for signing this petition! As a next step, you can email Paraguay's Foreign Minister at to thank the government for this decision.

Read more about the victory here.

There's plenty of scientific work to support in the name of biodiversity of conservation.

The Natural History Museum in London's upcoming expedition is not one of them.

In the next few days, a 100-person scientific team plans to enter one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth: an extremely dry region in northern Paraguay called the Gran Chaco. It's an area that's home to one of the last remaining indigenous populations completely untouched by Western culture: the Ayoreo Indians shun contact and live in determined isolation.

While the expedition says it has made precautions to avoid the likely presence of the tribe, anthropologists and indigenous advocates say the mission is destined to result in a "disaster" in the likely event of an accidental encounter.

The journey brings risk of violent confrontation and disease introductions, and the trails that are forged will lead to inevitable cultural pollution, too. This expedition would basically repeat a mistake we should have learned more than enough about in 5th grade history class.

The scientists say it is important to document the region's plant and animal species in the name of conservation for future generations.

Here's a better idea: Why don't we leave these plants and these people alone.


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Jess Leber needs your help with “Protect Plants AND People: Stop the Natural History Museum's Expedition to Gran Chaco”. Join Jess and 159 supporters today.