A feral young girl – naked and emaciated – was discovered in the Katarniaghat forest range in northern India, living with a troop of monkeys who had apparently been raising her as one of their own.
When authorities approached her, she began screeching and the nearby monkeys surrounded her to protect her.
“They said the girl was naked and was very comfortable in the company of monkeys. When they tried to rescue the girl, they were chased away by the monkeys,” police officer Dinesh Tripathi told the Associated Press.
She has since been taken to a hospital in Bahraich, a town in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, where she has been receiving medical treatment.
“Based on her behavioral patterns, it’s possible she could have lived with the monkeys since she was an infant,” Bahraich police officer Dinesh Tripathi told The New Indian Express. (They believe she is now between 10 and 12 years old.)
Her behaviors are erratic and include running around on her arms and legs and eating food off the floor with her mouth, D.K. Singh, chief medical superintendent of the government-run hospital, told the AP.
Via The Washington Post:
Now, doctors are tasked with teaching her how to transition to life as a human, a task that initially proved difficult because of her aversion to human interaction.
“She behaves like an ape and screams loudly if doctors try to reach out to her,” Singh told the New Indian Express. Another doctor treating her said the girl struggles to understand anything, and makes apelike noises and facial expressions.
But over the past two months, the girl’s health and behavior have improved significantly, doctors say. She has begun to walk normally by herself and eat food with her own hands. She is still unable to speak, and has begun to use gestures to communicate. Occasionally, she smiles, according to a hospital spokesman, Sky News reported.
Police are trying to determine who her parents are and how she got into the forest.
Via People magazine:
Anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota — who has investigated three cases of feral children in Uganda, the Ukraine and Fiji — says these kids are “often a source of shame and secrecy within a family or community,” according to the Washington Post.
“These aren’t Jungle Book stories, they’re often harrowing cases of neglect and abuse,” Ochota wrote on her website. “And it’s all too likely because of a tragic combination of addiction, domestic violence and poverty. These are kids who fell through the cracks, who were forgotten, or ignored, or hidden.”
In the meantime, she will be sent to a home for juveniles until she is identified.