A young girl, thought to be 10 to 12 years old, was discovered living with monkeys in an Indian forest by officials in January and taken to a hospital, according to multiple reports.
She was found naked and seemingly emaciated in the Katarniaghat forest range in northern India surrounded by a troop of primates, according to The New Indian Express. But, she appeared to be in good spirits in the company of the monkeys, according to sub-inspector Suresh Yadav, who was on routine night patrol in the woods.
The publication has drawn comparisons between the girl and Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli, the feral child from Seoni, India, in Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
When authorities approached the girl, she began screeching and the nearby monkeys surrounded her as if she was one of their own.
“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.
The young girl was taken to a hospital in Bahraich, a town in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, reports the AP. She has been receiving medical treatment there for the past two months.
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.
“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.
Police are trying to determine who her parents are and how she got into the forest.
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.”
She will be sent to a home for juveniles until she is identified, reports the AP.