There have been over 100 reported cases of feral children living in the wild, being cared after by wild animals. If you believe this is nothing more than a myth, folklore, or legend, you are very wrong. Inter-species mothers, and the instinct to nurture the young, (regardless of its species), is very much real.
A feral child is a child who was either abandoned by their natural parents, or ran away at a very young age due to neglect, and or abuse. They have experienced very little human care, lack socialization, and bonding towards other humans, and have severe intellectual, emotional, and physical impairments. A feral child is an example of the human spirit’s ability, and will to survive; in the most adverse of circumstances.
The fact that wild animals have taken over the care of the abandoned child, and treated them as their own, is simply amazing. People have reported seeing goats suckling children, wolves barking and growling at people, (whom they perceive as a threat), to keep them away from the child, and monkeys gathering berries for their young, and the child they were caring for.
It turns out our animal friends are very much like us… caring, nurturing, and loving. Not to mention, they are perceptive enough to know that the child will die without their intervention.
Sujit Kumar from Fiji, now 32, was raised in a chicken coop by chickens. He scratches, pecks, and crouches like a chicken. He is still learning how to behave like a human.
Kumar’s family locked Kumar in a chicken coop under their house, where he ate what the chickens ate, and slept with chickens. Unable to stand up, he became permanently crippled, and he walks like a chicken. The chickens nurtured him, talked to him, and provided him with general company. For four years he lived his life crouched in a small space with chickens…
When Kumar was “rescued”, he suffered a worse fate. For 20 years he was restrained in a bed in a nursing home, via a cord wrapped around his waist, tethered to his bed. When he was allowed to go outside they tethered him to a pole on a short leash. The Fijian’s didn’t know how to handle “the chicken boy”, or how to assimilate him back to society.
Recently, a Fijian man has taken him into his home, and acted as his caretaker. He has now learned how to talk, and walk. He attends school daily, and is doing remarkably well.
Another modern day feral child case involves Oxana Malaya, the Ukranian dog girl. She lived in the wild for five years, cared for by dogs, and was found when she was 8 years old in 1991.
Malaya was thrown out of her home when she was three years old, and somehow was able to befriend a pack of wild dogs who cared for her as if she were their own. She learned their mannerisms, behaviors, and even seemed to develop a stronger sense of smell. In addition to barking, and growling, it has been reported that Malaya runs like a dog on all fours, and was able to eat raw meat.
The following is short clip of Oxana Malaya’s dog-like behavior:
The bond between her and the wild dogs was so strong, that on first attempt to rescue her, the wild dogs chased the humans away, and the attempt was unsuccessful. Sadly, she has not reintegrated back into society all these years later, and she now lives in a group home with others who are mentally handicapped.
Somewhat related, and certainly deserving of a mention, is the recent case of a king cobra who cared for puppies trapped in a well, for 48 hours.
In India, an owner was alerted by the mother of two puppies, when she was barking at the top of the well. To his surprise, he looked down and saw his two puppies in the well… even more astounding, they were next to a king cobra…
The king cobra safeguarded the puppies by not allowing them near the water where they could of drowned. The snake who was also stuck, and likely very hungry, did not make one move to harm the puppies, in the 48 hrs that they remained in the well. All three animals were rescued; the puppies were reunited with their mother, and the snake was returned to the wild.
The term “feral children” brings up topics such as nature vrs. nurture, the importance of heredity versus environment, and how our psychological development is affected by our surroundings. It also brings up thoughts on who the real “animals” are… the abusive and neglectful humans who dumped their children, or the “animals” who adopted them and treated them as their own.
And the king cobra who treated the puppies as if they were her own… well that’s just a feel-good story, and I hope you enjoyed it. π
In light of these circumstances, I believe that animals should be respected, protected, and allowed their own freedoms just as us humans do. They certainly have earned this, and they deserve it.