Russian 'Jungle Book' girl adapting to daily life

31st May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The girl had apparently not been allowed outside the filthy apartment in Eastern Siberia where she had been found living with the animals, sparking comparisons with the character Mowgli from the "Jungle Book."

Moscow -- A five-year-old girl Russian who was shut away with dogs and cats is adapting to normal life after being rescued and transferred to a clinic, doctors said earler this week.

The girl had apparently not been allowed outside the filthy apartment in Eastern Siberia where she had been found living with the animals, sparking comparisons with the character Mowgli from the "Jungle Book."

"Everything is fine. Other medical tests will be carried out but she is in good health," the director of the rehabilitation centre Tatyana Missnik told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"The one problem is that at five years old she doesn't speak. We don't know why."

Television pictures showed the dilapidated apartment where the girl, identified only as Natasha, lived on the outskirts of the Siberian city of Chita.

The battered door of the flat had a sign reading "Warning: She Bites", presumably referring to one of the dogs.

Police announced Wednesday that child protection officers had taken the girl into care at the "Nadezhda" (Hope) children's rehabilitation centre.

Doctors said the girl pushed aside a spoon offered for eating, preferring instead to lap up food.

Interfax news agency quoted a source at the centre as saying she was already adapting to a normal environment.

"She only behaves like a cat or dog from time to time. She can show how to put a pan on a stove and turn on the gas. You shouldn't call her 'Mowgli'," the source said.

Meanwhile police said her father -- with whom Natasha had lived -- had been briefly detained and could face a criminal investigation.

"The father was detained, questioned and released. It is now being decided whether to open a criminal investigation for neglecting duties in the bringing up of a child," a police source told RIA Novosti news agency.

Police had heard different versions of events from the father and the mother, who went to the authorities herself on Wednesday, the source added.

"The mother says that the father stole the girl from her. The father said that the grandmother of his wife suggested he bring up the girl himself, which he did."

Police dubbed the girl "Mowgli" in their statement Wednesday, after the character who grew up among wolves in the children's book by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling.

In March, President Dmitry Medvedev urged action on child abuse, saying 760,000 children were living in "socially hazardous conditions".

AFP/Expatica

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