Russian 'Jungle Book' girl grew up among animals

29th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

The five-year-old girl’s father may face child abuse charges as his daughter who grew up in a filthy apartment with cats and dogs behaves and eat like one.

Moscow – Russian police have detained a father who brought up his five-year-old daughter along with dogs and cats in a flat in Siberia so that she spoke and ate like an animal, reports said Thursday.

"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 local police source told RIA Novosti news agency.

The authorities said the day earlier the girl, who was not allowed outside, had been found in a filthy apartment living with cats and several dogs, sparking comparisons with the character Mowgli from the "Jungle Book".

Television pictures showed the dilapidated apartment where the girl – named 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.

The source told the agency that police had heard different versions of events from the father and the mother, who went to the authorities herself on Wednesday.

"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" after the character who grew up among wolves in the children's book by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling.

Russian child protection officers have taken the girl into care at a children's rehabilitation centre called Nadezhda (Hope).

The Interfax news agency quoted a source at the centre as saying she was already adapting to her new 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.

But the source added that the girl, who appears to have had more contact with animals than humans, could still not talk.

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

AFP / Expatica

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