The founding myth of Rome features twins Romulus and Remus. Abandoned in the waters of the River Tiber, they were rescued by a she-wolf who cared for them and watched them grow.
Some episodes are sparsely documented, such as the archives of the Queen of Poland (1664-1688), which tells the story of a boy raised by a brown bear in a Lithuanian forest. The boy was discovered in the spring of 1663 and later taken to the Polish capital, so there is no further news.
Wolf Girl of Devils River was featured in some local newspapers. Arrested in Texas in 1846, but escaped for attacking the sheriff. She was last seen in 1852, when she was about 17 years old, howling on the top of a mountain with a backpack.
All these cases report children who, unlike the common life in urbanized regions, with school, social interaction and regulated food, lived with nature. Knowing this, the portal Adventures in History listed some of the cases recorded by science of abandoned children and raised by animals.
1. Amala and Kamala
Known as the wolf girls, the Amala and Kamala girls were found in a cave in India in 1920 by a reverend named Singh . They were taken to an orphanage, where they lived huddled in a corner.
They had nocturnal habits and behaved like wolf cubs, agitated and ferocious. They walked on hands and feet, knees and elbows, did not speak and howled at the moon.
They didn’t show any kind of emotion. In the cave, where they fed on raw or decomposing meat, they were free within the context they knew, far from their habitat, in the orphanage, they developed a deep depression. Amala was one and a half years old and died a year later, while her eight-year-old sister Kamala lived until 1929.
2. Oxana Malaya
Born in 1983 in Ukraine. Daughter of alcoholics, without parental attention, from 3 to 8 years old, the girl found shelter among the dogs in the backyard of the house and lived with them in a shed, assimilating the behavior of the pack. The bond with the dogs was so strong that the first time the authorities came to rescue her, they were kicked out by the pack.
One of the first things they noticed was that the girl’s senses of smell, sight and hearing had become extremely heightened. When rescued, she growled, barked, and walked restlessly around like a wild animal.
Many years after her discovery, Oxana still has difficulty acquiring human social and emotional skills. Since 2010, she resides in a home for the mentally handicapped. Now, at 34, she can speak, but her language is direct and frank, as if she is constantly giving orders.
3. John Ssebunya
John Ssebunya was born sometime in the 1980s in a small Ugandan village called Bombo. He was not registered and at the age of two, he ran away from home after seeing his father murder his mother. He was found only in 1991, about four years later, hidden in a tree.
The child was about six years old and was seen by an inhabitant of the tribe, who gathered a group to look for him. He didn’t offer much resistance, but a family of monkeys who were with him threw stones, sticks and screamed for hours. The monkeys not only helped the child survive in the wild, but taught the group several customs.
In the wild, the monkeys fed him, cuddled him and made him part of the family. After being rescued, John could not speak, but over time he learned to communicate with gestures.
Sent to a local orphanage, he adapted for eight years, learning basic things like walking on two legs, talking and eating. Years later, he learned to sing and took part in a children’s choir called Pearl of Africa.
4. Vanya Yudin
In 2008, in Volgograd, Russia, social workers found a 7-year-old boy living among birds. Raised in a tiny apartment, surrounded by cages, perches and birdseed, the boy’s mother went out to work and left him in the care of the dozens of birds that flew loose in all corners of the place.
According to the newspapers that reported the case, the boy could not speak. He would chirp and when he realized that he was not understood, he would wave his arms like birds do with their wings. It is the most recent case of animal husbandry, even far from abandonment.
5. Marina Chapman
Marina Chapman was a 4-year-old British girl who, in 1954, was kidnapped in Colombia. Inexplicably, after receiving her parents’ ransom, her kidnappers abandoned her in the woods. In the middle of the jungle, the little girl was taken in by a group of capuchin monkeys and, as a survival instinct, she began to copy them in the way of eating and acting, as well as imitating their language.
Once, he ate a fruit and began to feel sick. He had poisoned himself. An older monkey watched her, approached her and started pushing her towards a stream. The child, although frightened, noticed that the monkey’s expression, which he came to call Grandpa, “was completely calm. He was not angry or agitated or hostile.”
The monkey began to put pressure on her head and forced her to drink a lot of water. The girl thought she wanted to drown her. Gradually, she began to vomit everything she had eaten, which saved her life. “I’ll never know for sure what it was that poisoned me, just as I’ll never know how the monkey Grandpa knew how to save me. But he did. I am convinced of that”, later mentioned Marina.
Thus, she survived, living with Grandpa and his group of monkeys for five years, when she was found by hunters who sold her to a brothel in the village of Loma de Bolívar, Colombia. Marina, however, managed to escape some time later to live on the streets, where she stole to eat and even led a gang of boys in the city of Cúcuta, Colombia. The story of the girl who was raised by monkeys is in the autobiographical book “The Girl With No Name”.
6. Natasha de Zabaykalsky Kray
Natasha de Zabaykalsky Kray was found by social workers in a suburb of the city of Chita, in Siberia. Even though she lived with her human family, the allegations indicated that the girl was treated by her father and other family members as one of the many dogs and cats in the house.
When she was rescued in 2009, Natasha was 5 years old and behaved like a dog, quite agile, sniffing and sniffing everywhere, walking on all fours, barking and growling at strangers.
The social workers mentioned that, accompanied by the police, they had to use force to enter the residence, since the other animals protected them.
“Our first impression when we entered was that we had ended up in some dump. The stench was unbearable and it was full of huge dogs and cats”, explained Larisa Popova , head of the children’s department of the Chita Police. According to social workers, the girl seemed to communicate perfectly with the dogs that protected her as if she were a puppy.