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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Feral Children

These are children, almost always babies, who are taken and raised by wild animals. Occasionally they find their way back to society. They may be carried off from their villages by females to replace recently lost cubs, accidentally separated from their families during migrations or other movements, or possibly exposed in the wild as a form of infanticide/birth control.

Almost all examples are either fictional (such as Tarzan and Mowgli) or legendary (such as Afrasiab, King of Turan, in the Shah-nama; King Zahhak of Mesopotamia in the Avestas, Nebuchadnezzar II, Romulus and Remus, Cyrus the Great and Bear Woman). There seem to have been a few fairly well-authenticated examples in the real like Victor, the "Wild Boy of Aveyron" in France, who was first sighted in 1797 aged about nine and died in 1828. These 'real life' examples have normally been hotly disputed, but news today arrives of yet another case:

"A dog foraging for food retrieved an abandoned baby girl in a forest in Kenya and carried her to its litter of puppies, according to media reports yesterday.

The stray dog carried the infant across a busy road and a barbed wire fence in a poor neighbourhood in the Ngong Forests area of the capital, Nairobi, a witness, Stephen Thoya, told the independent Daily Nation newspaper.

The dog apparently found the baby on Friday in the plastic bag in which she had been abandoned, said Aggrey Mwalimu, the owner of the compound where the dog is now living.


Kaushik said...

Chatwin did an interesting story on one such child in India for Sunday Times (during its glory days).

If I remember correctly, it is available in his posthumously written 'What Am I doing Here'

Edward Hugh said...

Hi Kaushik, nice to see you here :).

And thanks for the reference.