When you think of a child living with a pack of wolves, or with wild animals, you think of Mowgli. Most of us have seen Disney’s masterpiece, “The Jungle Book”. But while Mowgli is a fictional character, there are a lot of real life feral children.
And now, thanks to a photo-project by Julia Fullerton-Batten, we get to see them. She is a German-born, and London-based photographer. Her newest series, titled “feral children” takes a look at some real life children living with wild animals. And no, these feral children are not part of the modern MMORPH games, like WoW classes.
Julia was inspired to do the photo-project by a girl she photographed in 2005. Back then, her project “teenage stories” focused on a girl’s transition to womanhood. Among those girls, the “Girl with no name” inspired her to search further for other cases of feral children. She found out there were quite a few more cases of feral children, and she wanted to explore those children snatched by wild animals.
1.Madina, Russia, 2013
Madina did not exactly live with wolves. But she lived with dogs from birth until she was 3 years old. During that time, she shared their food, played with them, and slept with the dogs. Social workers found her in 2013. At the time, she was naked, walking on all fours and growling like a dog. Her father left her soon after her birth. Her mother, 23 years old, took to alcohol. Her alcoholic mother would sit at the table to eat while her daughter, Madina, was eating bones with the dogs. She would run away to a local playground when her mother was angry. Other children avoided her, because she would hardly speak, and fought with everyone. Despite her ordeal, doctors found her mentally and physically healthy when social workers found her.
2. Lobo wolf girl, Mexico, 1845-1852
This girl is a mystery. He was first seen in 1845 running on all fours with a pack of wolves, attacking a herd of goats in Mexico. A year later, she was seen with wolves eating a goat. Locals captured her, but she managed to escape. She was seen again in 1852, suckling two wolf cubs. She ran into the woods, never to be seen again.
3. Oxana Malaya, 1991, Ukraine
Similar as other feral children on the list, Oxana was found living with dogs in a kennel in 1991. At the time, she was just 8 years old. Estimates was she lived with dogs for the last 6 years. Her parents were alcoholics. One night, they left her outside. Looking for warmth, the three year old child crawled into the farm kennel and curled up with the mongrel dogs. When she was discovered, she behaved more like a dog than a human child. She ran on all fours, bared her teeth, and barked. She knew only the words “yes” and “no”. She lives in a clinic in Odessa now, and works with the farm animals of the hospital.
4. Prava, the Bird Boy
Prava was found in 2008 in Russia. He was a seven-year old boy at the time, living in a two-bedroom apartment. He lived with his mother, but he was confined in a room filled with bird cages. He cared for the dozens of his mother’s pet birds. His mother treated him as just another pet. And while he was never physically harmed, she never spoke to him. His only communication was with the birds, and he was not able to speak when they found him.
5. Shamdeo, India
The boy aged four years, was discovered in a forest in India in 1972. At the time, his skin was very dark, and he was playing with wolf cubs. He had sharpened teeth, long hooked fingernails, and fond of chicken-hunting. He bonded with dogs. In 1978, he was admitted to Mother Theresa’s Home for the Destitute and Dying in Luckhow. He was renamed to Pascal, and died in February 1985.
6. Marina Chapman, 1959, Colombia
Marina was one of the first feral children discovered. She was kidnapped in 1954 at just 5 years of age. She was later left in the jungle by her kidnappers, where she found a family of small capuchin monkeys. She lived with them for five years before she was discovered by hunters. When they found her, she ate berries, roots, and bananas dropped by the monkeys. She slept in holes in trees, and walked on all fours.
Her tragic story continues, as the hunters sold her into a brothel. She escaped, and lived as a street urchin, and was next enslaved by a mafia-style family. She was saved by a neighbor, and sent to Bogota to live with her daughter and son-in-law. They adopted Marina alongside their five natural children. When she was a teenager, she took a job as a nanny and moved to the UK in 1977, where she still lives.
7. Genie, USA, 1970
Genie is unique in terms she did not live with other animals. But she got her feral behavior because she was locked in a small room for 10 years. When she was a toddler, her father decided she was retarded, and restrainer her in a child’s toilet seat in a small room. She lived in solitary for more than 10 years, and even slept in the chair. She was 13 years when her mother turned up at social services in 1970. They noticed her condition. She moved in a strange sideways bunny-walk, and couldn’t speak or make any sound. She was a research object for years. She was later transferred to a private facility for mentally underdeveloped adults.
8. The Leopard boy
The boy was two years old when he was taken by a leopardess in 1912. Three years later, a hunter killed his mother, and found three cubs, one of which was the five years old boy. He was returned to his family. When he was found, he had animalistic behavior, including biting and fighting with everyone who approached him. He even caught and ate the village fowl raw. He learned to speak later, but he become gradually blind from cataracts.
9. Ivan Mishukov
Ivan is another of the feral children abused by his family. He ran away when he was just 4 years old, and lived on the streets begging. He developed a relationship with a pack of wild dogs, and then started sharing his food with the dogs. He eventually become a pack leader, and lived two years with the dogs. Because he was begging for food, he had established language skills. This helped him recover faster after he was found in 1998.
10. Kamala and Amala
Kamala and Amala are the two most popular feral children. They were found in 1920. Kamala was 8 years old, and Amala was 12 years old at the time. The girls were hideous looking, ran on all fours, and didn’t look at all like human.