A girl who is estimated to be between 8 and 12 years old was found by police with a group of monkeys in a forest in Uttar Pradesh, part of the Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary, which is situated on the Indian border to Nepal. When the police grabbed her, the monkeys attacked.
The BBC reports that the girl, who has been nicknamed “Forest Durga” in reference to a Hindu goddess, had been reported by woodcutters who saw her living with the pack of monkeys. The monkeys tried to prevent her being taken when authorities arrived. Police officer Dinesh Tripathi described the scene to the Associated Press, saying, “When he [another officer] called the girl, the monkeys attacked him but he was able to rescue the girl. He sped away with her in his police car while the monkeys gave chase.”
When she was brought in to the hospital in January, the girl was malnourished and had long nails and wounds on her body. Doctors could not ascertain how long she’d been living in the forest. According to ABC News, she initially moved on her hands and feet, and ate food off the floor, but with treatment has begun to walk and eat normally. D.K. Singh, chief medical superintendent of the government run hospital she was brought to says, “She is still not able to speak, but understands whatever you tell her and even smiles.”
Singh says that before treatment her behavior was quite different. “The way she moved, even her eating habits were like that of an animal. She would throw food on the ground and eat it directly with her mouth, without lifting it with her hands. She used to move around using only her elbows and her knees.”
Authorities are searching for the girl’s parents and searching missing children’s lists. She will likely be transferred to a home for juveniles when her health has improved if she cannot be identified.