The story of a girl found living with a pack of wild monkeys in a wildlife sanctuary in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh might not be true, according to police, forest officials, and other experts.
On Friday, authorities rubbished the news that the girl, who has been dubbed “Mowgli” because of the similarities with the feral child protagonist from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book,” was brought up by monkeys living in the Katarniyaghat wildlife sanctuary.
The unidentified 8-years-old girl became an internet sensation after her story received worldwide coverage Thursday. Forest officials found the girl two months ago during a routine patrol in the sanctuary near the Nepalese border. Local media reports said that the young girl didn’t appear to understand any language and was walking on all fours. She also screeched like monkeys when officers tried to communicate with her, local newspaper Times of India reported.
“It’s not possible that a girl spends years in the forest and no staff or hundreds of cameras installed for security and animal census notice her. She might have been dropped here sometime before being spotted by the patrol team,” divisional Forest Officer Gyan Prakash Singh told another local paper Hindustan Times Friday.
Paediatrician KK Verma also raised doubts about the child being raised by monkeys, adding that the girl might need psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
“The girl might have been left in the jungle by her parents because of mental illness. But it was probably not long before police team rescued her. The theory that she was brought up monkeys seems absurd,” he reportedly said.
While many reports earlier claimed that the girl was spotted with monkeys by the patrol team, Sarbajeet Yadav, an official who was in the rescue team, said: “She was found near Khapda forest outpost. There were no monkeys around. She refused to come with us initially, but cold and hunger probably drew her to us.”
Chief medical superintendent DK Singh told the media that there is a possibility that the girl imitated the monkeys in the forest.
“She might have seen monkeys screaming and eating during her stay in the forest and she imitated this, as any other child of her age will do,” he said.
Police are reportedly investigating the case and trying to find the identity of the girl that could help them locate her family. Currently, a non-profit is taking care of the girl and helping the child recover and relate to human activities.