The story went a little bit like this:
When a policeman in Uttar Padesh, India, stumbled upon an 11-year-old girl living in the forest with a group of monkeys, she was almost immediately dubbed “Mowgli Girl”. She could not speak, her behaviour was notably abnormal. She was scared of humans, it seemed. She did not want to be saved, she was naked, she often walked on all fours and ate directly from her mouth.
She was a young girl rescued from the depths of the forest after being raised by a troop of monkeys.
At least, that’s the story that was told this week, when news broke that an 11-year-old girl had been rescued from a forest in Northern India back in January. The world was fascinated by her. She simply wasn’t like the rest of us. What had she seen? How had she survived?
Days on from the reports of Mowgli Girl and her monkeys, it appears the story is far darker than it seems.
Now, forestry officers have said it would have been impossible for the girl to live in the forest and be raised by monkeys for so long undetected because the area is regularly patrolled.
“It’s not possible that a girl could spend years in the forest, and no member of staff or hundreds of cameras installed for security and animal census notices her”, regional officer Gyan Praksh Singh said in a statement, according to The Independent.
Instead, doctors and forestry officers say it is far more likely the young girl, who is severely mentally and physically disabled, was abandoned in the forest by her carers.
Dr DK Singh, the chief medical officer of the hospital where she has been receiving treatment also told The Guardian the story had taken on a life of its own, and by their own assessments, it was highly unlikely she was raised by the monkeys.
“In India, people do not prefer a female child and she is mentally not sound,” DK Singh said. “So all the more [evidence] she was left there.”
Doctors also said the improvement in the young girl since being found is remarkable, and therefore lead them to believe she had in fact been raised by humans.
Dr Alok Chantia, an anthropologist with Lucknow University, told The Indian Express he has analysed footage of the young girl’s movements and concluded she exudes no signs characteristic of someone who had been living with monkeys.
“She walks erect. If she had been living with monkeys since birth, she would not be able to do so. Her knees are also not twisted like that of monkeys,” he told the paper.
Doctors are yet to uncover what kind of disability she has and who she may belong to.