A young girl discovered in a forest in northern India is said to behave like a primate, having reportedly been living with monkeys.
Believed to be between 10 and 12 years old, the youngster was found naked and emaciated, in Katarniaghat forest, Uttar Pradesh, by a group of woodcutters who alerted the authorities. She was unkempt and wounds on her body.
Doctors are reportedly now trying to look after the girl and humanise her behaviour, while police are reviewing records of missing children in an attempt to identify her.
The woodcutters said "the girl was naked and was very comfortable in the company of monkeys,” police officer Dinesh Tripathi told The Associated Press. He continued: “When they tried to rescue the girl, they were chased away by the monkeys."
An attending police officer was attacked by the monkeys but was able to rescue the girl, according to Mr Tripathi. “He sped away with her in his police car while the monkeys gave chase," he added.
The girl reportedly behaved in a similar fashion to a monkey during her time in hospital, where she was placed two months ago.
She was unable to communicate and “screamed loudly if doctors tried to reach out to her,” according to Dr DK Singh of the Bahraich District Hospital, the New Indian Express reported. Other doctors reported hearing her make monkey-like noises.
“The way she moved, even her eating habits were like that of an animal,” Dr Singh told AP. “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.”
Medical staff reported that the girl’s behaviour made treatment difficult.
Other officials speculated she had been living in the forest since birth, though the precise length of time is currently and known and will likely be difficult to quantify.
However, the girl’s condition appears to have improved after several weeks in hospital. She has begun to walk and eat normally.
"She is still not able to speak, but understands whatever you tell her and even smiles," Dr Singh said.
If the girl’s condition continues to improve and she is given a clean bill of health, responsibility for her will likely be handed to social services.