Police in northern India have rescued a young girl who is believed to have been living with monkeys in the jungle for a number of years.
Doctors at a hospital in Bahraich, south-east of New Delhi, said the girl was gradually shedding her animal-like traits and "becoming human" after she was found by police eight weeks ago and brought in for treatment.
She is unable to communicate except through irritable, unintelligible muttering, said Dr Arun Lal, the district chief medical officer who visited her on Thursday.
Believed to be around 8 to 10 years old, she walked on all fours for the first few weeks in hospital, but now she is standing on two legs and walking around normally, Dr Lal said.
Initially, he said, she was "highly aggressive", shunned human contact and was constantly trying to flee the hospital and had to be kept in close confinement.
Recently she started responding to humans around her and occasionally even held hands with some of the doctors and nurses attending on her.
The girl had been "horribly week" and malnourished after she being rescued by police in late January from a troop of monkeys in Katarniaghat Wildlife sanctuary in Bahraich district near the Ganges River, her body covered with wounds and sores.
But according to Dr Lal she was now consuming vast quantities of food and was in "much better physical shape".
A team of psychologists and physiotherapists are treating the girl and the hospital will soon conduct a radiological test on her to try and determine her true age, Dr Lal said.
He dismissed any similarity between the girl and Mowgli, the ‘Man Cub’ in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle book’ who was reared by wolves in an Indian jungle, as ‘fictional nonsense’.
Initial psychological assessments he said indicated that she had probably had early human contact before living with monkeys but it was difficult, for now, to determine the time frame.
“The fact that she is responding to humans shows that she has some memory of living with them," Mr Lal said.
The girl, whom doctors have named her Durga, after the Hindu warrior goddess of destruction, was rescued after being spotted in the company of three moneys by a police posse on a routine patrol in the wildlife sanctuary.
When one of the policemen approached them, the girl and monkeys screeched and tried running away.
But he chased them and successfully corralled her and deposited her in hospital.