MUMBAI: Stories of children raised by animals have fascinated us for many centuries; Mowgli from The Jungle Book, the myth of Romulus and Remus, and even Tarzan. Do wild children who have been reported to be brought up by untamed animals actually exist, or are they merely folklores or elaborate hoaxes? On Animal Planet’s RAISED WILD, discover the shocking phenomenon and horrifying truth of real life feral children who have actually been bred by undomesticated animals.
A three-part special, join anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota as she sets off on the trails of these extraordinary youths to uncover the actuality of their existence and unravel their remarkable stories. From the deep jungles of Uganda, to the rural heartlands of Ukraine, and to one of the most isolated places on Earth, the island of Fiji, follow Mary-Ann on RAISED WILD as her quest to separate fact from fiction takes her across three continents to disentangle the truth about these wild children, who live and survive on the very edge of humanity. RAISED WILD premieres on Sunday, January 26 at 7 pm. The episodes will repeat the following Sunday, February 2 at 11 am.
RAISED WILD begins with the search for John Ssabunnya, the alleged ‘monkey boy’ of Uganda. Reported to be living deep in heart of these East African forests, it has been described that he not only moves and sounds like our cousins of the animal kingdom, but also displays numerous monkey-like characteristics such as his nocturnal behaviour, his fur-like, hairy body, and his ability to survive solely on fruits and plants, a diet that is highly identical to that of Africa’s native vervet monkeys. With Charles Darwin’s extensive study of men evolving from primates and centuries of research and scientific theories closely linking human beings to these creatures, is it possible that ‘monkey humans’ really do exist?
RAISED WILD then continues with the investigation of one of the most infamous cases of feral children in Kiev, Ukraine, where a girl called Oxana Malaya has been reported to astoundingly exhibit dog-like behaviour; barking, panting, snarling, jumping and running on all fours amid a pack of untamed dogs, and feeding on dead animals when hunger strikes. Is this ‘dog girl’ a well-conceived fable or a fact? Just how did she end up in the care of these animals, picked up their habits and managed to survive for so long as one of them, away from civilisation for years? Follow Mary-Ann as she scours the country to unriddle the mystery, travelling far and wide from Kiev to Kherson to Odessa and even to Novaya Blagoveschenka, the village where Oxana is believed to have been born.
RAISED WILD ends in Fiji with possibly one of the strangest tales of wild children. As a child, ‘bird boy’ Sujit Kumar was supposedly kept and raised in a coop full of chickens for a few years by his poverty-stricken parents, for reasons unknown, and was cited to have then continued living his life being tied to a wall in the corner of a home for the aged for almost 25 years. Having being amongst chickens for so long, he apparently started to behave like them; pecking on the ground for food, clucking, squawking, screeching occasionally and lashing out when people try to touch him. Who is this ‘bird boy’ and how credible is his story? Join Mary-Ann as she digs deep to delve into the truth of the mysterious and disturbing world of savage feral youths. What is the likelihood that these wild children are mere figments of imagination? Is it even possible for animals to raise human beings? Are these children so far gone that it is too late for them to blend back into society and lead normal lives? How many more of such youths are out there? Find out on the following episodes of RAISED WILD:
MONKEY BOY OF UGANDA: Mary-Ann journeys to equatorial Africa to uncover the truth behind the rumour of young boy living with monkeys. In 1992, a young boy was discovered in the jungle acting disturbingly similar to a monkey. Rumours circulated that the boy screeched like a monkey, squatted instead of stood and was covered in hair from head to toe. Join Mary-Ann as she investigates to determine if this child really could have been raised by monkeys, and if so, how he survived in the wild.
DOG GIRL OF UKRAINE: Mary-Anna journeys to Ukraine to uncover the truth behind the incredible story of Oxana Malaya, a young girl allegedly raised by dogs. Born during the Soviet era to alcoholic parents, young Oxana is said to have turned to the family dogs for warmth and love. Years later, she reportedly was acting exactly like a dog, a claim supported by compelling video footage. How might a child recover from such beginnings? Can her feral behaviour fade with time?
BIRD BOY OF FIJI: Mary-Ann travels to Fiji to uncover the shocking truth behind the story of the Bird Boy of Fiji. Rumours circulate that police discovered the small boy while he was squawking, flapping his arms and pecking at his food. Villagers claim the child’s parents kept him locked under the house with the family chickens, and it was his years spent with the birds that affected his development. Can this child recover from such an upbringing?