A three-year-old boy is safe and well after spending three nights alone in a Siberian forest prowled by wolves and bears. Tserin Dopchut, from the remote Tuva region, was staying with his great-grandmother when he wandered off without her noticing.
Soon he was lost in the woods, where temperatures can plunge below zero, as a massive search got underway involving 100 people including friends, family, local police and the Russian Emergency Ministry.
It is thought Tserin survived by eating pieces of chocolate he had in his pocket when he wandered off. He slept beneath a larch tree on a makeshift bed and was found by his own uncle three days later.
Now the little boy, who suffered no serious ill effects, is being dubbed “Mowgli” after the character in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.
Head of Tuva’s Civil Defence and Emergencies agency Ayas Saryglar said: “The situation was very dangerous. The River Mynas is fast and cold. If a small child fell in, it would be certain death. There are wolves, and bears in the forest.
“The bears are now fattening for the winter,” Saryglar told the Siberian Times. “They can attack anything that moves. In addition, it is warm during the day, but at night there are even frosts. If we consider that the kid disappeared during the day, he was not properly dressed – only a shirt and shoes, no coat.”
The case echoes that of three-year-old Karina Chikitova, from the village of Olom, also in Siberia, who survived for 11 nights alone in the forest by eating berries and cuddling her puppy for warmth. The puppy then went for help and led rescuers back to Karina, who like Tserin suffered no serious ill-effects.
And in Japan, two parents who abandoned their seven-year-old son as a “punishment” were told they would not face charges. Yamato Tanooka went missing for six days in May 2016 but survived after finding an army barracks in which to sleep.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 22, 2016