'Siberian Mowgli' Emerges; Boy Lived In Russian Forest For 16 Years

Sep 11, 2013 | Updated Sep 11, 2013

Russian officials near the town of Belokurikha, in southern Siberia, have discovered a 20-year-old man who appears to have lived in the forest for the past 16 years.

Dubbed the "Siberian Mowgli" in homage to the boy in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book," the forest-dweller had been living in a mud hut in the forest since 1997, the year his family made a conscious decision to leave society, reports AFP.

His parents appear to have abandoned him in May of this year, leaving the man to fend for himself.

“He has no education, no social skills and no ideas about the world beyond the forest,” said Roman Fomin, a prosecutor in Belokuriha, to Russia Today.

Oddly, however, he does understand at least rudimentary English, thanks to a dictionary his family brought with them when they left society behind.

"I'm living well thank you," he told The Siberian Times in an interview. "We are living well. This is the reality we have that we live here, and it's quite a good reality."

A local woman, concerned the man would not survive the Siberian winter on his own, reportedly brought him to the attention of local authorities. After a brief encounter, the man then fled back to his hut in the forest, where RIA Novosti reports he is believed to be "getting ready for winter, collecting firewood.”

Due to his unique situation, the man does not have the proper documents required to secure him state support. A Russian court is expected to issue him an ID, after which the prosecutor's office has said it will "definitely help" him.

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