Russian toddler survives three days alone in the Siberian wilderness
MOSCOW // A toddler was recovering in hospital on Friday after surviving the cold and prowling wolves and bears for three days alone in the Siberian wilderness.
Tserin Dopchut, 3, was found in a forest three kilometres from his village on Wednesday following a major search operation. He went missing while playing with the family dogs and survived the near-freezing night-time temperatures by eating chocolate and finding a safe, dry place to sleep. He has already been dubbed Mowgli, after the boy in The Jungle Book who was raised by wolves.
“Doctors say that he has recovered from shock and that his condition is getting closer to satisfactory,” said Dolaana Salchak, a spokeswoman for the regional authorities. “He is eating and despite getting cold he contracted no illnesses.”
Tserin was discover when he esponded to the calls of his uncle as he scoured the area alongside more than rescuers and volunteers.
The head of the Tuva region, on the border with Mongolia, announced the rescue personally on social media.
“Well done, little chap!” wrote regional chief Sholban Kara-ool in his blog. “He said he ate all the chocolate he had in his pocket and then relaxed and went to sleep. It turns out the little nipper found a dry place under a larch tree and slept there.”
The Tuva region boasts one of the highest population of wolves in Russia, with the numbers of predators growing sharply in the 1990s after the authorities halted programmes to cull them.
Temperatures in the area at night are getting down to below 5° Celsius at this time of year.
“There are wolves and bears in the forest. The bears are fattening up for the winter. They can attack anything that moves,” said emergency services chief Ayas Saryglar.
Residents of Khut, Tserin’s home village, which has a population of about 400, were reportedly throwing a party to celebrate the boy’s rescue.
Tserin’s ordeal is not the first remarkable survival of a small child wandering off into the Siberian forests.
In 2014 four-year-old Karina Chikitova was found emaciated but alive after surviving off berries for 11 days in the woods of northern Russia.
* Agence France-Presse
Published: September 23, 2016 04:00 AM