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Russian Tarzan Found in Siberia After 16 Years in Forest

O. Naumkin

BARNAUL — Russian prosecutors said they have found a young man who was raised in a southern Siberian forest by reclusive parents and still lives in a dugout — all alone.

The 20-year-old told prosecutors in the Altai region that his parents unexpectedly abandoned him in May, a local prosecutor said Tuesday. The young man has no papers, but said he was born in 1993 near the village of Kaitanak in the southwestern Altai region, the prosecutor said.

"He has no education, no social skills and no ideas about the world beyond the forest," the prosecutor said, adding that the young man's parents had lived in the forest since 1997. "The young man is now still there, in his dugout, getting ready for winter, collecting firewood."

He said the local prosecutor's office would "definitely help" the young man once a local court issues him an ID.

The young man is not the only Russian child ever raised without social or even language skills. In Russia, they are dubbed "Mowgli children" after a character in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" who was raised by wild wolves.

In 2011, two "Mowgli" girls aged four and six were found in St. Petersburg. Raised by chronic alcoholics, they could not talk, had never eaten a hot meal, and expressed gratitude by licking the hands of caregivers.

In 2008, social workers in the central city of Volgograd found a boy, 6, whose mother kept him locked in their apartment building. The boy could not talk but chirped, imitating parrots that lived in the apartment.

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