A 3-year-old boy is being dubbed as ‘Mowgli’ after miraculously surviving three days in a remote forest in Russia’s Siberia, braving near-freezing temperatures and a woodland teaming with wolves and bears.
Tserin Dopchut survived by eating his own supply of chocolate and on his good sense finding a dry makeshift bed under a larch tree.
His rescue was personally announced by the head of Tuva Republic, Sholban Kara-Ool, who blogged: “Hurray! Little Tserin has been found alive!”
“They discovered him earlier this morning after a search in the taiga some 3 kilometres from the village of Khut,” he was quoted as saying by the Siberian Times.
A huge search had been launched for the boy who disappeared after playing with dogs near his family home in the forests of Piy-Khemsky district.
He may have followed a young puppy into the woodland despite the watchful eye of his great grandmother -- who was in charge of him when he was lost.
He was eventually found on Wednesday after 72 hours in the wilderness.
More than 100 people including Russian Emergency Ministry’s rescuers, police, volunteers, as well as close and distant family members joined the frantic hunt. A helicopter also flew over a search area of some 120 square km.
Regional emergencies’ chief Ayas Saryglar said, “Of course, 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. 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,” he said.
Regional head Kara-Ool said, “He (the boy) recognised his uncle’s voice calling his name, and called back. Once his uncle hugged him, the little boy asked if his toy car was okay. He said that he had some chocolate which he ate during the first day.”
“Then he found a dry place under a larch tree and slept there between the roots. The whole village is throwing a party to celebrate his survival. He was given the second name of Mowgli,” Kara-Ool said.
Searches had gone on day and night. His home village Khut has a population of around 400. There are 63 houses, and locals all joined together to hunt for the missing child. Doctors say he has suffered no serious damage from his ordeal.