Have kids really been raised by wolves?

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Jason Daley

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Have any children really been raised by wolves?

From the founding of Rome to The Jungle Book to Girls Gone Wild, humans have been fascinated by feral children. There are numerous tales of toddlers taking refuge near or among wolves and other animals, including gazelles and cows. Some might even be true. Recent accounts that seem to check out include the case of John Ssabunnya, who in the late eighties, at the age of four, shadowed a troop of green vervet monkeys in Uganda for an estimated three years, feeding off their leftovers. And in 1998, Russian police captured six-year-old dog-boy Ivan Mishukov, a street kid who had become the alpha male of a pack of mutts outside Moscow. But according to Michael Newton, author of Savage Girls and Wild Boys, the most credible story of children being actively fed and protected by wolves comes from the jungles of Bengal, where in 1920 two girls—an 18-month-old and an eight-year-old—were pulled from a den. Dubbed Amala and Kamala, they were taken to an orphanage, where, according to some sources, they walked on all fours, ate only raw meat, and (naturally) howled at the moon.