Indian girl found after years living with monkeys in jungle

A young girl is learning what it means to live like a human after spending years being raised by a community of monkeys in northern India before she was discovered.

The girl, who has since been named Durga after the Hindu goddess of destruction, has drawn comparisons with Mowgli, an Indian boy from Rudyard Kipling's fictional The Jungle Book.

In that tale, Mowgli was raised by wolves in the jungle - but in this real-life story, Durga had been spotted by police in the company of a trio of monkeys who were believed to have adopted her.

Durga and her monkey companions fled deeper into the jungle after police tried to make contact - but the officers pursued her, managing to bring her to a halt and take her to hospital.

The girl, who was found by police eight weeks ago but her story only made public recently, is thought to be somewhere between and 8 and 10-years-old.

Medical staff have spoken with local media about their amazement at her animal-like characteristics and aggressive nature when she was first brought in.

"When she arrived here, her hair was dishevelled and she was not wearing any clothes. She was very thin and weak, and it seemed like she had not eaten for many days," Bahraich District Hospital chief medical superintendent Dr D.K. Singh said.

"Her behaviour was totally like an animal. The way she moved, even her eating habits were like that of an animal. She would throw food on the ground and eat it directly with her mouth, without lifting it with her hands. She used to move around using only her elbows and her knees."

However, after weeks of incomprehensible muttering and resistance to human interaction, Durga can now function in ways resembling the usual human manner.

"She is in a condition where she can walk normally herself and eats food using her own hands," Dr Singh said.

"She cannot speak still, but is able to understand us and uses gestures to communicate. She also smiles."

Psychologists who have been working with Durga have speculated that she has had contact with humans before, given how quickly her responses to human interaction are improving.