Borneo| Malaysian authorities have announced this morning that they had finally been able to capture the “feral child of Borneo” that had been reported by hundreds of different villagers of the region over the last two last two years and had become the focus of the local media recently. The young boy had been reported to accompany a group of Bornean ourangutans that seemed to have adopted him as one of there own.
“We are trying to establish the actual age and identity of the boy” explains Osman Mahmat Rahman, public relations officer for the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP). “The boy is extremely nervous and aggressive when approached by humans and that made his capture quite complicated, especially since the other ourangutans attempted vigorously to defend him. We had to “tranquilize” three of the adult apes using darts filled with sedatives, before we could lay our hands on the child. We really went to great lengths to make sure we did not injure him during the operation. The boy was immediately taken to the hospital and was put under the custody of agents from the Social Welfare Department.”
A preliminary evaluation realized by doctors at the Borneo Medical Center, allowed to determine that the boy was in suprisingly good health considering the circumstances, having grown rather normally and showing no signs of malnutrition. The observations also show that he had probably been living with the group of primates for at least two or three years, as he seems to have forgotten all previous forms of human socialisation.
“For now, the identity of the boy and the circumstances under which he found himself with this group of primates remain a mystery” states Aisyah Megat, a social worker who had the occasion of observing the child for a few hours. “We cannot say yet, whether he was victim of an accident or of negligence, all we know is that he is between four and seven years old, and look in good shape. What we really care about for now is to make sure that he is healthy and that he is able to gradually return to a “normal” human life. He is obviously very stressed at the moment, so we’re trying to confort him and make him feel more secure.”
Other alleged cases of feral children raised by primates have been documented in recent years. One of the most mediatized was Belo, the Nigerian Chimp Boy in 1996, who was about two years of age and had allegedly been raised by chimpanzees for a year and a half. Another case worthy of comparison is that of John Ssebunya in Uganda, who was found in 1991 after being raised by monkeys for several years in the jungle.