Three-year-old Tserin Dopchut following his rescue Sholban Kara-Ool/ Facebook
A three-year-old boy has survived alone for three days in a remote forest in the Russian region of Siberia, braving near-freezing temperatures and woodland teaming with wolves and bears.
A major search was launched for Tserin Dopchut after he disappeared while playing with dogs near his family home in the small village of Khut in the Tuva republic’s Piy-Khemsky district.
Tserin was not wearing a coat and was carrying only a small bar of chocolate when he wandered into the taiga – snowy coniferous forest that covers large areas of Siberia – on 18 September.
More than 100 people were involved in the search including police and rescuers from the Russian Emergency Ministry, the Siberian Times reports.
A helicopter was also used to help explore the 120 square km search area.
Head of the Tuva republic, Sholban Kara-Ool, said the boy was finally found on Wednesday when he recognised his uncle’s voice calling his name and called back.
The regional emergencies’ chief, Ayas Saryglar, described the situation as “very dangerous”.
“There are wolves, and bears in the forest,” he told the Siberian Times. “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.”
The boy has been dubbed “Mowgli” by locals after the child-hero of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
“The whole village is throwing a party to celebrate his survival. He was given the second name of Mowgli,” said Mr Kara-Ool.
‘It is now predicted he will become a rescuer himself, because he showed incredible stamina for his age by surviving for so long alone in these cold woods.”
According to local media, doctors said the boy has not suffered any injury from the incident.
In June, a seven-year-old Japanese boy was found alive in bear-infested woods, six days after being left there by his parents as punishment for bad behaviour.
Yamato Tanooka’s parents initially said he had got lost before eventually admitting briefly abandoning him for being naughty.