08/04/2017 08:18 SAST | Updated 08/04/2017 08:19 SAST

Police Find Young Girl Living With Monkeys In A Forest In India

Local news outlets have dubbed her “Girl Mowgli.”

Police in India are searching for the parents of a young girl who was found in a forest and appeared to have been living with monkeys, according to local news reports.

Villagers notified police after they saw the girl in a remote forest in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, northern India, in January, the Hindustan Times reports. When police discovered her, she had no clothes, appeared to be tanned from prolonged exposure to the sun and had claw-like nails.

The girl was with a group of monkeys, with whom she appeared to be very comfortable, when a police officer attempted to rescue her, according to the Times of India. The monkeys and the girl screamed when the officer detained her.

"When [the officer] called the girl, the monkeys attacked him but he was able to rescue the girl," police officer Dinesh Tripathi told The Associated Press on Thursday. "He sped away with her in his police car while the monkeys gave chase."

Officials took the girl to a hospital in Bahraich, where she is reportedly still being treated.

D.K. Singh, the hospital's chief medical superintendent, told the Hindustan Times that the girl could not speak or understand any language. News agencies report that she appears to be between 8 and 12 years old.

"She has spent many years with animals and, so, behaved like them," Singh told the Hindustan Times.

When she was first rescued, the girl ran using her arms and legs and ate food directly off the floor using only her mouth, according the AP. Caretakers have reportedly taught her to walk upright and use her hands when eating. Officials said she could respond to some human interactions.

She still cannot speak, Singh told the Hindustan Times, but "she understands signals and is able to identify the word boy, nurse and other medical staff."

"It seems the girl had been abandoned in the forest area at an early age," he added.

Local news outlets have dubbed the orphaned child "Girl Mowgli," based on the Rudyard Kipling novel and subsequent movies "The Jungle Book."

Police officers were searching through missing children reports in an attempt to identify the girl, according to the AP.