Animal Rescue

This week, the story re-broke of a kidnapped girl saved by a pride of lions. Here are other real life tales of animal rescue

1. Marina Chapman, Adopted by Capuchin Monkeys

Aged five years old, Marina Chapman was kidnapped, then abandoned in the Colombian jungle. She was taken in by a group of Capuchin monkeys, who she lived with for five years. The monkeys taught her to survive in the wild, how to catch birds and animals with her bear hands.

Eventually she rejoined the human world when she was taken by hunters and sold to a brothel from which she eventually escaped.

2. Yang Yun saved by a Beluga Whale

In 2009, diver Yang Yun was taking part in a free diving competition at Polar Land in Harbin, in north east China. Competitors were to sink to the bottom of the arctic pool amongst the beluga whales, and stay there for as long as possible. But when Yun tried to head back to the surface, she found her legs were crippled by cramps.

“I began to choke and sank even lower and I thought that was it for me – I was dead. Until I felt this incredible force under me driving me to the surface,” she explained

Then Mila, the Beluga whale, had seen Yun was in difficulties and using her sensitive dolphin-like nose guided Yun safely to the surface.

3. Group of swimmers saved from a shark by dolphins

A group of lifeguards were swimming off the New Zealand coast in 2004, and were startled to be suddenly surrounded by a pod of dolphins. The dolphins circled the humans closely, splashing with their fins for about 40 minutes.

When one of the swimmers, Rob Howe managed to separate from the main group, he saw a distinctive arc of a great white shark moving in the water, an arc which began to move towards the main group. The dolphins “went into hyperdrive,” said Howes.

“I would suggest they were creating a confusion screen around the girls. It was just a mass of fins, backs and … human heads.”

The shark left as a rescue boat arrived and the dolphins swam with the group back to shore.

Howes didn’t tell the other about the shark until the next day.

“I came out of that water and I was stunned. I had no idea how to relay what had happened and how to deal with it,” said Howes.


Lina Caldarar lost her son Traian when she fled from her violent husband. Three years later she recognised him on a television news report, he had been found by a shepherd in a cardboard box, malnourished, he was the size of a five year old and barely alive.

Lina thinks that he son had also run away from his violent father, doctors say that he wouldn’t have been able to survive alone and may have been taken in by wild dogs in the Transylvanian forests.

Mother and son have since been reunited, and Traian is adjusting well to living back with his family.

In Misiones, in Argentina, a boy was found asleep surrounded by eight wild cats, who had been keeping him warm and feeding him scraps of food.

Police found the boy’s father, who said he had lost his son while searching for cardboard to sell. He told police that the cats had already been very protective of his son.

There are numerous stories of children being saved and raised by wolves.

Romulus and Remus, the twin founders of Rome, were said to have been abandoned as children and had to be suckled by a wolf until they were discovered by a wandering shepherd.

More recently one of the most well documented cases is that of the “wolf children” Kamala and Amala, who were found in the jungles of Godamuri in 1920. The girls, aged around 3 and 8, had been living with a she-wolf and her pack. Reverend J.A.L. Singh, who found the girls, took them back to his orphanage, and tried to get them used to human surroundings.

The girls made some progress but eventually both died, leaving the reverend to wonder “if the right thing to do would have been to leave these children in the wild where I found them.”

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