“Feral Children” is the latest photo-project by German-born, London-based photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten. This newest series of staged photos takes a darker look at growing up under unusual circumstances. Fullerton-Batten rose to fame after her “Teenage Stories” series in 2005, which explored a girl’s transition to womanhood.
‘The Girl With No Name’ inspired me to search further for other cases of feral children,” Fullerton-Batten told Feature Shoot. “I found that there were quite a number of these. Some cases resulted from children becoming lost, snatched by wild animals, and especially those left or neglected by their parents. The documented cases exist over four of the five continents.”
1. Lobo Wolf Girl, Mexico, 1845-1852
In 1845 a girl was seen running on all fours with a pack of wolves attacking a herd of goats. A year later she was seen with the wolves eating a goat. She was captured but escaped. In 1852, she was seen yet again suckling two wolf cubs, but she ran into the woods. She was never seen again.
2. Oxana Malaya, Ukraine, 1991
Oxana was found living with dogs in a kennel in 1991. She was eight years old and had lived with the dogs for six years. Her parents were alcoholics and one night, they had left her outside. Looking for warmth, the three year old crawled into the farm kennel and curled up with the mongrel dogs, an act that probably saved her life. When discovered she behaved more like a dog than a human child. She ran on all fours, panted with her tongue out, bared her teeth and barked. Because of her lack of human interaction, she only knew the words “yes” and “no.”
Intensive therapy aided Oxana to learn basic social and verbal skills, but only with the ability of a five year old. Now 30 years old, she lives in a clinic in Odessa and works with the hospital’s farm animals under the supervision of her carers.