A disabled Nigerian boy who was adopted and raised by chimpanzees for 18 months is now in a children?s home. He has been named Bello by the nursing staff. He was brought to them six years ago by hunters after being found with a chimpanzee family in a nearby forest.
They think he was about two years old when he was discovered. Bello is probably the son of nomadic ethnic Fulani people who travel through the region, says Abba Isa Muhammad, the home?s child welfare officer.
Bello is mentally and physically disabled, with a misshapen forehead, sloping right shoulder and protruding chest. Isa Muhammad thinks he was probably abandoned by his parents because of his disabilities. Abandonments of disabled children are common among the nomadic Fulani, who travel great distances across west Africa, and in most instances the children die. But in Bello?s case, he was adopted by a family of chimpanzees.
?We do not know exactly how long he would have been with the chimps. Based on the traits he exhibits, we estimate that he would have been adopted when he was no more than six months old and nursed by a nursing chimp,? Isa Muhammad says.
When he was first brought in, Bello, who is now about the size and weight of a four-year-old, walked in a chimpanzee-like fashion, moving on his hind legs but dragging his arms on the ground, says the home?s matron, A?isha Ibrahim. Today he still makes chimpanzee-like leaps, and claps his hands over his head repeatedly, cupping his hands, the way monkeys do, He doesn?t speak but makes chimpanzee-like noises.
?When Bello was brought here in 1996, he used to walk like a monkey, with his feet and hands on the ground. He would jump and grunt or squeak like a chimpanzee,? Ibrahim says. ?At first he was very restless. He would leap about at night from bed to bed in the dormitory where we put him with the other children. He would disturb the other children and smash and throw things. Now he is much calmer.? The staff are all fond of the boy.
Isa Muhammad says they initially hoped someone might come forward and claim the boy, but they now realize that?s not going to happen. He says, ?We are trying to see what we can do for him. We do not know how many years he will have to be here.?
See news story, ?Wolf Boy Moves Back Home?, click here.
To learn about other strange beings, read ?Mothman & Other Curious Encounters? by Loren Coleman, click here.
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