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'Irkutsk has the sins, the false hair, and the perfume for which Paris is noted'
Mrs John Clarence Lee, 1914

‘Mowgli girl’ who survived alone aged 4 in bear infested wild for 12 nights becomes young ballerina

By Valeria Sukhova
24 October 2018

Amazing Karina Chikitova in 2014 captured the hearts of people around the world after staying alive with her dog in wild: now she is thriving.

Amazing Karina Chikitova in 2014 captured the hearts of people around the world.

Now aged eight, little Karina has had an adventurous life. 

Visitors to Yakutsk, capital of the diamond-rich Sakha republic of Siberia, can see a statue at the city’s airport dedicated to her and her loving puppy Naida who helped her survive after she got lost in the forest. 

She had followed her father into the dangerous taiga - but became hopelessly disoriented. 

Searches failed to find her for almost two weeks. 

The mongrel had finally left her being in her makeshift bed of long grass to go and summon help. 

Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova - first from the left

She is a talented young ballerina with a desire to star sun Swan Lake on a big stage one day in the future. 

She had clung to the animal during cold nights to stay warm, and survived by drinking river water and eating berries. 

When she was found her rescuer Artyom Borisov said: ‘She was sitting deep in deergrass, completely silent. 

‘I didn’t actually notice her. She saw me and stretched her arms forward. 

‘I picked her up, she was so tiny, so light, like fluff. She didn’t have shoes on. 

‘Her face, legs and arms were bitten to blood. She was dead scared. 

‘Straight away she asked to for water and food, and burst into tears. 

‘To be honest I could hardly hold back tears, too.’

Girl lost for 12 days in Siberian wilderness looks forward to Xmas with dog that saved her


Girl lost for 12 days in Siberian wilderness looks forward to Xmas with dog that saved her


Girl lost for 12 days in Siberian wilderness looks forward to Xmas with dog that saved her


First picture of the hero dog which saved three year old miracle girl Karina

‘I picked her up, she was so tiny, so light, like fluff. She didn’t have shoes on.'

Later Karina said: ‘It was Naida who rescued me. I was really, really scared. 

‘But when we were going to sleep I hugged her, and together we were warm.’

Few girls her age have statues dedicated to them, but Karina also has a children’s book inspired by her unintended adventure. 

‘I’ve seen the statue at the airport,’ she said proudly. We look very much alike, specially Naida’.

Four years on, she is an icon on her Sakha homeland but is also thriving. 

She is a talented young ballerina with a desire to star sun Swan Lake on a big stage one day in the future. 

Karina - a native Evenk who will be nine in December - is a second year student at a special ballet boarding school in Yakutsk, some 557 kilometres from her grandparents’ village of Olom.

KArina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova draws


Karina's picture

‘I like to study, even though sometimes it’s hard….'

The Siberian Times caught up with her here. 

'When she just started her classes, Karina was very reserved, she tried to stay away and looked around with her big scared eyes,” said Ekaterina Ammosova, head of the school dormitory.

‘She has changed so much and became a lot more open, sociable, friendly and independent. She made many friends who love her lots.’

Karina - who has a loving guardian Albina Cherepanova, 59, in Yakutsk and returns to her mother Talina, 25, for long summer holidays - said: ‘I like to study, even though sometimes it’s hard….

‘I’ve already performed on stage. I want to become a ballerina and dance Swan Lake. 

‘I learned how to play the jaw harp and piano.’

‘I’ve already performed on stage. I want to become a ballerina and dance Swan Lake.'

She is also learning English, and is a talented young artist. 

Her ballet teacher Dariya Ivanova, 66, said: ‘Karina is very strong physically. She is extremely flexible, with strong legs.’

The teacher says she is ‘very expressive, passionate about dancing, hardworking and diligent’.

Dariya said: ‘She has a chance for a future….

‘Any judgments can be done when girls are finishing the 4th grade – by that age its clear if they become professional ballerinas or a dance teacher will be the top of their careers.’

Albina is keen to help Karina find her way in future. 

Karina Chikitova and Albina Cherepanova


Karina Chikitova and Albina Cherepanova

Karina and her loving guardian Albina Cherepanova.

She originally met the child because her own grandson asked to meet this famous girl after reading the book about her. 

‘I realised at this moment that the girl needed help and was very happy to keep her in Yakutsk,’ she said. 

‘I am proud of her being able to study at the ballet school.’

Albina says that Karina ‘desperately’ misses her mother - who looks after the dog that saved her daughter - but is delighted at the girl’s progress since she came to Yakutsk. 

One option is to try and raise funds for Karina to study at a leading ballet school in future. 

Karina Chikitova and her monument


Monument to Karina Chikitova

Visitors to Yakutsk, capital of the diamond-rich Sakha republic of Siberia, can see a statue at the city’s airport dedicated to her and her loving puppy Naida.

Another rescuer said at the time Karina was saved: ‘The forest around Olom is full of bears…..

‘The thought of bears immediately switched to another concern: somewhere in the forest was this helpless child.’

Her dog had stayed with her nine days before finding its way back to the village. 

The animal could not show the way back to Karina again but the fact it returned led rescuers to believe she was still alive and they redoubled the searches. 

When she was reunited with the dog, Karina's first words to her pet were: 'Why did you leave me?'

Yet the dog's action almost certainly saved the child's life.

‘Karina is very strong physically. She is extremely flexible, with strong legs.’

Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova - first from the left


Karina Chikitova


Karina Chikitova

Comments (6)

Beautifull story.
Best wishes for Karina.
The only missing thing is a picture of her dog.
Carlos, Caracas, Venezuela
11/12/2018 06:17
2
0
very interesting fact. god bless her.
Imran Hussain, India
27/11/2018 00:38
2
0
Awww, what a great story...with such a happy ending...
Kerry, Grande Prairie, Canada
22/11/2018 22:12
5
0
Amazing little girl!
That really tugs on the heart strings.I really wish the best for her future.So cute!
James, Alaska
25/10/2018 03:30
19
0
Oh little girl Karina ..so happy to see her ! ...what a great moving story . We love her and her family ..(with Naïda of course !) She has becomed a nice lady with artist skill. Yes Karina study is hard but it is so... interesting ! Go...
Beautiful statue of both is the better welcome to those arriving in Yakutz ! Thanks to Siberian Times for this article !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
25/10/2018 00:26
19
1
Que historia más bonita, es importante resaltar el instinto de la perra en darla calor.
Parece mentira que los perros tienen una ley natural de salvarnos de las inclemencias de la naturaleza.
También es importante denunciar a los Humanos que maltratan a los cánidos en peleas.
Juan, España
24/10/2018 21:11
13
0
1

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