MOSCOW (AFP) - A three-year-old boy was recovering in hospital on Friday (Sept 23) after surviving the cold alone for three days in the wolf-infested Siberian wilderness, officials said.
Toddler Tserin Dopchut was found in a forest 3km from his village on Wednesday following a major search operation, reportedly living off a handful of chocolate after going missing while playing with the family dogs.
"Doctors say that he has recovered from shock and that his condition is getting closer to satisfactory," Ms Dolaana Salchak, a spokesman for the regional authorities, told AFP.
"He is eating and despite getting cold he contracted no illnesses."
The head of the Tuva region, on the border with Mongolia, wrote on social media that the young child was eventually discovered after responding to the calls of his uncle as he scoured the area for him alongside rescuers.
"Well done, little chap!" regional chief Sholban Kara-ool wrote.
"He said he ate all the chocolate he had in his pocket and then relaxed and went to sleep. It turns out the little nipper found a dry place under a larch tree and slept there."
The Tuva region reportedly boasts one of the highest population of wolves in Russia, with the numbers of predators growing sharply in the 1990s after the authorities halted programmes to cull them.
Temperatures in the area at night are currently getting down to under five deg C.
Dopchut's ordeal is not the first time that a small child has made a remarkable survival after wandering off into the Siberian forests.
In 2014, four-year-old Karina Chikitova was found emaciated but alive after surviving off berries for 11 days in the woods of northern Russia.