Wow & how to help

The series Raised Wild continues in the US – the Monkey Boy of Uganda and Dog Girl of Ukraine have premiered. On Friday 30th it’s the story of the Bird Boy of Fiji.

These Fijian kids came to find out why we were filming in their village.

Thank you for the fantastic response and thought-provoking messages. I’ve been particularly touched by folks asking how they can support the work of the teachers and guardians I meet in the shows. I’ve posted up a page on this site – Help Them, that lays out the links to some of the organisations. But also think about supporting local charities who work with traumatised, vulnerable and abused kids. These things happen close to home, too. Tragic but true.

Raised Wild USA premieres on Friday 16th at 9pm!

If you’re in the States it’s your chance to see the series investigating real cases of feral children from around the world.

A boy who survived with vervet monkeys in Uganda

A girl in Ukraine who was allegedly ‘raised’ by dogs when her alcoholic parents neglected her

A boy who survived for years, locked in a chicken coop under his own family’s house in Fiji

RAISED WILD begins this Friday, 16th November, at 9pm on Animal Planet. New episodes every Friday for three weeks.

Talk at your school or college

Feral Children are an intriguing, disturbing and moving subject, and their stories never fail to capture the imagination.

Especially for children and young adults, this is a topic that triggers debate and critical thinking about serious issues in an immediate and personal way.

What does it mean to be human? How can humans and animals interact? How do children develop? How should we treat people different to ourselves?

Using video footage and stills to explore ideas and trigger discussion, it’ll be an interactive and engaging session for all of us!

KS3 & 4: English, PSHEE and Citizenship

Rich video material and case studies to help us explore the themes, and begin compelling and far-reaching workshops and discussions.

–        What does it mean to be human?

–        How do human children learn to communicate?

–        What makes humans different to other animals?

–        the basics of socialisation

–        disability and discrimination

–        What is society for? How should we behave towards vulnerable people?

A-Level and A2: Sociology, Psychology, Media Studies and Anthropology

–        Case study material to explore early socialisation, elements of social psychology and child development.

–        Cross-cultural attitudes to disability, child-rearing and different attitudes and understandings of humans and animals

–        Making TV shows – developing, researching and presenting a documentary series

–        Anthropology in the media


Send me a message through the contact form at, ar @maryannochota on twitter and we can discuss your group’s requirements further!

I’m currently booking for Jan-Mar 2013, but I do have some slots for this year.

Mary-Ann and John Ssebunya in Uganda

Feral Children gets top ratings!

HI Folks,

Mary-Ann Ochota here. I wanted to thank you for the fantastic response to Feral Children, currently showing on Animal Planet.

The first ep last week is the seventh most-watched show in Animal Planet’s ratings history! Wow, and thanks!

The second episode went out on Monday, exploring the story of the ‘Dog Girl’ of Ukraine, and is set to do even better!

Ed Stagg interview BBC Midlands Radio

Criado los Animales Feral Children on TV now

Criado Los Animales ‘Raised by Animals’ is on the Discovery Latinoamerica network – the final episode, The Bird Boy of Fiji is on Wednesday, 11pm, Animal Planet.

Feral Children: the Bird Boy of Fiji

When police were called to an incident on Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, they were shocked by what they found – a small boy abandoned in the road, acting in a very disturbed way. He squawked, flapped his arms, and pecked the ground – he was acting like a bird. It was claimed that he’d been forced to live in a chicken coop.

Would a child ever recover from such an upbringing? And what happened to him once he was released?

Anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota journeys to the South Pacific to discover whether this disturbing story is true, and with luck, meet the boy himself.

Following a lead, Mary-Ann meets a witness, Mr Singh. He describes living next door to a family who locked one of their children under the house in a 2ft dark space where they kept the chickens. “It took about a year”, Mr Singh describes, for the boy to stop acting normally and start acting wild, behaving like a chicken.

Mary-Ann searches for further evidence of this boy, and tracks his whereabouts to the outskirts of Suva, Fiji’s capital city. She discovers that being released from the chicken coop was not the end of his suffering, but the start. Piecing together the details of this disturbing story, Mary-Ann discovers where the boy is now and hopes to meet him for herself. 

Feral Children on UK TV

Feral Children premieres on Animal Planet UK on Monday 24th September 2012 at 9pm!

The Monkey Boy of Uganda, 24th Sept, 21.00

In 1992 a young boy was discovered in the forests of Uganda. It was claimed that he’d been living wild with the monkeys, and that his time with the animals had profoundly changed him – he moved like a monkey, he would squat instead of stand, he would screech and chatter instead of speaking, and, most disturbingly of all, he was covered in hair.

How did a small child survive on his own in the wild? Could he really have been raised by monkeys?

Benedict Sebba describes the day he found the boy: His wife had been collecting firewood but returned, shaken and fearful of the ‘monster’ she had found. She thought that the creature was a dangerous forest spirit, and so did the neighbours. “People saw it, they wanted to kill it,” Benedict’s neighbours were appalled that he would bring a monster into the village. Clearly the boy had been physically and psychologically damaged by his time living feral.

Tracking down eye-witnesses and discovering the key sites, Mary-Ann pieces together this child’s extraordinary survival story, ultimately bringing her to the boy himself.

Raised Wild on Animal Planet

The series I filmed for Animal Planet, seeking out the truth about three very unusual feral child cases in Fiji, Ukraine and Uganda is on TV soon! It premieres in Latin America on 5th September 2012. More details to follow as I learn them!

From the Ugandan jungle to the rural heartland of Ukraine, my quest took me across three continents to uncover the stories of the children who have lived – and survived – on the very edge of humanity.