Three-year-old survives Siberian wilderness
A three-year-old Russian girl has survived 11 days and nights in Siberian taiga, an area known to be full of dangerous predators, including bears and wolves.
Karina Chikitova's puppy kept her warm in the wilderness for over a week before it returned home to get help, reports the Siberian Times.
Afanasiy Nikolayev, a spokesman for the Sakha Republic Rescue Service said, "Two days before we found Karina her puppy came back home."
On July 27, Karina's mother thought her daughter and dog had gone with her father, Rodion, to visit a distant village.
Rodion did not realise his daughter had followed him. A lack of phones meant it was four days before any one knew she was missing and a search party was launched.
Rescuers looking for Katrina encountered a bear, which emphasises just how lucky she was.
The little girl had made a bed in the grass and survived on berries and water from the river.
With temperatures only reaching around 6°C at night, Karina's dog kept her warm.
But when her dog returned home to their village of Olom in Olyokminsky district, her parents feared the worst.
Afanasiy Nikolayev said: "That was the moment when our hearts sank, because we thought at least with her dog Karina had chances to survive - night in Yakutia are cold and some areas have already gone into minus temperatures.
"If she was to hug her puppy, we thought, this would have given her a chance to stay warm during nights and survive."
But it was the heroic dog that led rescuers to Katrina, reported the Siberian Times.
Karina was found sitting in the grass, "conscious" and "surprisingly well".
"She was given food and drinks, and then with her mother she was first sent to the district hospital and then to Yakutsk," said Nikolayev.
"She doesn't want to speak about the time she spent in taiga, or not yet. The only thing she said that she was eating berries and drank water from rivers".
While Karina was badly bitten by insects, the only injuries she suffered were scratches, especially to her feet.
Karina is now in hospital in Yakutsk where doctors are helping to rebuild her strength.