Police in Russia are searching for the parents of a newborn baby who was found being 'eaten alive' by ants after she was abandoned in woods.
The little girl was discovered on a pile of leaves in a wooded area on the outskirts of Chelyabinsk city by a man who heard her crying on his way to work.
Police said the badly bitten child, who is expected to make a full recovery, was unlikely to have survived much longer had the passer-by not found her and called an ambulance when he did.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Thought to be just three days old, the baby still had her umbilical cord attached, reports the Daily Mail.
"Incidents in which babies are simply abandoned in Russia, including during the frigid winter months, are a common occurrence," reports the Moscow Times.
In January, a stray cat was credited by Russian newspapers as having saved the life of a baby abandoned in the city of Obninsk. The animal allegedly climbed into the cardboard box in which the child had been left and meowed until someone found it. In the same month, another baby was left inside a handbag in an apartment building in the Siberian town of Cherepanovo.
"For other abandoned babies, there is no miraculous rescue, and no happy ending," says the Moscow Times. In February the corpse of a newborn was found in a plastic bag at the bottom of a pond in the capital.
According to Cradle of Hope, a non-government organisation in Russia, the country's Interior Ministry recorded 532 infanticides between 2010 and 2013. But the NGO thinks that the true number could stand at more than three times the official figure.
Cradle of Hope promotes "baby boxes", an "incubator-type enclosure" where parents can leave unwanted babies anonymously. It claims that 31 newborns have been saved because of the 21 boxes it has introduced in 11 Russian regions.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.