The children, aged 7 and 9, were found near their hometown of Manicore on Thursday by a local resident, their father told local media. The boys – who are indigenous Mura, who live in central and eastern Amazonas, Brazil – had been lost for 27 days.
Rocineia Lima, a social worker handling the case, detailed the boys’ fight to survive and said they were working together to be found.
“The older brother said that (at one point) the younger brother couldn’t walk, so he had to go get some fruit for them to eat. But it got to a point where the older brother couldn’t. no more walking either,” Lima said. told CNN.
Lima said the farmer was “opening a road in the forest where he has a walnut plantation. (He) then heard one of the children crying,” she said.
“He (the farmer) was really moved when he found them,” Lima added.
The boys were last seen on February 18, when they entered the forest to hunt, CNN Brasil reported. About 260 people participated in the search to find them, Lima said.
The brothers suffered from malnutrition, dehydration and skin lesions, a representative from the Amazonas state health department told CNN.
The boys survived their stay in the forest by drinking rain and river water and eating a wild fruit called sorv. Their skin was covered in insect bites and scratches from tree branches, the health representative said.
The boys were airlifted to an intensive care unit in Manaus – about 205 miles (330 kilometers) from where they were found – with their parents on Thursday. During the trip, their condition began to improve, CNN Brasil reported.
Pediatrician Eugenio Tavares told CNN Brasil the boys were in “serious” but “stable” condition, given their experience.
“They are malnourished and have skin, ear and back infections,” Tavares said. “The respiratory rate is normal; they are not coughing. The kidneys were a problem, but they are working very well again. We have to deal with the remaining infections and the careful feeding to see if they will tolerate the progressive diet and to gain weight.”
By Friday, the children had shown “tremendous improvement” in their treatment, according to the health department official, who added that the boys should soon be able to eat solid foods.
A team of doctors, including psychologists, nutritionists and physiotherapists, are caring for the boys, the representative said.