Tippi of Africa
Tippi Degré was born in 1990 in Africa, where her French parents, Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert, worked as freelance wildlife photographers. Tippi spent her childhood in Namibia among wild animals and tribespeople.
A true adventurous childhood, we only hear about in legends.
"It was magical to be ale to be free in this nature with this child," explains Sylvie, Tippi's mother. "She was a very lucky little girl - she was born and raised until the age of ten totally in the wild. It was just the three of us living in the wild with the animals and not too many humans."
During her stay in Namibia, she befriended wild animals, including a 28-year old elephant Abu, a leopard nicknamed J&B, crocodiles, lion cubs,giraffes, a Northern Greater Galago, a Banded Mongoose, an Ostrich, meerkats, a baby zebra, a cheetah, a Caracal, a snake, an African Grey Parrot, giant bullfrogs and chameleons. She also befriended the Bushmen and the Himba tribespeople of the Kalahari, who taught her how to survive on roots andberries, and to speak their language.
"Tippi always said that everybody was gifted and this was her gift," explains Sylvie. "She was in the mindset of these animals. She believed the animals were her size and her friends. She was using her imagination to live in these different conditions."
It is absolutely stunning to look at these pictures, to see the real connection between the wild animals and the little girl.
Sylvie said: "The photo with Tippi next to the young lion cub Mufasa sucking her thumb is wonderful. The year after this photo we came back and we went to see him and he was huge. Mufasa came to Tippi and he friendly brushed her with his long tail, like a cat would do, and she almost fell down. I had to take her away - I was not at ease."
Her mother added: "Linda, an ostrich from one of the African farms we visited, was so nice that we couldn't even take a photo of Tippi riding her. Linda was so afraid of riding Tippi she didn't want to move."
After living in Africa for ten years, Tippi moved with her parents to France, where she became a celebrity. A book of her adventures, Tippi of Africa , was published and translated in several languages.
She returned later to Africa to make six nature documentaries for the Discovery Channel.
“I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children.
So the animals are my friends”.
- Tippi Degré