"If we are to teach compassion for all life
in this world, and if we are to carry on
a real campaign against cruelty, and against
the destruction of our environment, we
have to begin with reaching children."
~ Betsy Seeton
TIPPI DEGRE - ADORABLE FRENCH GIRL GROWING UP IN AFRICA WITH WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER PARENTS
People all over the world view this article on Tippi. It's the most viewed page on my website since I posted it. I can only guess that the attraction to this story aside from the beautiful photos that her parents took, leave many in awe because being close to wild animals is a desire held in the hearts of most humans. I've seen blog posts that criticize the parents and challenge the authenticity of the photos. I don't know why some people are so ever ready to judge others. If you read about Tippi from interviews and read what her mother has said about their time in Africa, you will find that Tippi was not put in danger.
Enjoy the photos and story. Please drop me a comment at the bottom and tell me your thoughts.
FROM http://www.telegraph.co.uk: A remarkable range of pictures in a new book show Tippi Degre - a French girl labelled the 'real-life Mowgli' - growing up with wild animals. (CLICK HERE TO READ AN ARTICLE IN KOREAN.)
Her "brother" was an elephant, her best friend a leopard and her playground the African bush.
Now Tippi's new book, 'Tippi: My Book of Africa', showcases the magical images that have led to comparisons with Rudyard Kipling's young hero in The Jungle Book.
Born in Windhoek, Namibia in 1990, Tippi Benjamine Okanti Degre was named after Tippi Hedren, the actress who starred in Hitchcok's 'The Birds'.
Living with her French parents, wildlife photographers Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre, the three of them travelled extensively through Africa on a unique and incredible adventure.
"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."
STRAIGHT FROM UK TELEGRAPH IN 2008
From sitting on the back of an ostrich, lying peacefully with a young leopard or sitting on the trunk of an elephant, these amazing pictures show an unusual bond and tranquility between man and beast.
"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."
Using her innocence and imagination, the young 'Mowgli' befriended one of the giants of the animal kingdom, Abu the African elephant.
"She had no fear," says Sylvie. "She did not realise she was not the same size as Abu the elephant. She would look into its eyes and speak to him.
"She was a year and a half when they first me and it was a special time - just incredible. In another picture, you see her with the caracal, she looks almost sad in this photo but she is confident."
But some animals were so taken with Tippi, that she almost became an extension of them.
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."
However, despite the apparent ease and comfort with which they interact, Sylvie and Alain always put Tippi's safety first.
"You can't just meet any of these animals and act like this with them," explains Sylvie. "Wild animals will either run away or attack you if they are either frightened, injured or need to protect their young.
"But in the arid or semi desert regions of Southern Africa people have farms of 10 000 to 20 000 hectares. The farmers often keep orphan animals and raise them in their house. Sometimes they are tame or used to humans and so this is how Tippi was able to be so close with them."
However, there were moments when Sylvie and Alain, who have since divorced, had to keep a special eye on their daughter.
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."
The extraordinary photographs of little Tippi Degré that first appeared in newspapers in 2008 told only part of the story," writes Matthew Campbell for the Sunday Times. "The elephant was a veteran circus performer and had featured in films and commercials."
Matthew explained that other animals photographed with the girl were orphaned creatures that had been brought up by humans on ranches. Linda, an ostrich befriended by Tippi, who is photographed perched on her back, lived on an ostrich farm. She was destined to become somebody’s dinner."
Now aged 18 and having just started a degree in cinema at University in Paris, Tippi is facing a different jungle - the concrete kind.
But for Sylvie, her decision to bring up her child in the African wilderness was the correct choice - and she has no regrets.
"For me it was incredible to think you offer all of this to a child," she says. "Because I was at ease, because I liked it and because we had lived with the Meerkats in the Kalahari desert for six years before Tippi was born, I believed it was fantastic to have that to offer to a child compared to what I would be able to offer to a child living in a city for example.
This summer Tippi passed her Baccalaureate and entered La Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris where she follows her past two years of cinema studies at the Lyceum.
Sylvie added: "Tippi believes she is African and she wants to get a Namibian passport. She wants to become an ambassador for Namibia. It is like Mowgli's story, but Tippi's is true."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tippi Degré (born 4 June 1990) is a French girl, who spent her childhood in Namibia among wild animals and tribespeople. After moving to Paris, France with her parents, she returned to Africa to make six nature documentaries for the Discovery Channel. She is known among other things for supervising the tigers in Fort Boyard, off the coast of France, which is the stage for a popular international game show.
Kim Willsher meets Tippi.....
Tippi Degre is hanging upside down from a trapeze slung from the beams of the cramped Paris flat. The phrase "little monkey" springs immediately to mind - and not just because of her childish acrobatics.
"I miss Africa - that's my home," the 12-year-old says sadly. Then she plops herself in front of the television to watch a music video.
For 10 years, Tippi wandered the bush dressed only in a loincloth, befriending some of the world's most ferocious animals.
Her playground was the hills and the harsh desert tribelands of southern Africa; her companions were big cats, elephants, snakes and crocodiles.
She moved to the French capital with her mother three years ago. Since then a book of her adventures has been published, she has set up a website, and has returned to Africa to film six nature documentaries for the Discovery Channel.
The trip was, says Sylvie Robert, Tippi's mother, a "wonderful experience", despite the gruelling filming schedule. "She was really at home, because at heart she is a little African."
Tippi disagrees. "No, Maman, it's not true that I loved it. It was great to see the elephants and the lions, but it would have been better if it hadn't always been in front of the camera. It was hard work, it was difficult, it was hot and I was not happy all the time. I was worn out at the end of it."
READ FULL ARTICLE BY KIM WILSHER
PHOTO CREDITS: on elephant Photo: SYLVIE ROBERT / BARCROFT MEDIA LTD. FROM TIPPI MY BOOK OF AFRICA
Beautiful pictures, so enjoyed them, would love to have had this freedom with the animals, it's heartbreaking to see the rate that they are disappearing also the terrible cruelty involved. Thank you so much for sharing.
I would really love to be able to access more on the stories and projects / documentaries with Tippi. In English too.
I was particularly interested having followed Tippi Hedren's interesting
Tippi has an amazing life in the wild. Animals are loving, more than humans. Lucky girl. I want to see more of Tippi's life when she grows up now. I miss viewing her on the videos. I want to know how she view life in the city, and life in the wild.
Hi Frances. I agree with you. I think Tippi had an extraordinary childhood. I don't know what her life is like in present times. I would enjoy reading more about her and hearing how she reflects on her life in Africa growing up around all the beautiful animals. Thanks for writing.
The most amazing images I've ever see , between wild life animals and a child ,
Yes,We still have hope for this beautiful world..
it's a gift to that child to see the nature and make friends with it, I envy her for that.
Thank you, GreeNNAPPles. Am so glad you enjoyed this!
this is amazing!
It's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed this, Freddie. Thanks for writing!
Stiu de Tippi din 2006, din carte, sufletul meu este tot acolo in Africa cu acele minunate animale si cu acel soare care rasare si apune unic numai in Africa, eu m-am nascut in alt loc...
dear....just read the books wrote from Tippis parents. I bought them a few weeks ago - now I found space for them. And researching with their names - I landed here - on your website. I like your way....'style'...and I will go deeper and read more here another time.....later. Just let me say: THANK YOU*...!! bye for now
I have cherished Tippi's book since I first bought it as it brings back so many nostalgic memories of my own life when living in South Africa. Mankind will be faced with the most embarrassing confrontation when communication between our species and the animal kingdon becomes a reality.
thanks for the foto's and the explanation about this special child. she is an example how people should live with animals and nature. having respect for every living consciousness on earth is how it should be. this is where human consciousness is created for. being guardians for the planet. so sad it took an other direction. xx
thanks for the photo's and the explanation about this special child. she is an example how people should live with animals and nature. having respect for every living consciousness on earth is how it should be.
This has got to be the most amazing girl in the world. Not even the natives of Africa would do what she does...She is friends will all animals; ferocious and gentle, and with equal enthusiasm. Absolutely incredible. -PI
Tippi Parents: Thank you for teaching us how people can live in harmony with nature through your photographic material, I would like you to undertake documentaries for Animal Planet for children from other countries to see this beautiful example of fraternal coexistence with animals. God bless you. Best regards from Colombia. Rosario
"I don't know why some people are so ever ready to judge others."
Hi Melissa! I work with NGOs for the hospital care and rehabilitation of wild animals in my country (not in Africa). Yes, wildlife needs to be treated with respect, however "exotic" animals are wild and should definitely not be kept in captivity for someone's pleasure. Psychology shows that people, especially children, can develop special bonds and special communication channels with animals, wild or not. I believe the story, because I have studied environmental law and because I know (from studies and experience) what wildlife means. And it doesn't mean captivity. Wild animals are as dangerous as they wish to appear. When you go near a bear it fears of you more than you fear of it...
This can be such an outstanding source that you'll be offering and you also give it away for nothing. I appreciate seeing websites that be aware of the value of offering a reputable source for nothing. It’s that old what encircles comes around routine. Big details useful information and facts.
hello ! we love Tippi's story ... can you please tell us, is ther a full length film about her ? could you tell us what it is called if so ! THankyou ! Caroline (and Hannah ) UK
Good concept about Live Honestly,in this blog I saw a Wild animal Cristal Clear Picture & Videos good job ,your work will show your experiences .keep it up
Could someone help me locate the documentary with English subtitles/translation? Thanks in advance. Steve@SteveBlankJr.com
dear tippi, so lovey, and you gave very good lesson to every body, if you can come to visit sri lanka you most welcome,
I like photography and related adventures .and i saw in this picture as a same.Thanks.
One of the most moving and beautiful stories I have ever watched! The bond Tippi had with those animals, as well as the Bushmen, is enviable but in the most positive ways! Her family had a blessing of a lifetime!!!
I found this a most endearing documentary and wonderful pictoral history of Tippi ! What a wonderful opportunity for a child, although I am sure is was tiring at times. Bravo to her parents !
I had a similar childhood to Tippi's as I grew up in the bush in Madagascar from age 5 months till I was 16 years old. The only difference was that apart from crocodiles and scorpios which I have to precise I didn't become friend with, there was no dangerous wild animals on the island. But I played with the local children and ran wild with them in the bush. I have had lots of freedom. I hardly had any toys but lots of books, but was never bored. The memory of this wonderful childhood will remain in me till the end; the best childhood ever. Leaving the island and settling in France was one of the most difficult periods of my life. After more than 45 years I still haven't completely adjusted to the Western world so I understand Tippi's finding it hard to adjust to life in France. What a wonderful child with such a deep and instinctive understanding of wild animals, wise beyond her years. She will become a wonderful young woman I am sure.
Lovely photos, but the video is of Tippi with a leopard, not a cheetah. That is a cheetah in the photo below the video.
Incredible story, and admirable!
hi, greetings from Namibia, really enjoyed the pictures - WOW!!!
Thank you so much for enriching our lives with your stories and beautiful photos ref.particularly Meerkat Valley. So sorry divorce separated such gifted people! Your courage in going to live in such a remote place for so long is to be highly commended. What a dear little daughter you produced. May she prosper in her career.love
I think the original "Tippi" email that circulated with the slide show and the haunting music was probably the most inspiring and captivating thing I have ever seen. (I am over 60 y.o.) Not only was she able to have that experience but she had the air and disposition to carry it out, what an incredibly rare occurrence.
You will just love it when you sought to have a chronological presentation of an event like that of your child since pregnancy days all the way to the senior school graduation ceremony.
It's shameful that you spam this blog with your own advertising.
Your wedding photography is an investment, they'll last forever. In this article I try to explain why it's so important to hire a professional wedding photographer.
Why would you come onto this blog and try to promote yourself? I would not choose you for photography for anything after you spam a blog like this.
Alexander A Stephen
I have just finished reading the very inspiring book "Tippi" my book of Africa, this was indeed an opening into the innocence of the mind of a very talented child.
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By Betsy Seeton
"If we are to teach compassion for all life in this world, and if we are to carry on a real campaign against cruelty, and against the destruction of our
environment, we have to begin with reaching children."
-- Betsy Seeton