Tippi Degre - African Wildlife Child

An only child born and raised in wilderness areas of Southern Africa - for the first 10 years of Tippi's life, "wild" animals were her friends!

Tippi Degre and the Animals of Africa

Looking at the photographs of Tippi and various wild animals, it's difficult to believe that they are actually real images! The truth is that she did get unusually close to the animals in the pictures, but many of these animals were not in fact truly wild. Most of the animals photographed with Tippi were orphaned wildlife species raised by humans on ranches or from other habituated backgrounds, like the circus or film industry.

The largely overlooked fact that these animals were not completely wild, does not detract from the amazing bond Tippi formed with these creatures. This fearless little girl still got up incredibly close to a host of animals few would trust so fully.

Tippi Degre and an African Elephant

The most captivating part of this unique story is the unbelievable photographs her parents took of Tippi as a small girl getting up close to different animals that they encountered on their extensive travels through Africa.

Here are some of the animals that became her friends:

Tippi and Leopard

A young Leopard nicknamed J&B

Tippi and Cheetah

Tippi and a Cheetah

Tippi and Lion Cubs

Tippi and Lion Cubs

Tippi on an Elephant

Tippi on a 28-year old Elephant - Abu was, in fact, a veteran circus performer and had been used in films and commercials.

Tippi on an Ostrich

Tippi Riding an Ostrich named Linda, that lived on an ostrich farm.

Tippi and a Snake

Tippi Holding a Snake

Other animals Tippi befriended include:

Crocodiles, giraffes, a Northern Greater Galago, a Banded Mongoose, meerkats, a baby zebra, a Caracal, an African Grey Parrot, giant bullfrogs and chameleons. 

Tippi also became friends with the Bushmen and Himba people of Namibia.

Tippi and Bushmen

These indigenous people taught her how to survive on roots and berries and to speak their language.

Tippi Degre Today - Where is the Wild Child Now?

Very little is known about Tippi Degre's life today.

Now 23 years old, Tippi is rumoured to have gone back to Africa to be in the wild!

She is known among other things for supervising the care of tigers in Fort Boyard, off the coast of France, which is the stage for a popular international game show.

Latest reports state that Tippi was trying to get a Namibian passport because she has always seen herself as African.

After the Wild - Tippi out of Africa

At the age of ten, Tippi moved to Madagascar and then to Paris with her parents, where she was treated as a local celebrity.

The huge adjustment from African bush to French city took its toll however and after two years of state schooling, Tippi left school to be home-schooled. After living in the wilderness with animals and tribal people, it is said that she had little in common with other children at school and struggled to adapt to modern life.

After moving to Paris, Tippi returned to Southern Africa to make six nature documentaries with the Discovery Channel.

She then went on to study cinema at la Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris and wrote a best-selling book called Tippi of Africa.

Tippi - Bridging the Gap to Africa (Trailer)

A short YouTube video of Tippi returning to Africa at the age of 16 to create awareness about wildlife conservation and protecting indigenous cultures.

Her visit was aimed at "bridging two completely different cultures, meeting old and new friends."

Tippi's Name

The "Real Life Mowgli" as Tippi is known, was named after Tippi Hedren, an animal activist and actress who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. The actress, Tippi Hedren, is said to have kept fully-grown lions in her home as pets, an apt name for Tippi Degre, a person so close to nature's creatures.

Photos of Tippi Degré on Pinterest:

"A French girl named Tippi Degre called the real-life Mowgli. This little girl is so amazing, gaze her courage!"

Toddler Tippi with elephants

Source: google.com via Julia on Pinterest

  • Tippi Degré - Tippi Benjamine Okanti Degré (includes several video clips)
Tippi Degré with lion cub by Alain Degré and Sylvie Robert

Source: ibytes.es via Laura on Pinterest

Tippi Degré

Source: oskarlewis.com via Suzy on Pinterest

Here's an honest account of Tippi's Unique Experiences and wild childhood.

The Telegraph also featured a good overview of Tippi's Childhood in Africa with some of the amazing photographs.


If you liked this post, these trips cover similar ground…


Leave a Comment or Ask a Question

comments powered by Disqus

Similar & Related Blog Posts

Below you’ll find further reading and articles related or similar to this post.

South African Wildlife Videos - look, learn & laugh or upload

Veldfundi Wildlife VideosSubmit South African wildlife videos to Veldfundi's YouTube Direct Challenge to help spread awareness about wildlife conservation and environmental education. Read on

Endangered Animals in Africa - Best Places to See these Rare Animals & How to Help

Gerry ZamboniniOn African Safaris you may be lucky enough to spot these 10 endangered animals, roaming freely. Get the facts about these endangered African wildlife species, find the best places to see them and see how you can help to ensure their survival! Read on

Save the Rhinos Everest Trek by 12-Year-Old!

Dante of Save Rhino Everest TrekDante Damas Burdych and his dad are busy climbing to Everest base camp to help raise awareness for rhino conservation in South Africa. This dedicated 12-year-old is carrying the banner of ‘Unite Against Poaching’ as he treks up the lower slopes of the tallest mountain in the world! Read on

Call to Save the Yellowwood - South Africa’s National Tree

Yellowwood TreeAn Open Letter to the president of South Africa, Dr Jacob Zuma, and African National Congress, is calling for an end to all further logging of our national tree in South Africa, the Yellowwood. It's time to hede the message carried in this letter, On the State of South Africa’s Yellowwood Forests. Read on

Kenyan Maasai Cricket Warriors Pitch Up in Traditional Gear

Maasai Warriors in MombasaEver seen a Maasai Warrior playing cricket in his colourful traditional clothes complete with accessories? Well, here's a whole team of them, the Kenyan Maasai Cricket Warriors, in action! Read on

Africa’s Best National Parks in the Top 7 Safari Countries

A snapshot of Africa’s Best National Parks in the 7 Top Safari Countries, from the legendary Masai Mara in Kenya to Namibia's dramatic Etosha Park and wild South Luangwa in Zambia. Read on

Exclusive Camping Safaris Explained

Just what are Exclusive Camping Safaris and are these tours expensive? Here we cover some of the basics of what Exclusive Budget Tours and Exclusive Overland Safaris entail. Read on

An Outlandish African Experience - Maralal’s International Camel Derby

The real camel manReady to try something completely new? Yup, we're talking camel derby in the arid middle of nowhere. You know you want to go to Maralal in northern Kenya to race a single-humped dromedary camel and explore the remote north... Read on

The Hadzabe - Encounter Africa’s People

Hadza of TanzaniaWho are the Hadzabe and where in Africa do these tribal people live? Read on

The Wildlife Drama of Etosha Park

William Routard05One of Southern Africa's top game viewing destinations, the world-renowned Etosha National Park is the best place for wildlife watching in Namibia. See how to get the most out of your Etosha Safari... Read on

3 Threatened Species with No Natural Predators

Infographic - Roslyn WillsonThis revealing and insightful infographic shows three of Africa's threatened and endangered animals that have no natural predators. That means humans alone are driving these wildlife species to extinction! Read on

Africa’s 10 Best Surf Spots - Morocco to South Africa

Surfing Morocco by Pitchou10 of Africa’s Best Surfing Spots, from Anchor Point in Morocco to Supertubes in South Africa, as well as some hidden gems for the ultimate surf. Read on

Best places in Namibia - highlights not to be missed!

Namib Desert Dunes in NamibiaLooking for the best places in Namibia to visit on your travels? These affordable top Namibia highlights, include the most memorable, unique and famous Namibia destinations and attractions - the Namib Desert, Etosha Park, Swakopmund, Damaraland, the Skeleton Coast and more. Find out where to go in Namibia to experience the best that this remarkable African destination has to offer! Read on

Namibia wins prestigious International Conservation Award

Lion Cubs in Namibian Game Park imageNamibia is the 2012 winner of the Markhor Award, an International Conservation Award for Outstanding Conservation Performance. One more reason to visit the popular African safari destination of Namibia! Read on

Sign the Online Petition to Halt Maasai Evictions in Tanzania

 Two Maasai men walk outside Enkereri village near Masai Mara Game Reserve.The Tanzanian government plans to evict some 30 000 Maasai people from their ancestral lands bordering the Serengeti, so that wealthy foreign tourists can use the area for big-game hunting. International protests last year helped to stop Maasai evictions, but now plans are being revived and urgent action is needed again! Read on

Our TrustPilot Reviews


Show us some FB Love

Follow @RealAfroSafaris