Riding a five-ton elephant, whom she called ‘my brother,’ chilling with a cheetah or hugging a giant bullfrog as if it were a Teddy bear. The childhood of a French girl Tippi Degre sounds more like a newer version of Mowgli, rather than something real. A white child, she was born in Namibia to French wildlife photography parents and grew up in Africa. Tippi spent her whole childhood playing with wild animals in the African savannah including lion cubs, a mongoose, a snake, a cheetah, baby zebra, giraffes, and crocodiles.

The little girl saw nothing unusual about African animals being her company: “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends,” she once said.

Tippi is now 23 years old, and the only child to animal photography parents Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre, who published her photos in a book called Tippi of Africa. “It was magical to be able to be free in this nature with this child. She was a fortunate little girl – she was born and raised until the age of 10 totally in the wild.” said Sylvie.

Website: tippi.org, Book: Tippi of Africa