You look at that picture and your first reaction is “EWWW! gross, what is that child doing and where are her parents and why is that photographer not ripping that ugly thing away from her FAAAACE!!”
It’s way better than that though.
Yeah, we all watched the jungle book and all at some point pranced on our couches pretending it was the branch of a tree we were precariously balancing on. Meanwhile, in Africa, this little girl, now a grown woman in her early 20’s, was actually making friends with wild animals. Don’t take my word for it though, here’s some video footage:
“Her best friend, she tells [Kim Willsher from the Telegraph, London,] was a leopard nicknamed J&B. It had been adopted by a desert farmer after its mother had died in a trap and, Ms Robert says, was ‘mild as a household cat when Tippi was around, but never lost its killer instict.’ When it attacked another child, the little girl marched right up to the animal, gave it a sharp slap on the nose and told it to ‘Stop that,’ at which it ran away.”
You’re still not convinced, there’s some trick, there’s no way she couldn’t have gotten hurt. Read this from Oddity Central:
“It’s very surprising that animals otherwise considered extremely dangerous were able to accept little Tippi and include her as one of their own. Her parents say they used to be very gentle with her always making sure they didn’t hurt her. Especially Linda the ostrich, who was supposedly so afraid of hurting the girl that Tippi’s parents rarely got a chance to capture them riding together. Linda wouldn’t move at all with Tippi sitting on her, afraid she might cause the child to fall. About her daughter’s relationship with Abu the elephant, mother Sylvie says: “She had no fear. She did not realize she was not the same size as Abu. She would look into his eyes and speak to him.” But it’s not just the animals that Tippi got along with so well. Growing up among the native tribes people of Namibia, she was taken under their wing and taught all sorts of survival techniques of the wild. She could speak their language, hunt and knew how to feed herself with roots and berries.”
So now you’re totally jealous because this kid is so in tune with nature in ways you can’t even imagine. Don’t be jealous yet though. Even if she had what seems to be a lovely childhood, by her pre-teen years Tippi moved back to France and had a hard time adjusting to the (and if I could use giant oversized quotation marks here I would) “REAL WORLD”
If you speak french or just want pretty pictures to look at here’s an hour-long video of Tippi’s childhood.
- What are your favorite things about your childhood?
- What where the worst? Did you have any hard transitions?
- Do you envy Tippi?
- Does this make you look at animals differently?
If you want more awesome photos of Tippi, follow this link. Our favorite is the smile on her face where she’s riding the ostrich.