In the Disney version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Mowgli is a “man-cub” who was raised by wolves and can talk with animal. Is such a thing possible? There are numerous accounts of “feral children” who were supposedly raised in the wild. The website feralchildren.com recounts many of their stories.

A couple recent newspaper articles tell the story of Tippi Degré in these terms. In “The wild child who grew up with elephants,” reporter Michael McCarthy writes:

Being brought up among wild creatures is not necessarily a fantasy out of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Tippi Degré, the child of two wildlife photographers, spent most of her childhood with leopards and cheetahs, elephants and ostriches, and now a book is documenting her remarkable wildlife-filled early years in Africa.

And in a similar article titled “The extraordinary childhood of the girl who grew up with African animals,” Richard Savill writes:

Tippi Degre grew up amongst some of the country’s most dangerous animals, echoing the adventures of Rudyard Kipling’s fictional character in The Jungle Book. For 10 years her “brother” was an elephant, her best friend was a leopard, and her playground was the African desert.

To be honest, however, these seem to be over-romanticized accounts as her case does not seem to match those of the conventional “feral” child accounts. She may have lived in the wild, but she did so with her parents and their socializing influences. I suppose part of the appeal in her case is the impressive pictures her parents took.

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