Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. The young girl grew up in the African desert and developed an uncommon bond with many untamed animals including a 28-year old African elephant named Abu, a leopard nicknamed J&B, lion cubs, giraffes, an Ostrich, a mongoose, crocodiles, a baby zebra, a cheetah, giant bullfrogs, and even a snake. Africa was her home for many years and Tippi became friends with the ferocious animals and tribespeople of Namibia. As a young child, the French girl said, “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends.”
If it looks like a male lion and is perceived as a male lion—well, sometimes it isn’t. That’s the case of Africa’s unusual maned lionesses, which sport a male’s luxurious locks and may even fool competitors.
Though uncommon, maned lionesses have been regularly sighted in the Momba area of Botswana‘s Okavango Delta (including the individual pictured below), where the lion population may carry a genetic disposition toward the phenomenon, according to Luke Hunter, president of the big-cat conservation group Panthera, which collaborates with National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. (The Society owns National Geographic News.) (Click pic to continue.)
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