The civilized world got used to the cats and dogs as the most common pet friends of children. But what about kids in savannas of Africa, Asian steppes, and Amazon rainforests? Who are their playing partners? It is hard to believe, but in another part of the world kids play with monkeys, sloths, elephants, and even cheetahs!
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The story of a real Mowgly, Tippi Degre, is really amusing. Tippy is a famous girl, born in 1990 in Namibia. Her family was French, working in the African national parks. Both of her parents – Robert and Sylvie – were wildlife photographers, so Tippi was raised in the wild nature, thinking that animals are her best friends. She had no fear and the animals appreciated that. They let her touch them, climb over and easily play with them. On this photo Tippi is showing her affection to her 28-year old elephant mate Abu, who she always called “my brother”.
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Tippi rarely played with African kids, so most of the time the girl devoted to animals. She claimed to understand animal language, as Tippi learned all the habits, gestures and “rules” of the animal world. It came naturally to her, as to learn a foreign language is for other people. Much more difficult it was to learn the traffic rules ten years later when the family moved to the city.
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Now Tippi Degre is getting her Arts degree in Paris in order to return to Africa again and film a documentary about her motherland. Meanwhile, everyone interested can check the book Tippi: My Book of Africa, full of stories and photographs made by Tippy and her parents. Was it madness to let a little girl play in savanna? Or was it an honorable thing to bring a kid back to nature? We shall better ask the grown-up Mowgli, when she presents us her new documentary about the real life in Africa.
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In the high Andes of Southern Peru alpacas have been kept as pets for centuries. Peruvians consider this animal their cultural heritage, as alpaca’s wool is used for production of blankets and sweaters, gloves and hats, scarves and ponchos. The lives of whole families depend on the well-being of these gracious animals. For children, it is so natural to take care of alpacas that they think of these animals as of their essential friends in life.
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What kind of pets do children of rainforests play with? Here is a Yagud Indian girl Rosita and her pet friend Sandra. Sandra is a sloth. This beautiful image was captured by Sarah Armstrong on her trip to Amazon.
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Amazonian kids have a different reality. They live in harmony with the universe, and treasure every living being. They have many different friends in the wild nature – some of them are their house pets, others – their playing partners in games and activities.
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Markus Mauthe, a Greenpeace photographer, had a chance to picture a smiley girl from The Munduruku tribe in Brazil. Her pet monkey felt safe on the girl’s head, resting there the whole time the photographer stayed in the village. Meanwhile the rest of kids were playing with a tiny collared peccary pig.
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This image of native Indian kid with capybara, a giant guinea pig, became iconic. It reminds us of the other part of the world that exists, and about a harmonious relationship between humans and animals that we have almost lost in the process of the so-called evolution.
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Children of Mongolian steppes have nomadic childhood. They grow up among the farm animals – horses, cows, reindeers, and goats. From the early childhood, they know how to take care of them, love and cherish them. Their childhood is simple. It is full of freedom, but also it is full of responsibility that the kids learn from the very young age.
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Same as old dogs forgive everything to the little children, these reindeers in North Taiga forgive the intrusion of this little girl. She fell asleep without any sense of danger, as she feels safe among her gorgeous white pets.
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Every adult is a little kid inside, but we are afraid to play on our own! This is why we enjoy playing with children and animals so much, thinking about it as of a good excuse. Many of us wish we could be raised with pandas or leopards, in the wild, so we could become a little bit closer to the real world of nature. Yet, we forget that every one of us creates their own world. So this is our own responsibility if we want to make the world around a safe place both for human children and animals.
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