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The Today Show Celebrates Tippi Hedren's Work Protecting Exotic Animals

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After starring in a 1981 film called “Roar” with her daughter, Melanie Griffith, Tippi Hedren realized her calling in life was to rescue and protect exotic animals. The movie, which starred dozens of African lions, led to Hedren’s dedication to protecting exotic animals through her non-profit organization and sanctuary, The Roar Foundation and Shambala Wildlife Preserve.

Tippi recently told the Today show that the 72-acre Shambala Preserve is home to approximately 70 big cat including lions, tigers, cougars, and leopards. All of the animals arrived at the preserve after being confiscated from individuals and organizations who could no longer care for the animals.

Best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds,” Hedren was recently honored at the Humane Society’s 24th Annual Genesis Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Tippi is an extraordinary woman—both a hands-on caregiver to 63 discarded big cats at the Shambala Preserve, as well as a tireless activist who continues to work in support of federal legislation that would ban the breeding of and the trade in exotic animals in the U.S.,” said Beverly Kaskey, senior director of the Hollywood office of The Humane Society of the United States and executive producer of the annual Genesis Awards.

The 80-year old actress calls the preserve her home with her front door a mere 5 feet from the exotic enclosures. “Isn’t it incredible to have a front lawn like this? This is where my heart is, my life is. You know I could be living in Beverly Hills somewhere. That would be cool, I suppose. But every time I go into L.A. I think, ‘What am I doing here?’”

The Shambala Preserve is home to two of Michael Jackson’s tigers and relies solely on donations.

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