Full Frame also met Tippi Hedren – the woman behind Shambala’s animals.
In Hollywood, Hedren first gained acclaimed for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie. In the 1960s, Hedren later starred in two films set in Africa and her experiences sparked her passion for wildlife preservation.
“I did two films in Africa in 1969 and 1970 back to back, and during those years, environmentalists all over the world were telling us that if we didn’t do something, right then, to save the animals in the wild, by the year 2000, they would all be gone,” Hedren said. “So with my husband being a producer, we thought ‘let’s make a movie about this issue.’ And we chose the great cat to be our movie star.”
After creating the film Roar, which captures the ferociousness of wild animals, Hedren turned the movie’s set into California’s Shambala Preserve, a sanctuary for exotic animals since 1983. She also started the Roar Foundation to manage and fund the preserve’s upkeep, which requires nearly $75,000 each month.
Hedren said she spent much of her life teaching people why exotic animals should not be pets.
“These animals are predators and they are psychopaths. They have no conscience gene, they have no remorse gene, their job out in the wild is to take out the old animals, the sick animals, the lame animals, and that will transfer over to us too,” Hedren said.
The actress-turned-activist works to educate the public about the dangers of the private ownership of wild animals. She has also introduced legislation, on the state and federal levels, which aims to criminalize the trade and breeding of exotic animals in the United States.
She wants the world to know the dangers that exotic animals also face almost every day in the wild.
“Game hunters have literally almost wiped out our elephant, our lion, our tiger, off of the face of the Earth… It’s so sick,” Hedren said. “How do you look that animal in the eye and just take it out? How do you do that?”
Hedren joined Mike Walker to discuss the lessons she’s learned from working with these stunning – but deadly – exotic animals and her work to ban the ownership of exotic animals in the United States.
For more information about Hedren’s work with exotic big cats, visit www.shambala.org.