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Santa Clarita Actress Pushes Bill to Protect Wild Life

Actress and animal rights activist Tippi Hedren is working with Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, to help move legislation through congress designed to halt the breeding of exotic felines for commercial purposes.

The bill, called The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act, seeks to stop the commercial breeding of lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and other exotic cat species, which are often sold as pets or for financial gain.

The issue is one that McKeon has been actively pursuing a legislative solution on, said Alissa McCurley, spokeswoman for McKeon's office.  

"We have been working with (Hedron)  on (the bill) very closely," she said. "We introduced legislation last year, obtained over 60 co-sponsorsand held an informationa; press conference with several animal welfare groups and the Zanzville, Ohio, sheriff." 

In October 2011, an animal rampage at a wild animal preserve in Zanesville led to 49 animals being slaughtered, including 18 Bengal tigers.

Sen. John Kerry has been working on similar legislation in the Senate.

Hedren, the star the Alfred Hitchcock film classics “The Birds” and “Marnie,” took an interest in wildlife protection when she was filming the movie “Roar” in 1981. After working with dozens of African lions on the film set, Hedren created The Roar Foundation and the Shambala Preserve, located just east of Santa Clarita in Acton, California.


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Some 60 big cats are housed at Shambala, including African lions, cougars, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, bobcats, and mountain lions. All the cats came to the preserve after being confiscated by authorities from roadside zoos or private owners who could not properly care for the animals. Once at Shambala, the animals are allowed to live out their lives in the wild life preserve. Shambala does not breed or sell animals, or subject them to commercial use.

“The bill will prohibit breeding and private possession of big cats exempting only qualified, accredited AZA zoos, where they can be properly cared for and restrained,” according to Hedren.

Visitors to Shambala who are over 18 may take a safari tour of the preserve. Shambala also has a Partners in Education program for group and school tours for visitors under 18.

Hendren asks all animal lovers in Santa Clarita to write to McKeon in support of the Big Cats bill and stay on top of the issue at www.shambala.org.