Tippi Hedren on Michael Jackson’s Tigers
Posted July 01, 2009
Michael Jackson’s Neverland tigers Thriller and Sabu have had a home at actress Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Preserve since 2005, and the star speaks out to ET about the late King of Pop’s precious-but-dangerous jungle cats.
“He was having a lot of financial problems with his life that were just horrible for him,” Tippi tells ET. “When he made the decision to leave Neverland he asked his longtime veterinarian, Dr. Martin Dennis, who is also one of our veterinarians … to find the best homes in the state for [his] giraffe, orangutans and the tigers, so they came here.”
Tippi says that she had never met Michael, and the two were supposed to meet for lunch a couple years ago so he could visit the male and female tigers, but she says he had to cancel the visit.
“It was a very, very sad time for him,” she adds, “and so I’m sure he [felt] very good that his animals are being well taken care of.”
The mother of Melanie Griffith, Tippi founded the Roar Foundation in 1983 to support the Shambala Preserve after she filmed the movie ‘Roar’ and felt it was unkind to use the big cats for filming, pictures, shows or as pets. The foundation’s mission is to educate the public about the dangers of private ownership of exotic animals.
She believes that Thriller and Sabu were well taken care of during their stay at Neverland, and reveals that it took some time for them to adjust to their new life at Shambala after a month of standard quarantine — but they are fine and happy now.
“Thriller and Shabu are well adjusted, they’re perfectly healthy,” she says. “They seem to be doing really well.”
Tippi was at Shambala when she first heard of Michael’s passing, and she says, “I suppose it’ll be something kind of like, ‘Where were you when Kennedy was shot?’ Michael was an extremely powerful man on our planet and it’s a great loss.”
For more info and to donate to Thriller and Sabu’s cause, visit www.shambala.org.