Shambala Preserve

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Shambala Preserve
Date opened1972
LocationActon, California, United States
Coordinates34°26′25″N 118°15′09″W / 34.440301°N 118.252394°W / 34.440301; -118.252394Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 118°15′09″W / 34.440301°N 118.252394°W / 34.440301; -118.252394
No. of animals65-70[1]

Shambala Preserve is an animal sanctuary established in 1972 and located in Acton, California, a desert community 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Palmdale, off of California State Route 14 and 40 miles (64 km) north of Los Angeles.


Shambala is maintained by the Roar Foundation, founded by actress Tippi Hedren in 1983 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Shambala cares for endangered exotic big cats such as African lions, Siberian tigers and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, plus a lynx, a Florida panther, and a liger.[1] Shambala is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association.

Most of the animals at Shambala were born in captivity, orphans, are no longer wanted at circuses or zoos, or are given up by private owners who could no longer care for them. For example, Shambala became the new home for Michael Jackson’s two Bengal tigers, Sabu and Thriller, after he decided to close his zoo at his Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, California.[2]

The animals are not wild and are human dependent for their needs.[1] Shambala provides expert veterinarians for care. Carefully planned diets are supplied by Natural Balance Pet Foods.[3]

While Shambala welcomes all volunteers, they may not work directly with the animals.

Shambala Preserve was also home to a pair of African bush elephants named Timbo and Kura. Timbo also starred in Hedren's film Roar as well as a documentary known as "The Elephant Man" (known also as "Tusks and Tattoos") in which the elephant's relationship with his caretaker, Chris Gallucci, was explored. Timbo, one of the largest bull elephants ever recorded in captivity, was brought to the preserve in 1972, and died of natural causes at age 48 in 2005. Kura meanwhile died in 2000 at the age of 41.[4][5][6]


The current president is Tippi Hedren and vice-president is Stephen Shultz. Advisory board members have included: Loni Anderson, Melanie Griffith (Tippi Hedren's daughter), Lily Tomlin, Steve Valentine, Donald Spoto, and Betty White.[7] Veterinarians include: Jon J. Bernstein, DVM; Gay Naditch, DVM; and Chris Cauble, DVM.


  1. ^ a b c "About Us". The Roar Foundation. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' jacket sells for $1.8 million at auction". Cable News Network. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  3. ^ Natural Balance Zoological Formulas Archived 2007-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Chris Gallucci Bio". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  5. ^ "BULL ELEPHANT TIMBO, 48, DIES AT ACTON'S SHAMBALA PRESERVE ANIMAL SHOWED SIGNS OF HEALTH PROBLEMS IN LAST FEW WEEKS". Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  6. ^ "About Timbo and Kura". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  7. ^ "ROAR Foundation Advisory Board". The Roar Foundation. Retrieved 22 February 2011.

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