Tippi Hedren says she’s told Michael Jackson’s former pet tigers about his death

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Actress and animal advocate Tippi Hedren, who runs the Shambala reserve, which now houses Michael Jackson’s pet tigers, says she has notified the animals of their former owner’s death.

‘I went up and sat with them for a while and let them know that Michael was gone,’ Hedren told AFP. ‘You don’t know what mental telepathy exists from the human to the animal. But I hope they understood.’


Jackson asked his longtime veterinarian to find the best homes available for his animals when his private zoo was being dismantled, according to a statement on Shambala’s website. The vet suggested the Acton, Calif., reserve, which houses about 70 big cats, for Jackson’s two Bengal tigers. The tigers, named Thriller and Sabu, arrived at Shambala in 2006. (See video of them at

In the wake of Jackson’s death, Hedren is urging his mourning fans to take action for the big cats he loved by supporting legislation to ban breeding them for use as pets.

Other animals from Jackson’s zoo were sent all over the country; most famously, Bubbles the chimpanzee went to the Center for Great Apes in Florida. Flamingos went to a New Jersey zoo and giraffes to a sanctuary near Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border. Both Hedren’s Shambala reserve and the Center for Great Apes have placed requests for donations for the care of Jackson’s animals on their websites. Shambala’s site notes that, like most of the exotic cats it cares for, Thriller and Sabu ‘came with no bank account or dowry.’

-- Lindsay Barnett