y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: The Shambala Wild Cat Preserve

The Shambala Wild Cat Preserve

While we are on the subject of animals with the peacocks, let me share another animal story.

A couple of months ago, my friend Robert invited me to join his group with a reservation for a safari visit at the Shambala Peserve in Soledad Canyon, Acton, CA. Shambala is a sanctuary where big cats can spend the rest of their lives without being bred or used for any commercial purposes.

Shambala Mar12_leopard

Over 50 abandoned felines, including lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bobcats and servals, are rescued and taken care of. The Roar Foundation, led by conservationist and actress Tippi Hedren (best known for her starring role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds), shares the mission of educating the public and advocate legislation to protect these exotic animals.

Shambala Mar12_Tippi Hedren Chris Gallucci 2

Shambala Mar12_Tippi Hedren

Shambala Director Chris Gallucii, Tippi Hedren and the docent/tour guide's love and passion for these animals is evident throughout the grounds. Even the name Shambala comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "a meeting place of peace and harmony for all beings". Ms. Hedren is so dedicated to her mission, that she lives right onsite in a humble home one would not expect from a Hollywood star.

While the cats are in enclosures for everyone's safety, they offered irresistible photo opportunities. As usual, I went rather camera crazy. So instead of too much more writing, let me share some of the shots from the day. Let me warn you, this will be a long post.


Shambala Mar12_tiger a 

Shambala Mar12_tiger b 

This tiger, who like many of them at Shambala, is underweight, was close to the entrance.

Shambala Mar12_sign tiger crossing

I'm a big fan of signs and product labels, and there were lots of fun signs everywhere on the grounds.

Shambala Mar12_tiger i

Shambala Mar12_tiger j

This tiger named Precious, was one of my favorites. She seemed to really want attention and was quite playful.

Shambala Mar12_tiger k

Shambala Mar12_tiger l

Shambala Mar12_tiger m

This last stare above the shoulder is very Hollywood starlet/pinup girl.

Before leaving we were given a survey to offer our knowledge when arriving and what we learned. They also asked who our favorite cat was and why. I picked this little darling, Precious.

Shambala Mar12_tiger g

Shambala Mar12_tiger f

A lot of yawning and sleeping goes on. Since they are not in the wild and don't have to worry about hunting food, there is lots or rest and relaxation time.

Shambala Mar12_tiger h

Shambala Mar12_tiger r

Shambala Mar12_tiger s

This is the one tiger that really looked like he wanted to eat me! Fierce eye contact. This photo gives me the chills whenever I see it.

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Shambala Mar12_tiger e

Like the name Thriller suggests, this tiger came from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Sadly she died of lung cancer in June of this year at the wildlife preserve.

Shambala Mar12_tiger n

Shambala Mar12_tiger o

Shambala Mar12_tiger p

Shambala Mar12_tiger q

This one is also adorable, with the paws, stripes and dots behind the ears. A pleasure to photograph.


Shambala Mar12_lion a

This lion put on a great sequence of events. Sleeping first.

Shambala Mar12_lion c


Shambala Mar12_lion e

Looking at us.

Shambala Mar12_lion f

More yawning.

Shambala Mar12_lion g

Standing up, reluctantly

Shambala Mar12_lion h

More eye contact

Shambala Mar12_lion i

Walking up to the 'house'

Shambala Mar12_lion j


Shambala Mar12_lion k

And back to sleepy time. It was like four seasons in one day.

Shambala Mar12_sign unpredictable disposition

Shambala Mar12_lion m

Most of the other lions were napping on their sides. They are cats after all.

Panther (Black Leopard)

Shambala Mar12_panther a

Shambala Mar12_sign black leopard

Shambala Mar12_panther d

This striking feline is named Boo. She had a giant pickle toy to play with in her enclosure .

Shambala Mar12_panther f

In the sun you can see her gorgeous dark spots. The guide told us what we call panthers are really black leopards. The spots are on their skin, not on the fur.

Arrival Grounds and Picnic 

Shambala Mar12_storing lunch

When we arrived, we were given a cart to put our picnic lunch food into, and the contents stay in a cage so the cats can't get to them.

Shambala Mar12_restrooms

The grounds are dotted with the cutes port-a-potties I've ever seen, complete with beaded wood curtains. They were really clean too. The house for overnight stays had an outdoor shower with similar enclosure.

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Shambala Mar12_colorful shoes

Shambala Mar12_leopard skirt flip flops 

Some people decided to get into the spirit with bright colors and animal prints. I felt underdressed in black, cream and grey. It's not exactly the kind of place where one wants to wear red.

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The grounds are full of all types of statues.

Shambala Mar12_statues crab and lobster

The crabs and lobster statues in the very dry area were amusing.

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Shambala Mar12_gift shop bird

The tour ended in the gift shop. There were kitschy tributes to Ms. Hedren's movies, especially The Birds. I loved this lone bird hanging in a walkway.

Shambala Mar12_duck

After our tour this duck came to hang out in the picnic area.

Shambala Mar12_tree with lanterns

We chose some picnic tables under this tree with hanging lanterns.

Shambala Mar12_picnic plate

The picnic spread was extremely tasty, since this was a foodie crowd.

Towards the end we were greeted by the whole team at Shambala and learned more about the legislation, programs at the preserve and other information. 

All in all it was a very exciting afternoon.

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1 Response to “The Shambala Wild Cat Preserve”:

  1. Unknown says:

    Cool! Looks like a nice day

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