LOS ANGELES, Calif. (December 4, 2007) — A tiger at an animal sanctuary run by actress Tippi Hedren mauled a caretaker who was cleaning his cage Monday, critically injuring him.
The 40-year-old man was bitten in the neck at Shambala Preserve, an 80-acre wildlife habitat in Acton, in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles. He was flown to a hospital, said Art Marrujo, a county Fire Department dispatch supervisor.
Chris Orr who was cleaning an enclosure when the 450-pound Bengal tiger named Alexander jumped him, said Hedren’s publicist, Harlan Boll.
“Chris was bitten in the neck, and he had some scratch marks,” publicist Harlan Boll said. “He’s in stable condition, and we’re waiting to see how he reacts to the antibiotics.”
Orr was not the cat’s primary caretaker, Boll said.
“Alexander was not playing; he jumped him,” he said.
Hedren starred in the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic “The Birds,” about a town that comes under attack by thousands of birds. She founded the preserve in the early 1970s and lives on the property.
The preserve is home to more than 60 endangered big cats, including lions, leopards and servals, most born in captivity and given up by circuses, zoos and private owners who could no longer care for the animals.
A warden of the California Department of Fish and Game was investigating, department spokesman Steve Matarano said.