Tippi Hedren's Battle To Save The Animals

Tippi Hedren Tippi Hedren

Chris Orr, the caretaker at actress Tippi Hedren’s animal sanctuary, Shambala Preserve, recently reunited with the tiger who mauled him just one month ago.

It was a touching moment for not just Chris, but for Tippi, who has devoted much of her life to protecting animals. But, Tippi revealed to Access Hollywood that in doing so, her own life has been threatened by those who seek to exploit these exotic creatures.

“I couldn’t drive my own car. I had to have somebody with me,” Tippi revealed to Access. “I couldn’t use the mailbox, I couldn’t answer the phone. We had to have the sheriff here.”

Tippi said not only was she threatened, but her animals were threatened as she fought to change the way exotic creatures are treated in the United States.

Tippi said too many people are raising ferocious predators as household pets.

“What part of predator says good pet?” she asked. “So I'm working on this bill — the federal ban on breeding exotic cats for personal possessions.”

The illegal trade of wildlife or wildlife parts is a soaring black market, worth ten billion dollars a year.

“Another reason it is such a big business is there are over a thousand canned hunts,” she said. “[There is] a facility that will take in exotic animals. For anywhere from, oh, [$3,000 to] $30,000 you can blow that animal away with a weapon of your choice.”

The careless treatment of cats has led many of the nearly 70 cats to her 80-acre sanctuary.

“We have a lion whose name is Leo and he lived in a basement outside of Branson, Missouri,” Tippi revealed.

And Boo, the black leopard, grew up in a closet.

“As he grew he was scratching the ladies satin sofas and chewing her Jimmy Choo shoes so they put him in closet and that's where he lived,” she said.

Tippi loves these animals so much, she lives right next to them. Her sun room is just a few feet away from Patrick, the liger — the circus rescue is a mix of lion and tiger.

Copyright 2014 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.