Founded in 1983 by actress and conservationist Tippi Hedren, The Roar Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization that offers a series of wildlife educational programs to the public. Its primary purpose, however, is to maintain The Shambala Preserve.
The Shambala Preserver, perched in the Mojave Desert, is nestled in the rugged Soledad Canyon between Angeles National Forest and Parker Mountain near Los Angeles, Ca. The preserve was first established as ab African-type set for the motion picture “Roar,” a co-production by Hedren, in which she starred with her daughter Melanie Griffith.
“Our human proclivity to reproduce our species has encroached on the natural home many of these beautiful creatures. Their gifts to us is to provide a reminder of the diversity of creation, and a colorful enhancement of the world we share,” says Hedren.
Since 1972, this unique, approximately 75-acre African wildlife habitat has served ad a safe home for endangered, abandoned, unwanted, and homeless animals. “Shambala”, in Sanskrit, means “a meeting place of peace and harmony for all being, animal and humans.” It is the only game preserve of its kind in the United States where exotic species can live their lives in peace and harmony.
Landscaping at the Preserve was designed not only to look beautiful, but to encourage safe refuge for the animal residents as well. In addition to tall, native cottonwood trees, some 800 trees have been planted to create a forest canopy above the Santa Clara River. The river provides fresh water for inhabitants and a home for the endangered Stickle Back fish. A waterfall, ponds and a small man-made lake provide a safe place for migrating waterfowl.
One weekend a month, and on other days for private groups, the Shambala Preserve opens its doors to tourists for an exciting, three-hour tour of the premises. Visitors find themselves face-to-face with African lions, Siberian and Bengal Tigers, African and Asian leopards, servals, cheetahs, panthers and African elephants, among other beautiful animals whose lives were threatened at one time.
A hand-hewn bridge to “Tiger Island” offers quite a different and scenic view of the preserve. From this vantage point you will find an authentic “Safari” sleeper tent – the king used for real safaris in Africa. The magnificent accommodations resemble a five-star hotel room than a tent with a queen size bed, rich décor, a shower and a great view of the lake.
The tour finishes at the Shambala Lake and the African House, home of the Shambala Boutique. The African House is an authentic reproduction of a house Hedren saw while in Africa, built as a set piece for the movie. Picnic tables are set alongside the lake, and ample space on the grass is available to sit and relax.
Hedren is devoted to the success of the preserve and to the long-term care of the animals. It is her hope that, “these beautiful animals will continue to grace the earth, both for their own sake and to remind our species to more wisely share the planet.”