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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 12:23 GMT
Tiger attack at star's sanctuary
Tippi Hedren
Tippi Hedren set up the sanctuary, at Acton in California, in 1972
A man has been critically injured in an attack by a tiger at a US animal sanctuary run by actress Tippi Hedren.

Caretaker Chris Orr was cleaning an enclosure at the Shambala Preserve, north-east of Los Angeles, when the Bengal tiger jumped and bit his neck.

"This is a terrible shock to us," Hedren told the Associated Press.

The sanctuary was founded in 1972 by The Birds star as a haven for exotic big cats, many of which were unwanted by circuses, zoos and private owners.

"Chris was bitten in the neck, and he had some scratch marks," Hedren's publicist, Harlan Boll, said.

"He's in stable condition, and we're waiting to see how he reacts to the antibiotics."

It isn't the tiger's fault. It is the fault of the people breeding these animals in the first place that leads them to be here
Tippi Hedren

Hedren said she did not know what may have set off the four-year-old tiger, called Alexander.

She said she rescued him in 2003 after state regulators shut down a centre that was illegally breeding tigers.

The actress told the Los Angeles Times the tiger was one of the youngest at the sanctuary and did not have a history of violence.

"Who knows what happened to this tiger? It isn't the tiger's fault. It is the fault of the people breeding these animals in the first place that leads them to be here," Hedren said.

Hedren - who is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith - became famous after starring in the Alfred Hitchcock horror classic The Birds, about a town that comes under attack by thousands of birds.

She now lives on the Shambala Preserve, which is home to more than 60 endangered big cats, including lions, tigers leopards and servals.

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