Big Cat fanatic Tippi Hedren hoped to pass along her beloved wildlife preserve to her actress daughter Melanie Griffith and granddaughter Dakota Johnson — but friends say she’s scrambling to make other plans now that they’ve turned her down.
The 93-year-old icon operates the 72-acre Shambala Preserve — 50 miles north of Los Angeles — where she provides safe haven to lions, tigers, cougars, and other exotic felines who have suffered neglect or mistreatment.
But Melanie, 65, and Dakota, 33, have swatted aside Tippi’s offer to leave Shambala to them in her will.
“They just don’t share the same passion as Tippi for the big cats,” growled a family friend. “Melanie has served on the board for the preserve and Dakota loves visiting there, but they have their own interests and passions.”
The Birds beauty famously allowed lions and tigers the run of the house while Griffith was growing up in the 1970s, something she now admits was “dangerous” and “stupid beyond belief.”
Nowadays, the public has to keep their paws off and can only view the majestic creatures on monthly safaris. “Tippi has a trained staff who can keep things humming after she’s gone, but she would have loved it to be a family legacy,” purred a pal.
“Her biggest worry is funding. Tippi’s famous name helped boost donations over the years, and she hoped Melanie and Dakota would continue that. “Melanie and Dakota say they’re happy to help keep Shambala alive — they just don’t want to run it.”
Griffith has the time on her hands, considering she hasn’t been in a film since starring alongside her famous daughter in the 2020 movie The High Note.
As for Johnson, she’s been busy in Hollywood, completing more than four projects since then.
Hedren has worked tirelessly advocating and rescuing exotic animals for over five decades. She’s never stopped fighting to help her beloved felines, regardless of their size.
“Being around all kinds of animals has greatly enhanced my life,” she told PEOPLE. “There can be pain and sadness associated with loving animals. But the joy they bring greatly overcomes that pain.”
The Working Girl actress has also spoken about her mom’s love for big cats, revealing she admires her for taking on the challenge. After Hedren accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the U.S. Humane Society’s 24th Genesis Awards in 2010, Griffith couldn’t stop gushing about her mom.
“My mom is receiving this award for her work as a champion to animals,” Griffith revealed in a statement. “The award is for her efforts in saving the abused and those without a voice to defend themselves. She is an exceptional woman, mother and friend. My mom rocks!!”