He’s won multiple Emmys. He’s appeared in movies. He’s known all over the world for his 35 years as host of TV’s “The Price is Right.” If you asked Bob Barker, 90, what his life’s greatest achievement really is, however, chances are he’ll tell you it’s animal advocacy.
Much like Sam Simon, co-creator of “The Simpsons,” Barker believes in putting his wealth to use now, not after he’s gone. Here are only 10 of the many amazing things he’s done to advocate for animal rights and animal welfare:
1. Cameo Appearance on “The Bold and the Beautiful“ to Bring Attention to Animal Rescue
In late April 2014, Barker appeared as himself on the CBS daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” as part of a three-day story arc on the issue of animal rescue. One of the show’s characters interviewed him about controlling pet populations. Barker encourages the character to visit the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter, also prominently featured that week on the show.
All the attention on rescued pets during this story arc prompted three CBS employees to adopt pets of their own from the shelter, including actress Melody Scott Thomas from “The Young and the Restless.”
2. HIV-Infected Research Chimpanzees Get a New Home at Chimp Haven
When five chimps couldn’t make it from a research laboratory to a sanctuary because of their HIV-infected status, Bob Barker eagerly stepped up. In 2012, he donated $380,000 to Chimp Haven in Keithville, La. That funding enabled the sanctuary to build a special care facility for them and took care of its operating costs for the first full year.
“I have waited months for this occasion,” Barker said the day the new facility was opened. “After 30 years of being locked in cages, these chimpanzees now have the choice to lie in the grass and look up at the sky—day or night. They can climb trees and build nests. And best of all, they can do it with each other. Seeing this today has me choked up.”
3. Three Elephants Travel in Style to New Sanctuary Home
Barker spent years trying to get three African elephants relocated from the Toronto Zoo to a sanctuary in southern California. He finally did it in 2013, spending $1 million of his own money to pay for transport in specially equipped trailers with accompanying veterinary personnel and handlers to ease the journey.
The elephants, Thika, Iringa and Toka, today roam happily at the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s ARK 2000 sanctuary, enjoying hundreds of acres of natural terrain, as well as lakes, pools, heated stalls and an indoor therapy pool. It’s quite the life.
“It was more than emotional for me, for all of us,” Barker told the Sacramento Bee of the day the elephants arrived. “I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It’s hard to believe they are finally here.”
4. PETA Gets a New Los Angeles Office
When animal activist organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) needed a new office on the West Coast, Barker ponied up $2.5 million in 2012 to make it happen. He bought them an entire building in Los Angeles.
In return, PETA honored Barker by naming their newly renovated L.A. office the Bob Barker Building. Dog-friendly and all-vegan, the office houses PETA’s communications, marketing, youth outreach and International Grassroots Campaign departments.
“I support a long list of organizations, but I support PETA because I think that internationally it is probably the most productive of all animal-oriented organizations,” said Barker at the grand opening of the renovated building named in his honor.
5. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Gets New Ship
When Bob Barker met the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s (SSCS) Captain Paul Watson, Watson made a no-nonsense pledge.
“He said he thought he could put the Japanese whaling fleet out of business if he had $5 million,” Barker told the Christian Science Monitor. “I said, ‘I think you do have the skills to do that, and I have $5 million, so let’s get it on.”
Barker’s amazing gift enabled the SSCS to buy a 1,200-ton Norwegian built harpoon vessel which the organization refitted to its own anti-whaling purposes. That new ship now bears Barker’s name. Barker also funded the cost of a helicopter that escorts the SSCS’s ships out in the field.
“I’m delighted to be able to help the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in its mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans,” said Barker. “There is lot of talk about preserving our ecosystems and species, but this is one organization that puts these words into action.”
Photo credit (main image): PETA
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