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In Fond Remembrance of Bob Barker, Activist and Friend to Animals Everywhere

From Ed Stewart, PAWS President/CEO and Co-founder
August 26, 2023

Bob was extremely generous with his time, knowledge, and his resources. Who else could make arrangements with the U.S. Air Force to airlift an adult African elephant named Maggie out of an Alaska zoo to our sanctuary, and then pick up the tab?

[NOTE: Also read LARC Mourns the Loss of Mr. Bob Barker Animal Advocate, Philanthropist, Veteran, and Game Show Host]

Bob Barker Elephant Maggie
Bob and Maggie

All of us at the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary are paying tribute to Bob Barker, celebrating the life of this incredible man and animal activist who passed away today at age 99.

Bob is greatly responsible for PAWS’ nearly 40 years of success in advocating on behalf of and providing sanctuary to captive wild animals at our 2,300-acre captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, California.

I’m writing this while sitting in the pickup truck in which Bob would ride with me during visits to our sanctuary. He loved seeing the animals we care for, including elephants, big cats, and bears rescued or retired from zoos, circuses, and the exotic animal trade.

I am fortunate to have fought for animal rights alongside Bob for more than 35 years. We travelled to Alaska; North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Canada and other places to ensure that animals would be protected. Bob broke down barriers when organizations like ours couldn’t get a foot in the door, during an era when animal exploitation went unquestioned.

Paws was founded in 1984...

Bob was extremely generous with his time, knowledge, and his resources. Who else could make arrangements with the U.S. Air Force to airlift an adult African elephant named Maggie (pictured) out of Alaska to our sanctuary, and then pick up the tab?

He was always there when the animals needed him, whether it was awaiting the arrival of elephants from Canada or funding the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at the ARK 2000 sanctuary.

Bob often gave testimony on behalf of animals before governing bodies, including in Sacramento, Anchorage, Los Angeles, Canada, and Washington D.C. He was extremely effective. The rooms were always packed with people wanting to hear and see Bob Barker.

News reporters didn’t expect the high level of expertise Bob displayed in interviews. He spoke expertly on any animal issue he addressed. He was entertaining, but also one of the toughest negotiators I’ve ever seen behind closed doors.

I have spent time with celebrities over the years, but nobody elicited people’s love like Bob Barker. When PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and I expressed how beloved he was by everyone, he once quipped, “Of course, I give 'em all brand new refrigerators everyday!”

Bob’s generous nature extended to his fans, who often approached him when he was in public. He would gladly take pictures and sign autographs. I can’t remember how many times someone yelled, “Bob Barker, come on down!”

An authentic animal advocate, Bob left lucrative television jobs such as the Miss America Pageant because the show featured fur coats. His send-off at the end of every The Price is Right show for decades was to spay and neuter your pets. He literally changed the public’s perception of pet overpopulation for the benefit of companion animals everywhere.

Bob Barker Nancy Burnet
Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet in front of the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary, a gift from Bob's DJ&T Foundation.

My condolences go out to Bob’s family, and especially to Nancy Burnet, his very close friend for 40 years. Nancy and Bob made a formidable team that greatly improved the lives of countless dogs, cats, tigers, bears, and elephants.

When the late Pat Derby and I formed PAWS in 1984 we had no idea that the most popular man in show business would be our friend and fellow warrior.

For many years, I would send Bob a Christmas card and address it to “The Most Important Animal Rights Activist of All Time.”

There will never be another Bob Barker.

Thank you, Bob, for everything you have done for PAWS and for the animals. Rest in peace.

Please spay and neuter your pets.

Bob Baker

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