Betty White has been remembered and celebrated as a hilarious comedian and brilliant actor, but also a wonderfully generous conversationist, philanthropist, and animal activist, since her passing on December 31 at the age of 99.
Animals were one of the big loves of Betty’s life, with her writing on Instagram in April 2021 for National Pet Day, “I have been a pet lover all my life” underneath a photo of her with two of her dogs.
But in addition to owning and caring for pets herself, she also dedicated a lot of time and money to advocating for important causes related to animal welfare and protection. One example was shared by Audubon Nature Institute following her death.
The Institute tweeted, “We lost a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend. When the penguins & sea otters were evacuated to @MontereyAq for Hurricane Katrina, Betty White paid for the plane to relocate them. She did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help.” Attached was a photo of an employee releasing a penguin into the water.
We lost a conservationist, animal advocate, and friend. When the penguins & sea otters were evacuated to @MontereyAq for Hurricane Katrina, Betty White paid for the plane to relocate them. She did not ask for fanfare; she just wanted to help. ❤️ #ThankYouForBeingAFriend pic.twitter.com/NLneNetezz
— Audubon Nature Institute (@AudubonNature) January 1, 2022
A spokesperson for the organisation told PEOPLE, “After Hurricane Katrina, a private plane was chartered to relocate Audubon Aquarium’s sea otters and penguins to Monterey Bay Aquarium. Audubon did not find out until after the trip that Betty White had paid for a portion of the trip.”
White was passionate about her animal advocacy work, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2012 that she was thrilled to be able to highlight issues affecting animals through her work with numerous organisations, including PAWS/LA and the Morris Animal Foundation.
She also spoke about her own pets, including her beloved Golden Retriever Pontiac, who had a tracking implant that White helped fund the development of. She added, “But he’s never very far from me. He doesn’t go very far because wherever I am he is.”
Pontiac passed away in 2017, and White decided not to adopt more animals due to her advancing age.
Image: Amanda Edwards/WireImage
This article first appeared on OverSixty.