Betty White spent her life advocating for animals. The Betty White Challenge to benefit animal shelters on what would have been her 100th birthday is a testament to the love she had for creatures great and small, and that’s why the birth of a baby giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on her birthday is the perfect tribute to a very special human being.
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The newborn giraffe, born to first-time mom Zindzi, is already up and walking after making the roughly six foot drop into the world.
Fewer Than 100K Giraffes Live In The Wild
According to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA), the population of wild giraffes has decreased by more than 40% in the past 20 years. The number of giraffes in the wild is less than 100,000; with so many threats facing the species, every birth is cause to celebrate.
Animal welfare and conservation was a cause that Betty White supported over the years. “A wildlife advocate, Betty White spent her life championing the cause of wildlife around the world,” the SDZWA said in a statement. “She worked with many conservation organizations, including the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, to shed light on the need to conserve wildlife.”
With wild giraffe populations under threat, there’s no better way to honor White than with the birth of an endangered animal on her birthday.
The Betty White Challenge Raises Money For Animals
When White passed away on New Year’s Eve, mere days before her 100th birthday on January 17, fans decided that the best way to pay tribute to the beloved actor was through donating money to animal shelters, sanctuaries and charities to ensure her legacy lived on.
Thus the Betty White Challenge was born. On January 17, people were encouraged to donate $5 to a charity of their choice in White’s name. Some sanctuaries and shelters had generous donors offering to match donations, helping to raise even more money for the animals in their care.
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Social media was flooded with sanctuaries expressing gratitude for the donations; so many donations came in, many animal welfare groups posted that it would take time to tally them up.
Countless Animals Named After Betty White Following Her Death
In the days following White’s death, animal shelters and sanctuaries across the country named animals in her honor. This comes amid news that she secretly paid for animals in the path of Hurricane Katrina to be relocated from New Orleans to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue has been a recipient of White’s generosity over the years. The star sent thousands of dollars to the sanctuary in Texas over the years. “A lot of people said it could be any Betty White, but the checks came from her house under her name and then started coming from her management company,” executive director Mark Meyers said. In his mind, there was no question: “It was the real deal Betty White.”
A baby donkey was born at the sanctuary on Christmas day, and after White’s death there was no question that the furry not-so-little bundle of joy would bear the name of the sanctuary’s benefactor.
As donations pour into shelters, White’s legacy lives on through a host of creatures great and small that now bear the name of the legendary actor.