Beloved TV star Bob Barker has spent almost $1 million relocating three African elephants from Canada to the warmth of California.
The dedicated animal-rights advocate spent two years lobbying local officials in Ontario for the three females – Toka, Thika and Iringa – to be released from Toronto Zoo and moved to a climate more similar to their natural habitat.
Authorities finally agreed and the trio were transferred to a sprawling estate in San Andreas over the weekend.
Barker was on hand to welcome the elephants into their new home, and admits he welled up at the sight of the animals enjoying the benefits of the compound.
He tells the New York Daily News, “These three were confined to a barn most of the year, probably as much as 80 per cent of the time, and they were slowly going to die right there in that zoo.
“I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when those elephants arrived. I knew their lives were changed forever. I stayed over an extra day and saw them come out of their new barn into a big fenced-in area where there’s even a muddle puddle for them to play in. It was wonderful.”
The 89-year-old former “The Price is Right” host insists he’s happy to spend his own fortune on ensuring animals are treated with respect.
He adds, “I have a will, and I was allocating money for various groups when I thought, ‘Why should I do this? Why not give it away now so I can see it in action and enjoy it?’
“I had a wonderful time earning this money, and I’m having just as much fun, if not more, giving it away. I plan to die broke.”