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The Golden Girls star Betty White couldn’t have a big party for her last birthday due to the pandemic. However, the lifelong animal lover was ”thrilled” when she received a ”surprise guest sloth” to help her celebrate her 99 years of life.

Sadly, White died before her 100th birthday. But those who knew her said she was grateful for fans and would never have imagined the outpouring of love animals received in honor of the day.

Betty White attends the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's (GLAZA) 45th Annual Beastly Ball at the Los Angeles Zoo on June 20, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.
Betty White | David Livingston/Getty Images

Betty White was a ‘long-time champion and friend’ to animals, like those at the Los Angeles Zoo

White’s love for animals started in her childhood and lasted all her life. She began working with the Los Angeles Zoo in 1966 and joined the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) board of trustees in 1974. Both released statements in the wake of her death.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about Betty’s passing … and want to offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends as we collectively mourn the loss of a true legend, on and off the screen,” Tom Jacobson, president of GLAZA, said in a statement (People).

Jacobson added, “Her work with [GLAZA] spans more than five decades, and we are grateful for her enduring friendship, lifelong advocacy for animals, and tireless dedication to supporting our mission.”

Denise M. Verret, the CEO and director of the Los Angeles Zoo, said in a separate statement, “Betty White Ludden’s legacy will have a lasting impact on all of us here at the Los Angeles Zoo.”

“The L.A. Zoo cannot thank Betty enough for her decades of support, and we share in this grief with all of you. There truly will never be another person like her,” Verret concluded.

Betty White couldn’t have a ‘big celebration’ for her 99th birthday, but she had a ’surprise guest sloth’

White died on Dec. 31, 2021, just shy of her 100th birthday. On her Instagram, her former assistant Kiersten Mikelas still shares pictures from her life, and many of them feature animals.

Celebrating International Sloth Day, Mikelas shared a photo of White in her backyard watching a sloth.

“Betty’s 99th Birthday occurred during the pandemic … so we couldn’t do a big celebration,” the post was captioned. “But our friends [at] Wildlife Learning Center generously offered to supply a surprise guest sloth to mark the occasion! Betty was THRILLED!”

Betty White received high honors on her 100th birthday


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Fans found various ways to pay tribute to White on what would have been her 100th birthday. Many honored her by donating to animal shelters.

As reported by Southern Living, “more than 390,00 people donated to #BettyWhiteChallenge fundraisers, raising a total of $12.7 million” across Facebook and Instagram.

“She could never have imagined such an outpouring of love and would have been so grateful to everyone,” White’s team shared with fans through her Instagram.

Goodable shared on Twitter that one breathtaking tribute unrelated to animals was particularly spectacular because it’s so rare: “… In one of the rarest honors they could bestow, both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls were illuminated fully in white” in honor of what would have been White’s 100th birthday.