Changing Planet

Betty White, Nat Geo Subscriber, Animal Lover

Thank you for being a friend, Betty White. “I’ve subscribed [to National Geographic magazine] for 60 years,” the 90-year-old actress told us on the eve of visiting Washington, D.C., for a Smithsonian Associates lecture and a book-signing at the National Zoo (her latest work is Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo).

Asked what kind of stories she enjoyed, the longtime animal advocate said, “I’m always thrilled when you get into the animals of course. I find them fascinating.”

She’s a zoo lover, too. White has spent spent many a Saturday morning at the L.A. Zoo walking with a favorite elephant and the elephant’s keeper. “We would just walk all over the zoo, no chains or anything, just walking with friends.”

She jokes that one good thing about animals is “they can’t talk, and you can lead them in so many different ways.”

But of course she is most concerned about the way humans mistreat animals: Speaking of the poachers who kill rhinos to slice off their horns, a subject recently covered in the magazine, she said, “It’s mind boggling how they can live with themselves.”

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