‘Fawntasia’ honors Bob Barker, John Paul DeJoria

The California Wildlife Center is gearing up for its 12th annual fundraiser and celebration, titled, “The Wild Brunch-Fawntasia!,” to take place Aug. 22 at the ocean view Gulls Way Estate.

Honored award recipients this year are John Paul DeJoria, chair and CEO of Paul Mitchell Systems, and Bob Barker, best known for his years as host of the TV game show “The Price is Right.” Both have contributed greatly to causes benefitting native wildlife and lands, and are direct supporters of the center.

The CWC is a nonprofit organization that rescues and rehabilitates wildlife, and relies solely on public contributions for funding.

Barker will receive the Wild Angel Award from the CWC.

Since retiring from “The Price Is Right,” Barker has devoted much of his time to the DJ&T Foundation, which he formed in 1995 to help control the dog population.

“Bob Barker came to the center last year after his housekeeper brought us a cat-caught sparrow she had found,” said Victoria Harris, board president of the CWC. “Bob initially took the sparrow to his vet for treatment, but was told it should be brought to CWC for treatment and rehabilitation. About 10 days later Bob came up for a visit. Given his lifelong support of animals, he was surprised he had never heard of the California Wildlife Center.”

After that visit, Barker contributed funds to enable a full time veterinarian at the center, repave the center’s driveway, build badly needed outdoor rehabilitation enclosures, and purchase two vehicles (one for marine mammal transport and the other for rescue/transport of smaller animals), in addition to other DJ&T-funded projects.

“And … about four weeks after the sparrow was brought to us, he was successfully released!” Harris exclaimed.

Barker’s other animal advocating efforts include a donation of $5 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to underwrite its cost of stopping illegal whaling internationally, and for the purchase of a new ship for the society named the Bob Barker. He has also established endowments for the study of animal rights law at Harvard University and seven other prestigious law schools; and is funding two animal-related programs at his alma mater, Drury University in Springfield, Mo., the first such programs on animal rights at an undergraduate school.

John Paul DeJoria, who at one point in his life was homeless, is the co-founder and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, a top manufacturer of salon-only professional hair care products that has been serving the professional beauty industry for 25 years. In keeping with animal rights philosophy, the company does not test its products on animals nor has it ever tested its products on animals.

DeJoria will be honored with the Free Spirit Award by the CWC.

“We picked John Paul DeJoria for his ongoing support of CWC since 2002, and his overall support of many environmental causes,” Harris said. “John Paul and his family have visited the center on numerous occasions and he truly lives by his belief that ‘Success not shared is failure.’”

DeJoria stepped forward last spring when the center was in danger of closing and sponsored the first “Walk on the Wild Side” fundraiser, of which the proceeds enabled the CWC to stay open until its annual August event.

Inspiring the “Fawntasia” theme of this year’s fundraiser, it is the only permitted facility currently capable of rehabilitating fawns, of which the center currently has five.

Several weeks ago, the center picked up the fawn from the West Valley Animal Control Center in Agoura, where someone had dropped it off after picking it up off the 5 Freeway in the Bay Area. As the animal was from an entirely different area, and was a different species (i.e. black tail versus local mule deer,), it had to go back to its original area, Harris said. The CWC stabilized it, kept it in quarantine from the center’s five other fawns, and contacted the department of Fish and Game about next steps. Through a series of efforts and what Harris called a “fawn relay,” led by Executive Director Cindy Reyes, five people helped transport the fawn to a rehabilitation center in Northern California.

“All went according to plan, and at last report the little one was eating well,” Harris said.

The center has taken in a total of 2,635 animals in the past year. Beginning in the spring of 2010, the CWC began taking in rabies vector species, specifically bats, fox, and skunks. It is the only wildlife rehabilitation center in Southern California with a fully equipped hospital and full time wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Duane Tom.

It is expected that more than 500 guests will partake in events and food tasting at the Aug. 22 fundraiser, including: wine-tasting, courtesy of more than 10 vintners from Malibu and Napa Valley; two specialty Patron bars (DeJoria is also CEO of the tequila company); vegetarian cuisine from local chefs and restaurateurs; a dedicated children’s area with fun activities and their own buffet; and personal, complimentary sessions with psychics and healers. There will also be a live music performance by young actor Dominic Scott Kay and his band (including members of the Grammy award-winning Commodores) and a chance to win a one-week vacation in Maui.

The ever-popular silent auction will feature more than 200 unique items in nine categories, and there will also be a live auction. A rehabilitated hawk will be released after dessert is served.

More information on the “Fawntasia” fundraiser can be obtained by calling 818.222.2658 or online at www.californiawildlifecenter.org

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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