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Boston —

Bob Barker made a fortune and became a popular figure in millions of
American households thanks to his avuncular demeanor during his
35-year run on the US gameshow The Price is Right. But his warm smile
and encouragement for contestants belied a more pugnacious side that
has been revealed only in recent years.
As Barker told the Associated Press, he met Paul Watson of the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society through mutual friends in the animal
rights movement. Mr. Watson, who uses aggressive, confrontational
tactics with a rag-tag fleet of black-painted boats against Japanese
whalers every year in the Southern Ocean, made the following pitch,
according to Barker: "He said he thought he could put the Japanese
whaling fleet out of business if he had $5 million... I said, 'I think
you do have the skills to do that, and I have $5 million, so let's get
it on."
The Barker was acting as a replacement for Sea Shepherd's longstanding
flagship RV Farley Mowat, named for the Canadian conservationist
famous for authoring "Never Cry Wolf." The ship was seized by the
Canadian government in 2008 after it collided with two coast guard
ships as it sought to disrupt a Canadian seal hunt, and its captain
was charged with approaching the seal hunt without a permit. The
Canadian government took full ownership of the Mowat last year and is
seeking to sell it to cover berthing costs and other charges. The
Mowat was famous for painting on its side the tally of sunken whalers
for which it took credit.

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