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Patrick Wallace meets Jim Fowler of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom




   I had a most enjoyable evening last night attending a private dinner with Jim Fowler, co-host and host of the popular television series Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I grew up watching Wild Kingdom and learned to appreciate the natural world all the more because of Mr. Fowler’s educational approach and his cavalier attitude. Fowler is a renowned naturalist and professional zoologist. His mission as a naturalist includes educating the public about wildlife species throughout the world and preserving the environments in which the animals live. He continues to emphasize the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors.

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   After Marlin Perkins saw Fowler’s appearance on NBC’s Today Show in 1961, he invited him to co-host the pilot for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. The show premiered on January 6, 1963 and engaged millions of viewers as Perkins and Fowler took them to far corners of the world. Over the next twenty-three years the show had won more than forty major awards, including Four Emmys. Perkins left Wild Kingdom in 1985 and passed away the following year. Fowler served as host for the final year of the show. After Wild Kingdom, Fowler had appearances on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, hosted the Mutual of Omaha’s Spirit of Adventure and began giving regular wildlife reports for NBC’s Today Show in 1988. His resume also includes publishing a narrative titled “Jim Fowler’s Wildest Places on Earth” and designing the Wild Animal Park in Georgia.

   Jim Fowler was involved in many organizations including, Mutual of Omaha’s Wildlife Heritage Trust, Fowler Center for Wildlife Education, and The Explorers Club. He has also served on the boards of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Friends of Conservation, and Global Communications for Conservation. His awards include the prestigious Explorer Club Medal in 1994, the Lindbergh Award for significant contributions towards the balance and nature of technology, and an honorary doctorate from Earlham College.

   Today, Fowler splits his time between his home in Connecticut and his wildlife ranch in Albany, Georgia, but still continues to travel around the country educating people about wildlife conservation. His wife is Betsey Fowler, a wildlife artist, and they have two children, Carrie and Mark.


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