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Privacy Policy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) PAWS assures unambiguously that: (1) PAWS will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. (2) In special circumstances, PAWS will only share personal information once the donor has given PAWS specific permission to do so.

Since 1984, The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades. PAWS investigates reports of abused performing and exotic animals, documents cruelty and assists in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of captive wildlife.



The five elephant habitats at ARK 2000 provide the elephants with hundreds of acres of varied natural terrain to roam, lakes and pools to bathe in, and elephant barns equipped with heated stalls and a indoor therapy pool.
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132kW Solar Energy System

Installed at ARK 2000

Above: Workmen install solar panels on top of the 20,000 sq. ft. Asian elephant barn at ARK 2000.

Solar panels line the rooftop of an 8,000 sq. ft. bull elephant barn at ARK 2000.


PAWS Goes Green!

PAWS is proud to announce that our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas is now powered by solar energy. Clean, renewable energy supplies 97% of the electricity to our elephant barns, big cat and bear facilities, offices, and soon to be opened Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. Not only are we helping the environment and encouraging clean air and water, we will save nearly $1.5 million in electricity costs over 25 years. This means that even more of your generous donations go directly to animal care and rescue.

PAWS contracted with SUNWorks, one of the fastest growing solar energy system providers in California, to install the 132kW system. There is an array of 420 solar panels on the rooftops of the Asian elephant barn and Prince's bull barn, which produce enough pollution-free electricity to power more than 25 homes for a year. Of course, our California climate is ideal for solar energy, with plenty of sunshine year round.

PAWS is committed to saving captive wild animals, as well as conserving our planet and its wildlife. For example, an entire tree-covered mountainside on the ARK 2000 property has been set aside to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. With our conversion to solar power, we further dedicate ourselves to creating a sustainable world.

Solar power has no associated air pollution emissions, so it does not contribute to global warming which is negatively affecting the world's wildlife on land and in our oceans. In its first month of operation alone, PAWS' solar power system has avoided the production of 25 tons of CO2 and carbon pollution equivalent to burning over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. This important renewable energy also requires no water to operate, so it does not pollute water resources or compete with agriculture or other important water needs.


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Above: Mara by the African lake at ARK 2000.


Spotlight on African Elephant Mara

Like all elephants, Mara has a story to tell. Hers began in Africa, where she was born around 1980. She lived with her extended family, as baby elephants do, doted on by loving aunts and older female siblings. Her mother would have been fiercely protective, as Mara explored the rich and complex natural world that was her home.

Then disaster struck. Mara's mother was killed in a cull - the unconscionable government slaughter of elephants to reduce the size of a population. Mara surely saw her mother and other family members executed. The traumatized two-year-old calf was captured as part of the operation and sent to the Catskill Game Farm in New York. There she was sold to a European animal dealer who also happened to own the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California, where he sent Mara. The lone elephant at the zoo, Mara "entertained" visitors during the day. But behind the scenes, she was immobilized in chains and trained with a bullhook.

It didn't take long before Mara's life was to change again. The zoo threatened to sell her to a circus in Mexico, but a kindly group called "Friends of Mara" took up her cause, determined to stop the transfer. Fortunately, a very generous mother and daughter donated the funds needed to purchase Mara from the zoo. (This family is still helping Mara and PAWS all these years later, and we cannot thank them enough for their support!) Friends of Mara sent the young elephant to Florida where she lived with 80 other imported elephant orphans on a 600-acre estate owned by Nautilus exercise machine inventor Arthur Jones. After a few years, Jones began selling all the elephants, and Mara was yet again slated for sale to a circus.

That's when PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby stepped in. They had previously rescued a sickly baby elephant named "71" from the same Florida estate. When they heard about Mara's fate, they alerted Friends of Mara and quickly moved to rescue her from a life of misery in the circus. Ed Stewart enlisted the help of a local truck driver and the two men headed out on the 6,000-mile, round-trip journey to Florida to pick up the young elephant and bring her back to PAWS. Mara (shown above with 71, circa 1993) arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in January 1990, and shared a habitat with 71. The two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.

Today, Mara is known for her mischievous spirit, athleticism, high energy, and love of large, leafy branches that she skillfully removes from the sanctuary's trees. She has come a long way from her real home and family in Africa - a life we can never give back to her. What we can do is give her and all of our elephants the best life possible in captivity, for the entirety of their lives.

As elephants have a natural life span of 65-70 years (though their lives in captivity are often tragically cut short due to decades spent in unnatural conditions), it takes real commitment to care for them. We are proud that we have been able to provide our elephants with stability, a spacious and enriching natural environment, and a life of peace and dignity. And it is you, our readers and donors, who make it all possible. Thank you.


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Where Will You Be Marching For

Elephants and Rhinos On Sept. 24?

On Saturday, September 24, the third annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos will take place in cities around the world to bring attention to the plight of these endangered animals. This year's march is timed to coincide with the opening day of the CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) meeting of the Conference of the Parties taking place in South Africa. CITES is a global treaty that protects species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. The treaty covers more than 35,000 species of wild plants and animals, and involves 181 member countries. The meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species.

At this year's conference, there are several key proposals affecting elephants and rhinos, including important proposals by the African Elephant Coalition - a consortium of 29 African countries seeking to protect elephants. One of the proposals seeks to ban the international trade in ivory by changing the CITES status of all African elephants to Appendix I, conferring the greatest protection possible. Another proposal would limit the trade in live African elephants to conservation projects in their native habitats. Unbelievably, other countries have proposals that would allow trade in ivory and rhino horn.

African elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of nearly 100 per day in some areas so their tusks can be turned into trinkets and carvings. A rhinoceros is killed every eight hours for its horn, to be sold as status symbols and unproven "medicines." So now is the time to take action for these iconic animals.

PAWS will be marching in San Francisco, as we've done for the past three years. The march will begin at 10:15 a.m. at Union Square (333 Post St., SF) and end there with a rally. Marchers are asked to meet at Union Square no later than 10 a.m. For more  information, visit or click here for March For Elephants' San Francisco Facebook event page.

If you can't join us in San Francisco, be sure to find an event near you and march to bring awareness to the plight of elephants and rhinos. To locate a march in your area, click here.

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PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and African elephant 71, walking through the hills at ARK 2000. Pat and Ed rescued 71 in 1986; she was PAWS' founding elephant. 71 died in 2008 - read about her here.

PAWS Cofounder Pat Derby:

Forever Our Inspiration

PAWS Co-founder Pat Derby would have celebrated another birthday on June 7th. Sadly, the world lost this fearless leader for the animals to cancer in 2013. Pat was a former Hollywood animal trainer who first championed the cause of performing wild animals nearly 40 years ago when she published a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger. She exposed the behind-the-scenes abuse of wild animals used in entertainment, which, not surprisingly, brought her Hollywood career to end. But it marked the beginning of her heart's work of rescuing and caring for captive wildlife, and advocating for an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in entertainment.

Each and every day we think about Pat and all that she, together with her partner, PAWS Co-founder and President Ed Stewart, have accomplished for captive wildlife. Her legacy lives on in the 2,300-acre, natural habitat ARK 2000 sanctuary, where, today, wild animals like elephants, bears and tigers live in dignity and peace.

This year, PAWS will be opening the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center, a comprehensive veterinary facility that will better serve the animals we care for at the sanctuary. It is a fitting and vital tribute to Pat and her unending love for animals.

Ed Stewart continues to lead PAWS into the future, building on the work for captive wildlife that he and Pat started more than 30 years ago. We thank you, our supporters - whether a new friend or longtime partner - for making this work possible.

Read Ed Stewart's 2013 tribute to Pat Derby here.


The following videos were created in honor of Pat Derby and shown during the PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala and the International Captive Wildlife Conference in November 2014.

The early years. (click on the picture to play video.)

It had to begin with elephants. (click on the picture to play video.)


At PAWS Sanctuaries rescued animals live in peaceful, natural habitats, free from fear, chains, and harsh confinement. They are at complete liberty to act out natural behaviors in the comfort of their individually designed enclosures. PAWS' animals are not bred, traded, sold, rented or forced to perform in any way. PAWS educates the entertainment industry, public officials and the general public in humane care and treatment of captive wildlife.

Through our public awareness campaigns, more and more actively concerned individuals are becoming aware of the problems inherent in the breeding of wildlife in captivity and the use of animals in entertainment. Learn More »




Register Today.

Space Is Limited and Filling Up Fast!!

The PAWS 2016 International Captive Wildlife Conference, taking place in San Andreas, California on November 11-12, features an exciting roster of speakers addressing the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals - with a focus on elephants, bears and big cats, and a special look at "next wave" sanctuaries for elephants, orcas and nonhuman primates. The conference will be followed by an optional visit to the beautiful, 2,300-acre, natural habitat ARK 2000 sanctuary on November 13, led by PAWS President Ed Stewart. ARK 2000 is home to elephants, lion, black leopard, tigers and bears.

Conference speakers represent a range of organizations and expertise:

Sanctuaries: Big Cat Rescue, FOUR Paws International, Global Sanctuary for Elephants, Lions, Tigers and Bears, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Project Chimps, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, The Whale Sanctuary Project. Scientific Research: Dr. Robert Jacobs, featured in Nat Geo's Mind of a Giant; Jamie Sherman, U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Animal Law: Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA Foundation. Zoos: Alaska Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Oakland Zoo. Animal Welfare, Policy and Conservation Organizations: Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Humane Society of the US, Tigers in America, Zoocheck.

Conference Program Overview

Friday, Nov. 11: Big Cats/Bears; followed by Ice Breaker Reception

Saturday, Nov. 12: Elephants/Next Wave Sanctuaries

Sunday, Nov. 13: Morning visit to ARK 2000 (conference attendees only)

PAWS has been presenting outstanding conferences since 1992, attracting speakers and attendees from around the world. Our aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion, and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife. 

Space is limited and filling up fast, so register today. Visit the PAWS Calendar of Events page and follow the link to registration information, list of featured speakers, and conference program. Be sure to register early — this conference is sure to fill up quickly!

We hope to see you in San Andreas in November!


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Governor Brown Signs California

Ban on Elephant Bullhooks!

PAWS is very proud to report that California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law SB 1062, the bill to ban the use of cruel bullhooks on elephants. The bill passed the California legislature with overwhelming bipartisan approval, passing the Senate and Assembly by votes of 27-10 and 65-7 respectively. PAWS has long campaigned to "Ban the Bullhook!" not just in California but across the nation. California is now the second state to prohibit bullhooks, after Rhode Island enacted a ban in July.

"PAWS applauds Governor Brown for signing SB 1062 and thanks Senator Ricardo Lara for his great leadership and compassion for elephants," said PAWS President Ed Stewart. "We are proud to have been a co-sponsor of this important legislation that will ensure these highly intelligent, sensitive and self-aware animals get the respect and protection they deserve."

The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. It has only one use: to control elephants through fear and pain. Handlers sharply strike, hook, and jab elephants with the bullhook, sometimes causing puncture wounds and lacerations. The device is most commonly used in circuses, elephant rides and other "entertainment," however, some zoos continue to cling to this archaic and inhumane device.

At the ARK 2000 sanctuary our keepers rely on positive reinforcement training, food treats, and praise to train and manage our elephants, and provide a full range of husbandry and veterinary care. PAWS has worked with elephants for more than 30 years, including bulls and highly dangerous elephants, and never used a bullhook.

The California ban on bullhooks is one more powerful indicator that public attitudes about the treatment and use of elephants in circuses, rides and traveling shows are rapidly changing. Stewart stated: "This is the beginning of the end for the use of elephants and other wild animals in entertainment."

As always, it takes a team to realize our goals for animals. PAWS was proud to co-sponsor SB 1062 together with the Oakland Zoo and The Humane Society of the United States, formidable champions for elephants. And we thank the indomitable Jennifer Fearing of Fearless Advocacy for her expertise and dedication to protecting all animals. PAWS appreciates our amazing supporters who made phone calls, sent emails, attended committee meetings at the Capitol, and collected letters in support of a bullhook ban. You really made a difference!

Special thanks go to PAWS' friends Kim Basinger, Lily Tomlin and Kevin Nealon who contacted the governor's office in support of SB 1062, and all of our entertainment industry friends who wrote letters, signed on to a collective statement opposing use of the bullhook, and used social media to inform others of the importance of this legislation.

PAWS would like to single out and thank the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums for its strong support. AZA-accredited zoos in our state have been bullhook-free for more than 10 years!

Our deep appreciation goes to all the state Senators and Assembly members who voted in support of SB 1062. We are proud to be in Assemblymember Frank Bigelow's district, and thank him for his compassion for elephants and strong support for banning the bullhook. PAWS also thanks Assemblymember Rob Bonta for his key support of SB 1062.

PAWS dedicates this enormous win for the elephants to the late Pat Derby, co-founder of PAWS, who was so passionate about ending the use of bullhooks. She once wrote: "The claim that this weapon can be used positively is pure nonsense, the very nature of the bullhook is to dominate through fear and violence."

PAWS is proud to have played a key role in passing the California ban (a two-year process), as well as the bullhook bans in Los Angeles and Oakland, California. We have also been active in the passage of ordinances in other major U.S. cities and the Rhode Island state ban, providing critical support and expert testimony.

Please consider making a donation today to celebrate this huge win for the elephants and to help PAWS continue its important work to "Ban the Bullhook!" and to end the suffering of elephants and other wild animals in circuses and traveling shows.


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Meet PAWS' Newest Resident Mack,

An Orphaned Yearling Black Bear

Mack's early history is a mystery, but it almost certainly was frightening, painful and lonely. Normally, wild bear cubs stay with their mothers until they are about two years old, learning from her what to eat, how to find food, and how to recognize and avoid danger. When Mack first came into contact with people last summer, he was a small cub only a few months old. Visitors to a tree farm in the hills above Claremont, California reported seeing a lone cub who was missing part of his right rear leg, soliciting food from people. No one saw his mother, nor had they seen any adult bears in the area. Although no one knew how he had lost part of his leg, it is suspected that it may have been traumatically amputated in a trap.

Mack stopped showing up at the tree farm, but he appeared at a nearby school a few weeks later, climbing a fence and clearly wanting to be near people. On July 15th, 2015, a warden from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife went to the school and picked him up. The little orphan was taken to the Fund For Animals Wildlife Center (photo above) in Ramona, California for evaluation and care. This facility takes in several orphaned black bear cubs every year and rehabilitates them for release back to the wild. When Mack arrived at the center, he weighed just 16 pounds. A veterinary examination revealed that his right hind leg had been traumatically amputated mid-tibia, but thankfully the amputation wound had healed and there was no evidence of infection.

The initial plan was to care for him until he was big enough to release back to the wild, and also to assess how well he was able to cope with his disability. Within a couple of months it became abundantly clear that although Mack could get around fairly well with three legs, he had become irreversibly habituated to humans and therefore was not a good candidate for release. Staff and volunteers at The Fund For Animals Wildlife Center provided expert care, a healthy diet specially formulated for a growing cub, and began the search for an appropriate, permanent home for Mack.

Soon after PAWS was contacted about providing sanctuary for Mack, PAWS' cofounder and director Ed Stewart and veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai traveled to Ramona to meet Mack and learn about his special needs. We learned that Mack is very active, but needed an enclosure without too many obstacles where he might bump his amputation site. We also learned that he loves water, especially splashing in a pool. We then set about remodeling an enclosure at our Galt sanctuary that had previously been home to tigers Roy, Kim, and Claire, who recently moved to ARK 2000. Uneven ground was leveled, additional soft soil brought in, and dirt ramps were built leading to a low, grassy hill where we thought he would like to rest. Mack arrived on August 16th, safely transported by our friend Bobbi Brink of Lions, Tigers, and Bears, a GFAS-accredited exotic animal sanctuary in Alpine, California.

Since his arrival, Mack has been settling in to his new home very well. He has a large pool to splash and play in, a cozy den, and a large grassy enclosure with a gently sloped hill and shady trees. Just as he has been learning about us, we have also been learning a lot about him. Mack appears to be a "night owl", preferring to nap during the day and being more active at night. Our 24-hour animal care staff see him playing in his pool at night (photo above), as well as exploring his habitat and resting on top of his grassy hill under the stars. He likes a variety of foods, but particular favorites are fish, grapes, avocado, dandelion greens and figs that grow on sanctuary grounds.

Mack is a gentle, playful bear who is full of energy and curiosity. The entire PAWS family is excited to welcome him to his forever home, and we look forward to watching him grow up with us.


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Thank you August Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

Danielle C. Anderson: one 5-lb. tub of Psyllium, one bag of Blue Buffalo, two bags of Greenies pill pockets. Patricia L Connelly: one case of copy paper; two Probiocin.

Belinda Rogers: one Probiocin. Carole Bognar: one 5-lb. tub of Psyllium. Heather Canini: one bottle Azodyl, 90#; one Probiocin; one 40-lb. case of oranges. Anne-Marie Maddox: one 4-pk of Azodyl, 360#; one 12-pk Probiocin. Samantha Navetta: one 10-lb. tub of Psyllium; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Jean Macomber: one 10-lb. tub of Psyllium. Lindi Clark: four Probiocin. Christina Sturken: two bags of Greenies pill pockets. Suzanne Block: one 5-lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: one 10' x 10' pop-up tent; one 5-lb. tub of Psyllium; two 5-lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat; three boxes of nitrile gloves (S/M/L). 


View wish list items that are needed, but not included on our Amazon list here.

Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606 Office/Sanctuary
(209) 745-1809 fax

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