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PAWS IS HOME TO
3 ASIAN AND 5 AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
PAWS 35th Anniversary
Celebration and Fundraiser
On Saturday, November 9, the Bagatta Family of Laguna Niguel, California, is presenting an exclusive event to honor PAWS and its president and co-founder, Ed Stewart. The celebration will be held at the Carl Nolet, Sr. Hospitality Center in the Ketel One Pavilion in Aliso Viejo.
This amazing event features some very special guests, including Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, comedian, actress and writer Whitney Cummings, comedian and actor Kevin Nealon, and actor Ross McCall. This intimate evening, which benefits the rescued or retired elephants, big cats, and bears cared for at PAWS’ ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary, includes exclusive Nolet’s Silver Gin tasting, plant-based gourmet buffet, hosted bar and a silent auction.
Seating is extremely limited. All guests must be 21 years or older to attend.
Click here for information on the event, including ticket purchase or hosting a table.
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Above: African elephant Toka
It had to begin with elephants. . .
PAWS 2019: 35 Years of
Elephant Advocacy and Care
As we look back over the last 35 years, there’s no arguing that elephants have always been a big part of PAWS’ work for captive wildlife. We have cared for 19 elephants throughout the years and advocated on behalf of many, many more. As the late Pat Derby, PAWS’ co-founder together with Ed Stewart, once wrote, “It had to begin with elephants. . .”
In 1986, PAWS established itself as the first elephant sanctuary in the United States with the rescue of a sickly female calf named “71” who was captured in Zimbabwe after her mother and family members were slaughtered in a cull. She was part of a large group of elephant calves imported to the U.S. in the 1980s by a fitness equipment magnate who kept the calves on his sprawling Florida property – and later sold them off to zoos and circuses. 71 was very ill, extremely underweight, and, without Pat and Ed’s intervention, most likely would have died. Sadly, 71 succumbed to pancreatitis in 2009, a condition linked to her early health problems and lack of proper nutrition.
Mara (pictured left with 71, circa 1992) was the next elephant to find sanctuary at PAWS in 1990, saved from being sold to a circus. She was followed by Tammy and Annie, two aging Asian elephants from the Milwaukee Zoo. PAWS had exposed a gruesome training video made by the zoo for which Tammy and Annie were tied down with ropes and chains and cruelly beaten – repeatedly struck by keepers using heavy bullhooks and baseball bats. The ensuing controversy led to their transfer to PAWS in 1995.
Many more elephants found sanctuary at PAWS, each with their own story to tell (far too many to impart in this article!), such as Asian elephant Gypsy who spent nearly 40 years in the circus and African elephant Maggie, who was the only elephant in Alaska – both arrived in 2007. Our first bull elephant, Nicholas (left), also came to PAWS in 2007. PAWS remains the only sanctuary to care for bull elephants.
Advocacy efforts on behalf of elephants run throughout PAWS’ history – and continue today. In 1985 PAWS was the first organization in the country to investigate and obtain undercover video of circus animal abuse. In 1988, Pat Derby served on the Elephant Task Force, a committee formed by a California state senator in response to the horrific beating of African elephant Dunda at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. This resulted in passage of an elephant protection law that prohibited certain abusive practices.
Over the years, PAWS has launched nationwide campaigns aimed at ending the use of elephants in traveling shows and circuses, investigated elephant abuse, and presented testimony at special hearings in Washington, DC. We’ve been fortunate to work alongside longtime friends such as Emmy Award-winning television star Bob Barker and Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger.
Above: In 2015, PAWS' President Ed Stewart was a featured speaker at a rally held on the steps of California's State Capitol. Joining PAWS was "CSI" television star Jorja Fox and Gina Kinzley, lead elephant keeper at the Oakland Zoo. The day was all about elephants and two elephant protection bills before the legislature.
Always focused on our aim of ending the abuse of elephants, no matter where they may be confined or made to perform, PAWS set its sights on ending the use of elephant bullhooks. We helped drive the Los Angeles ban on bullhooks, signed into law in 2014, followed by a ban in Oakland, California – the first major U.S. cities to enact restrictions on major circuses. These actions set the stage for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to end its elephant acts in 2016 and then shut down forever in 2017.
PAWS co-sponsored the successful statewide prohibition on elephant bullhooks in California and teamed up to prohibit bullhooks in Rhode Island. We’ve actively contributed to other groundbreaking legislation, including prohibitions on the use of elephants in circuses in Illinois and New York State, a ban on wild animals in circuses in New York City, and the recent bans on wild animal acts in New Jersey and Hawaii.
With an eye to the future, PAWS has provided expert affidavits for groundbreaking legal cases by the Nonhuman Rights Project that aim for recognition of legal personhood for captive elephants.
PAWS is dedicated to doing everything we can for captive elephants: We provide hope for a better life by providing lifelong care, spacious environments, and a more natural life at our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary, opened in 2002. We also hold out hope for a better future by fighting to end elephant abuse, exploitation, breeding, and, ultimately, their captivity. At the same time, we work to impress upon everyone the urgency of protecting elephants and their habitats in Asia and Africa.
Thank you for joining us on this very worthy journey!
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PAWS' Innovative Outreach Program Welcomes Back College Students
PAWS is again offering Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife, a half-day learning experience for college professors and their classes. The program takes place at PAWS’ 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary in San Andreas, California, home to rescued or retired elephants, bears, and big cats.
The program explores the links between captivity, animal use, and larger wildlife issues. It is designed for, but not limited to, those interested in areas such as human-animal studies, animal welfare and behavior, biology, environmental studies, animal law, education, and conservation. The aim is to motivate students to think more deeply about the interface of humans and nature as defined by our interactions with wild animals in circuses, zoos, private menageries, and when kept as exotic pets – and inspire them to make a difference. To date, the response from students and professors has been enthusiastic.
Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife is offered through December; dates are limited. The course will take place again from February through June 2020. Professors are invited to bring interested students, free of charge.
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Tiger Pharaoh Passes Away
It is with tremendous sadness that we share the news that our dear Pharaoh has passed away.
Pharaoh was deeply loved here at PAWS, and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide him a safe and peaceful home for almost three years. He will be greatly missed.
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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.
Pat Derby: A Life Dedicated
to Protecting Captive Wildlife
Pat Derby, co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, was a champion for captive wild and exotic animals, particularly those used in “entertainment.” Working side by side with her partner, current PAWS’ president and co-founder Ed Stewart, they set a new standard of care for captive wildlife, including establishing the first elephant sanctuary in the U.S. Sadly, Pat lost a long battle with cancer and passed away on February 15, 2013. But her spirit continues to live in PAWS’ rescue, sanctuary, and advocacy work.
Pat’s bravery and vision for a better life for captive wildlife helped lay the groundwork for the profound changes we are seeing today, including the public’s increasing rejection of the use of wild animals in entertainment, whether elephants and tigers in circuses or orcas in marine parks, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to an end. Her battle against the use of cruel elephhant bullhooks has resulted in statewide bans in California and Rhode Island, with PAWS playing an integral role in their passage.
Pat remains an inspiration to everyone at PAWS and to the greater animal protection community. Her determination and fighting spirit continue to drive PAWS’ efforts to create a more just and humane world for captive wild animals, each and every day.
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 »
PAWS Celebrates the End of Wild Animals in Circuses in California
October 12, 2019 (San Andreas, CA) – The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) applauds California Governor Gavin Newsom for signing the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act into law. The bill, sponsored by Senator Ben Hueso and co-sponsored by PETA and Social Compassion in Legislation, ends the archaic use of wild animals for entertainment in circuses that come to California.
In circuses, wild animals such as elephants and big cats are forced to perform under threat of painful punishment, confined in cramped cages and crates as they are transported from show to show, held captive in sterile environments, and generally deprived of all that is natural to them.
“PAWS thanks Governor Newsom for signing this important bill and again demonstrating that California has a strong commitment to animal protection,” said PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart. “No wild animal should ever be used for entertainment.”
At the 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California, PAWS cares for captive wild animals, including some from circuses such as African lion, Camba, and three Asian elephants, Nicholas, Gypsy, and Prince. Gypsy spent nearly 40 grueling years in circuses and was traded at least a half-dozen times between different shows. Today, the animals live in spacious, natural habitat environments that give them room to roam and engage in natural behaviors.
Established in 1984 by Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby (once described as the circus’ “no. 1 antagonist”), PAWS has long fought to protect performing wild animals. Most recently, PAWS co-sponsored the California law enacted in 2018 that prohibits the bullhook, a menacing weapon used to control elephants through fear and pain. This bill paved the way for more protections for performing wild animals.
PAWS strongly supported the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act, including organizing a coalition of 20 organizations that contributed to the bill’s success. They include:
Performing Animal Welfare Society
Advocates for the Animals at Six Flags
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Welfare Institute
Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance
Born Free USA
Conservation Society of California – Oakland Zoo
Elephant Guardians of Los Angeles
In Defense of Animals
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Last Chance for Animals
Lions, Tigers and Bears
Nonhuman Rights Project
North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance
The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy
Tigers in America
PAWS thanks its California supporters who contacted their state Senators and Assembly members and attended important committee hearings. Your voices – and the compassionate values of Californians – were heard.
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Above: Ben the Bear arrived at PAWS in August 2012. Rescued from a roadside zoo in North Carolina, this is Ben today in his habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. Thanks to generous friends who went shopping on PAWS' Amazon Wish List, he now has a big, new, bright red, heavy-duty Boomer Ball to play with!
Working Together to Help Captive Wildlife: The Story of Ben the Bear
Often, it takes a team of people to help captive wild animals in need. The rescue of Ben, an 18-year-old bear living in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary, is the perfect example. It took concerned citizens, attorneys from leading animal protection organizations, a judge, and FedEx to deliver Ben to his forever home at PAWS seven years ago.
A life of deprivation
To see Ben today, you wouldn’t begin to guess the horrors of his previous life as a roadside attraction. Identified only as “Attraction no. 2”, for six years he was confined in a 12x22-foot chain link “kennel” (left) with only a concrete floor to walk on. His meals usually consisted of dry dog food, and they were dumped on the very same floor where he urinated and defecated. Ben spent hours repeatedly pacing back and forth, the result of living in utterly deprived conditions. His only distractions were occasional passers-by, a bowling ball, and a few pieces of rotting wood.
The legal team
The transport team
The sanctuary team
Thanks to your support, PAWS stands ready to assemble our team once again to rescue a wild animal in need – animals like Ben, who need and deserve so much better.
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The Importance of True Sanctuary
By Catherine Doyle
PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy
I recently heard about a comment made by a zoo employee, who said that PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary is “just a bigger zoo.” My immediate response was: How superficial! That person really doesn’t understand what a sanctuary is all about. Obviously, space is important, especially when you’re caring for the planet’s largest land mammal. Elephants need room to move and stay healthy. But there are many factors that distinguish PAWS from other captive institutions.
Animals come first
We are here to serve the wild animals in our care; their welfare is our primary concern. PAWS holds the highest standards of care for the animals, provided by a dedicated caregiver staff and veterinary team. The animals are cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and treated with the respect they deserve.
Different role of confinement
At ARK 2000 we use confinement to protect and better serve the animals, rather than control and display them for human amusement. PAWS openly acknowledges that even the greatly improved conditions we provide are still not enough to meet the needs of wild animals. As PAWS President Ed Stewart has said, "The only “state of the art” place for elephants, bears, big cats and other animals is the wild."
Safe haven for life
A true captive wildlife sanctuary does not breed, buy, trade, sell or otherwise exploit animals. The animals who come to ARK 2000 will remain in our care for the rest of their lives. Important social bonds are respected and will remain undisturbed.
Focus on the individual
Our animals do not perform, and the public is never in direct contact with them – no selfies, feeding, or other so-called “educational” encounters. PAWS' focus is on the individual for the sake of that animal only. They are not ambassadors for their species nor are they on display to send a message. If there is any message, it is that the situations these animals were rescued from, and the abuse and deprivations some of them suffered, should not be allowed to exist.
Larger spaces allow for more environmental complexity and more choice for the animals, whether it is engaging in self-directed activities or choosing to be closer to or farther from companions. At ARK 2000 the animals are immersed in complex natural areas that change with the seasons, effecting different behavioral opportunities and sensory experiences.
Quiet of nature
A large, natural habitat sanctuary offers subtle benefits: the quiet of living in nature, more intrusion-free lives, the relaxation that comes from no longer being exposed to the pressures of close confinement and social stress, privacy, and expanded visual, auditory and olfactory experiences.
Emphasis on rehabilitation
PAWS strives to help elephants be elephants, tigers be tigers, and bears be bears. Natural environments filled with grass, shady trees, bushes and lakes allow the animals to actively engage in instinctive behaviors such as foraging, swimming, exploring, climbing, socializing, or simply napping in the sun. Our patient and caring staff is there to support the animals and enable their remarkable transformation to the vibrant and thriving animals they are today.
View of captivity
PAWS seeks to create a deeper understanding of the problematic nature of captivity for wild animals and works to end the systems of abuse and exploitation that have created the need for sanctuaries to begin with. Captivity is not normal and we should not idealize it, even with the best of conditions. Wild animals belong in the wild, protected and respected.
As you can see, PAWS is much, much more than just a “bigger zoo.” It is a place that offers a new lease on life for the elephants, big cats, bears and other wild animals currently in our care – and those yet to come. It is also a place where each animal is respected as an individual with her or his own inherent value, and whose welfare and needs will always come first.
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Thank you Amazon "Wish List" Donors
AUGUST DONORS: Jack Gordon: two 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium. Antoinette Blum: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Darlene S. Murchison: two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat. Bert and Candace Forbes: one 24" red Boomer Ball. Valerie M. Smith: one box of CranAnidin, 75#. Katie, Kime and Dan Bloxsom: one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn; one box of CranAnidin, 75#. Joanne Judt: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat; one gal. Red Cell; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one box CranAnidin, 75#. Patricia Gartland: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium; one gal. Red Cell. Carole Bognar: one gal. Red Cell. Susan Ulinski: two gal. of Red Cell. Lynn Quinlan: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Dr. Julia N. Allen: one book, "Veterinary Drug Handbook" by Plumb. Laura Halen: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat. Penelope Yungling: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Lisa Klotz: one bag of Greenies Pill Pockets, 60#; one 8 oz. bottle EicosaDerm; one Probiocin. Joyce E. Hodel: one box of Denamarin, 30#; one box Crananidin, 75#. Anonymous Donors: two boxes of Denamarin; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat; two 5 lb. tubs of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Cat; two scoop shovels for the elephant barns; 10 bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol; one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn.
SEPTEMBER DONORS: Rose: one bottle of Renal Essentials 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS 132#; one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one 25 lb. bag of peanuts in the shell. Linda Toren: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Leona Heraty: one 3-pack of bleach. Patricia Christensen: one 25 lb. bag of peanuts in the shell. John Brucia: one 25 lb. bag of peanuts in the shell. Cathie Van Veen: one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Joyce E. Hodel: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Robyn Pierce: five Probiocin. Deb Kelly: one Probiocin; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Cindy in Sacramento: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Madeleine Schlemmer: two 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium. Kaywood G. Fuqua: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Kathryn M. Dodds: five 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium. Lisa Klotz: one book, "Images of Animals." Anonymous Donors: one bottle of Crananidin, 75#; one case of copier paper; one bottle of Azodyl 90#; one 3-pack of bleach.
View wish list items that are needed, but not included on our Amazon list here.
(209) 745-2606 Office/Sanctuary
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