Contact Us | Site Map | Shopping Cart
Make a Donation to PAWS
Adopt an Animal
Become a Partner

Follow us:

Text JOINPAWS to 22828 to sign up for PAWS newsletters and important email alerts.

(Message and data rates may apply. Check with your service provider.)

Or, sign up online using the link below!

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.
Learn More »





Sign the Bob Barker/PAWS Petition Asking Film Production Company

to Stop Using Live Elephant!

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and

Bob Barker have teamed together on a petition asking

FJ Productions to reconsider use of a live elephant in its current production of Saving Flora, a film about an

elephant fleeing a circus. In real life, the elephant, Tai,

has been subjected to the same training methods
used in abusive circuses, and has even been made to perform in circuses!

Sign this petition (below) urging FJ Productions to replace Tai with a computer-generated elephant in the filming of Saving Flora!

Have Trunk Will Travel, the California-based company that owns Tai, was caught on camera during a training session in which handlers forcefully struck and hooked elephants with a bullhook - a weapon resembling a fireplace poker that is designed to inflict pain and punishment (click here

to view video). Tai's owners publicly defended this outrageous practice, and have consistently opposed legislation to better protect captive elephants, including

the California bullhook ban, which goes into effect in January 2018.

"There is no place for animal cruelty in entertainment," stated Emmy Award-winning television host Bob Barker. "Today we have the technology to replace live animals in film productions, so there is no excuse for using live elephants or other wild animals, who are cruelly trained to perform."

PAWS, Bob Barker, elephant sanctuaries, national animal protection organizations, and conservationists have issued an open letter to FJ Productions, urging the company to replace Tai with a computer-generated elephant. Read

the letter here and then sign the petition!



* * * *



PAWS Contributes to Animal

Protection, Welfare and Science

In addition to rescuing and providing safe refuge for captive wild animals, PAWS contributes to furthering the cause of animal protection, welfare, and science through our biennial International Captive Wildlife Conference (coming in November 2018) and participation in professional conferences. PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart will be participating in a panel at The Animal Law Conference, presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lewis and Clark Law School, in Portland, Oregon, October 13-15. The panel, entitled "Animal Sanctuaries - More Than Just a Place to Live," takes place on Saturday, October 14, 2017. For more information about the conference click here.


* * * *



PAWS Celebrates the Five Year Anniversary of Ben the Bear's Arrival

This year marks five years since Ben, a hybrid black bear, arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. He is the only one of our bears who can claim to have been transported to PAWS via "Bear Force One," courtesy of FedEx!

Ben came from Jambbas Ranch Tours in North Carolina, where he was confined in a small and barren cement-floored cage for six long years, just so tourists could gawk at him. Bears are intelligent, curious and active animals, yet Ben was unable to do anything that wild bears naturally do, such as climb, forage or explore. His only source of enrichment was an old bowling ball and a few decrepit stumps of wood. Ben spent his time repetitively pacing in his cage - a sign of chronic stress and boredom.

Thanks to efforts by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA and concerned citizens, Ben was finally freed from his miserable cage and readied for transfer to ARK 2000. Upon hearing Ben's story, FedEx agreed to fly him to California, dubbing the plane "Bear Force One." When Ben was released into his new sanctuary home, it was likely the first time he had ever felt grass beneath his feet.

Today, Ben explores a spacious enclosure in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat where space is measured in acres, not feet. He enjoys searching for favorite foods that his caretakers hide for him, including watermelon, apples and berries. His enclosure is filled with shady trees, natural vegetation, grass, and a pool that Ben loves to swim in year round. Sadly, Ben had been declawed, so it is harder for him to engage in certain bear behaviors, such as tearing apart logs to root out insects. Nevertheless, he is an easy-going and responsive bear who has grown confident in his surroundings.

PAWS is pleased to report that Jambbas Ranch Tours is no longer open to the public. The anniversary of Ben's arrival reminds us that there are other bears who still suffer in horrific conditions in roadside attractions, cruelly forced to perform ridiculous tricks in traveling shows, and bred for cub petting operations where the cubs are discarded after they become larger and more dangerous to handle. Thanks to your support, PAWS is there to provide safe refuge for bears like Ben and other wild animals in need.

Please consider making a special donation to PAWSin honor of Ben's anniversary by clicking here.

Watch a video of Ben the Bear's rescue here.


* * * *



More About Bears:

An Update on Mack

In August 2016, PAWS welcomed a new sanctuary resident: Mack, a young black bear who lost part of his right rear leg, possibly in a trapper's snare. Normally, wild bear cubs remain with their mothers until about two years of age. But at only a few months old, Mack was pathetically begging for food from people, and was eventually captured by authorities. Mack now lives in a specially adapted, large grassy enclosure at our Galt sanctuary, where this energetic young bear can safely climb, dig, forage or curl up in his cozy den.

It didn't take long for Mack to get comfortable in his new surroundings. He especially loves the fountain-like stream of water that his keepers set up for him in his pool. In fact, Mack's antics made him an Internet sensation this year, with a video of his enthusiastic splashing shared on countless media outlets around the world.

Mack's life today is a far cry from his early days, which almost certainly were filled with pain, loneliness, fear and desperation. Today he is loved and cared for each and every day. . . and he continues to splash away in his pool!

Our dream is to one day create a new area at the ARK 2000 sanctuary, with specialized habitats for our older bears and special needs bears like Mack. These habitats would be more easily navigable, provide additional comforts, and allow each bear to more fully enjoy life. The existing habitats could then be filled with even more bears in need.


* * * *


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.

Taking Action for Performing Wild Animals

In the 1960s and 70s, Pat was best known for her work as an animal trainer on Hollywood film and television productions, including “Gunsmoke”, “Lassie”, “Daktari”, and “Flipper.” She was the trainer for cougars Chauncey and Christopher, who graced the Lincoln Mercury “Sign of the Cat” ad campaign, and were the most recognized advertising symbols in the country at the time. Behind the scenes, Pat witnessed the pervasive neglect and abuse of performing wild animals and decided to take action. She wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, exposing the inhumane treatment and calling for better standards of animal care and handling. The book went on to win an American Library Association Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection. With this bold action, Pat became the first to champion the cause of performing wild animals – and later campaigned for those in circuses and other “entertainment” – and inspired modern animal protection organizations to take up this important cause.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society is Born

Pat met Ed Stewart in 1976, and the two spent the next few years promoting The Lady & Her Tiger with television appearances on the “Today Show”, the “Tonight Show”, “The Merv Griffin Show” and other national media outlets. They also toured extensively, educating people about the serious welfare problems suffered by performing animals. In 1984 Pat and Ed established the Performing Animal Welfare Society to formalize their captive wildlife protection work. Their first effort was to create standards for the care of captive wildlife in California, which they achieved that same year with the enactment of Assembly Bill 1620. They also began investigating, protesting and exposing the abuse of wild animals in circuses. In 1986, Pat and Ed established their first sanctuary in Galt, California, to care for abused and abandoned captive wildlife. Today, under Ed’s leadership, PAWS operates three sanctuaries in California for captive wild and exotic animals, including the 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge in San Andreas that is home to elephants, big cats and bears. It is the only accredited sanctuary in the country to house male elephants.

Leadership in Animal Care and Advocacy

Pat remained an outspoken advocate for captive wild animals until the end. As a recognized expert on the care of captive wildlife, she testified twice before Congress on efforts to end the use of elephants in traveling shows. She also served on several state committees to set standards for the care and handling of captive wildlife, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director’s Advisory Committee on the Humane Care and Treatment of Wild Animals, a position now filled by Ed.

Pat’s Legacy for the Animals

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.



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 »





Celebrating Tigers

PAWS is deeply committed to tigers, who are desperately in need of help both in the wild and in captivity. As part of our commitment, we rescue and provide lifelong care for tigers in great need. The tigers at PAWS receive top notch daily and veterinary care, and live in a natural habitat environment in which they can heal from the stress, abuse, or insufferable living conditions they may have had to endure before coming to the sanctuary. We also actively support legislation to bring about the changes needed to end the suffering of tigers in captivity.

Dedicated to Rescue

PAWS has a long history of rescuing tigers, but our greatest undertaking took place in 2004, when we saved 39 sick and starving tigers from Tiger Rescue in Colton, California, a facility that once offered tours to the public and photos with tiger cubs. It was the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history at the time. When state officials closed the facility and confiscated the animals, they found more than 90 dead tigers, 58 dead tiger cubs in freezers, and dozens of live tigers in terrible condition. The rescue was an enormous undertaking for PAWS, and 13 years later we continue to care for the remaining aging tigers at great expense. The cost to date is estimated at $3.75 million for their housing, food, staff and veterinary care.

Earlier this year PAWS provided safe refuge for eight tigers from a defunct roadside zoo in Colorado that was breeding the animals to produce cubs the public could handle for a fee. These operations must constantly breed to maintain a supply of cubs, who can only be used for a short time. Once larger and even more unsafe for the public to handle, the young animals become unprofitable. They are then sold to unscrupulous dealers, roadside zoos, private menageries, or as exotic pets, and often end up living in miserable conditions.

Tigers Roy, Kim and Claire have been with PAWS for 14 years now, since they were just four months old. They are the product of exploitation by a roadside zoo that was breeding big cats for other disreputable zoos, the exotic pet trade, and "pay to pet" operations. The siblings have been spayed or neutered, as PAWS never breeds any of the animals in our care.

Zeus, Jake and Apollo arrived at PAWS in April 2012. They were part of a rescue of 32 wild and exotic animals from a failing facility in Ohio. Today these tigers roam an expansive natural enclosure filled with bushes, trees and grass.

Click here to learn more about the tigers living at ARK 2000. As space allows, and with your help, PAWS plans to rescue even more tigers in need.

Working to end the problem

Facilities that breed big cats for profit care only about producing more cubs and making money. They couldn't care less about the ill effects that irresponsible and uncontrolled breeding can have on the health and welfare of the animals. That's why PAWS not only rescues captive tigers in need, we also advocate for an end to the non-stop breeding of big cats that causes so much suffering.

PAWS is strongly supporting a federal bill, The Big Cat Public Safety Act, that would end the rampant breeding of big cats for "pay to pet" operations. Introduced by Congressman Jeff Denham of California, this bill better protects the public and the animals, and it needs your support.

How you can help: Please call your U.S. Representative (click here to locate name and phone number). You don't have to be an expert on the issue. What is important is that your Representative knows a constituent supports the bill.

When you call: Tell the aide who answers the phone that you live in the Congressman's district, and give your zip code. Then simply say you are calling to urge the Representative to cosponsor HR 1818, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. (Click here to see if your Representative has already cosponsored the bill.) Always be calm and polite. Because few people call their legislators your call will have much more impact than an email.

Tiger Facts

Tigers are the largest of the big cats, and they are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 4,000 living in less than four percent of their former range. Only 100 years ago, 100,000 tigers roamed across Asia.

Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, overhunting of prey species by local people, habitat loss and fragmentation, and human-tiger conflict are driving the disastrous decline of the tiger population.

There are 5,000-10,000 tigers held captive in U.S. backyards, petting zoos and even truck stops - more than the number of tigers in the wild!

An estimated 5,000-6,000 captive tigers are "farmed" in China for their skins, bones and body parts, which are sold as status symbols and in medicinal markets. There may be as many as 8,000 tigers on farms across Asia and Southeast Asia. Tiger farms are also found in South Africa.

Domestic and international trade in tiger parts has grown, despite a 2007 international agreement that tigers should not be bred for this purpose.

Captive operations like tiger farms in Asia (above) and petting zoos in the U.S. do not help conserve tigers. National Geographic reports that tiger farms range from small operations to industrial-size facilities, like those in China. Some are promoted as zoos or sanctuaries to attract tourists who come to gawk at the tigers, especially cubs. The tigers are later slaughtered, and their pelts, bones and body parts sold. Conservationists agree that tiger farms simply increase the demand for products derived from tigers and remove the stigma surrounding their purchase, encouraging even more sales. This in turn fuels the poaching of wild tigers. Many consumers prefer "medicines" derived from wild tigers believing they are more potent than those from captive-bred tigers.

In the U.S., "pay to pet" operations are continually producing more tigers. Their main concern is about profits and not the welfare of the animals, or whether the facilities to which tigers are sent can provide proper care. Tigers sent to private owners are likely to go unmonitored by government officials, making them easy targets for the black market. Those sales threaten wild populations by driving the demand for products derived from tigers, which leads to more poaching.

Through irresponsible and unethical breeding practices, roadside zoos across the U.S. are creating "Frankencats" (right) - tigers with birth defects due to incestuous inbreeding to produce white colored coats, and tiger-lion hybrids such as ligers, tigons and liligers - hybrids that would never occur in nature. Earlier this year, PAWS was part of a group of organizations that submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking to stop the breeding of these unnatural hybrids. These cats are more likely to experience a range of debilitating health problems than other big cats. White tigers are also highly inbred, and, contrary to misleading claims, have no conservation value. Better-run zoos prohibit such breeding.

Actions you can take to help tigers include:

Avoid visiting roadside zoos.

Never have your photo taken with a tiger cub.

When traveling to Asia, avoid attractions that allow you to pet adult or young tigers, or force tigers to perform tricks.

Do not attend circuses with wild animals.

Never buy any product derived from tigers.

Share what you've learned about tigers with friends, family and colleagues, through word of mouth and social media.

Support an organization that fights to conserve and protect wild tigers such as Environmental Investigation Agency, Wildlife Trust of India, or Panthera.

Make a donation to PAWS!


* * * *



In Memoriam

PAWS Bids Farewell to Paka Serval

and Cinnamon Bear

We are saddened to share the news that two of our older, long-term sanctuary residents have passed away. Although both were considered elderly, and lived a good long life with us, it is always hard to say goodbye to animals that have been such a big part of our daily lives.

Paka (above) came to live at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in 2000 as a young cat. She had been relinquished anonymously to an animal shelter in Santa Clara, California, by someone who claimed to have found her running along a busy freeway. In reality, she was most likely someone's illegal pet. She arrived at PAWS malnourished, loaded with parasites, and most tragically, had been declawed on all four feet.

Paka flourished at PAWS with a nutritious diet, expert care, and a habitat with grass, trees, and structures to climb on. Small but feisty wild cats, servals are naturally found throughout wetlands and savannah areas in Africa where they hunt prey by hiding in tall grass and leaping into the air to snatch birds in flight. Paka could often be found stalking bugs or anything that moved, and she was also fond of curling up inside a large straw-filled tub (above) for a nap. One of her favorite people was our co-founder, the late Pat Derby, who would speak gently and affectionately to Paka, causing her to drool (a sure sign of pleasure!) and rub her head along the fence in response.

Paka succumbed to kidney failure on August 11th, after a brief illness. She was a beloved member of the PAWS family and we will miss her beautiful face and spitfire personality. She was estimated to be 17 years old.


Cinnamon (above), a female black bear, came to PAWS in 2003 along with three other bears, Sampson, Oma, and Scarface (now deceased). The four bears had been confiscated by authorities and were housed temporarily at the Houston SPCA before coming to PAWS. Prior to their removal, all four bears were part of a small, drive-through roadside exhibit where they lived in horrendous conditions. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous violations and the animals were impounded. Cinnamon had been declawed by her previous owner, a travesty considering that bears use their claws in a variety of natural, essential activities such as climbing, digging, and ripping bark off of logs to find bugs and worms.

Cinnamon had a special affinity for Sampson. After the bears' move in 2011 from the Galt sanctuary to ARK 2000, the two bears shared a large, oak forested enclosure in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat. Bears enjoy water, and Cinnamon and Sampson had their very own, custom-built swimming pool, which she especially enjoyed on hot summer days. Another of Cinnamon's favorite activities was to forage for acorns that naturally drop from the trees during the fall.

Cinnamon was appropriately named, with a gorgeous copper-red coat. Black bears can naturally have variety of different coat colors, from jet black to reddish brown and to almost blonde. Cinnamon made up for her smaller physical stature with her spunky, confident energy. She especially enjoyed curling up for a nap in a thick bed of pine needles under a tree.

Cinnamon began showing early signs of arthritis in 2013, with some stiffness in her legs. PAWS' dedicated keeper staff made sure that she received special medications and nutritional supplements to support her joints and to provide comfort as her arthritis gradually became more severe. She remained active, exploring her habitat with Sampson, until early summer of this year when she suddenly had great difficulty standing and walking. An examination by PAWS' veterinarians, and X-rays reviewed by a veterinary radiologist, confirmed that her entire spine was affected by severe arthritis that had caused damage to her spinal cord.

After heroic efforts to ease discomfort and restore Cinnamon's mobility, it became clear that she would never be able to walk again. Keeping in mind Cinnamon's well-being and quality of life, the incredibly difficult, but most humane decision was made to gently euthanize her to prevent future suffering. Cinnamon passed from this life on July 27, 2017, at the age of 21 years, surrounded by many who loved her. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and cared for her.


* * * *


Thank you August Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

Patricia L. Connelly: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Maggie Rufo: one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#. Caroline Kane: one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat; one bottle Azodyl, 90#; one bottle Duralactin, 180#; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#; two bottles Renal Essentials, 60#. Christina Vasseur: two 40 lb. boxes of oranges. Catherine C. Zugar: one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat. Carole Bognar: three Probiocin gel. Dina Storozhenko: one 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo. Carole A. McNamara: one bottle CosequinDS, 132#. William F. Mentus: one bottle AminAvast, 60#; one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin & Coat. Joyce E. Hodel: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Ultimate Equine, Skin & Coat; one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#. Anonymous Donors: two 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin & Coat; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin & Coat; two bottles CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#.


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

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use