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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.
Learn More »




A Holiday Message

From PAWS President Ed Stewart

It’s an understatement to say that this has been a year like no other, and that we’re all eager to see 2020 come to an end. It’s been hard on everyone. That’s why I can’t thank you enough for being there for PAWS and the animals throughout this very difficult time. I am incredibly moved by your outpouring of love and support, even as so many people are struggling with challenges and losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You truly are the “heart” of PAWS.

Thanks to you, we have kept our three sanctuaries operating smoothly. The health and welfare of the animals is always our number one priority, and we continue to ensure that the animals receive the same great care by our expert caregivers and veterinary team. We are truly grateful for their dedication and love for the animals.

In 2021 PAWS will enter its 37th year of rescuing captive wildlife in need, providing rehabilitation and lifetime sanctuary care, and working to end the abuse and exploitation of wild animals through effective advocacy efforts. We look forward to continuing this life-saving work together with you.

On behalf of PAWS’ staff, board, volunteers, and all of the animals, I wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy holiday season. Ed Stewart President and Co-founder


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2020: PAWS' Year In Review

Throughout 2020, PAWS’ work for captive wild animals never stopped – whether caring for the animals at our three sanctuaries, engaging in key advocacy actions, or reaching out to educate the public. Read about PAWS’ highlights from 2020 in our December newsletter here.

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#GivingTuesday 2020:

A Tremendous Success!

PAWS thanks everyone who donated and made Giving Tuesday a terrific success for the eight elephants at our sanctuary. Through your compassion and generosity, PAWS more than doubled its fundraising goal of $50,000 in 24 hours to care for Maggie, Mara, Lulu, Gypsy, Thika, Toka, Nicholas and Prince. Your contributions provide daily care and veterinary treatments, nutritious diets, and special medications for our older elephants.

PAWS is very grateful to the donors who provided $51,000 in matching grants, including the Mr. and Mrs. Eric Kurtzman, Sandy Monticelli, Peg Cheng and Andrew Baldinger, Barbara and Anthony Nozzi, and one very special friend who wishes to remain anonymous.

Giving Tuesday is an annual day of charitable giving that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and benefits nonprofits everywhere.

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Cal Fire Delivers

Tasty Branches for the Elephants

A BIG thank you to our friends at Cal Fire (above) who delivered a truckload of tasty mulberry branches for the elephants at our ARK 2000 sanctuary. The elephants love these special "treats!" Every year Cal Fire trims the huge trees near their station in Calaveras County and then donates the branches for the elephants to enjoy. We are

so grateful to these wonderful firefighters for all they do

or the elephants - and for our community!

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Book a PAWS Speaker

for Your Online Class

If you are looking for a unique way to broaden your students’ online learning experience, PAWS can provide

a guest speaker for your college or high school classes. Topics can range from an overview of our sanctuary

work to more in-depth discussions of captive wild animal issues, ethics, and care. Available speakers are

Catherine Doyle, M.S., Director of Science, Research

and Advocacy, and Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services. Contact Catherine at for more information. Speakers

are provided at no charge.

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Owen the Bobcat, PAWS'

"Newest" Sanctuary Resident

For the last five years, Owen the bobcat (pictured below) has been living at PAWS' sanctuary in Galt, California, in what can only be described as a "witness protection program" of sorts. Read Owen's story here.



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In Memoriam

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.


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 »




Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting

and the Big Cat Pet Trade

The Big Cat Public Safety Act has been reintroduced as H.R. 263 by Reps. Michael Quigley, D-Ill., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn. We need your help once again to pass this important bill – and take it across the finish line!

Click here to see what you can do to help.

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A Tribute To Roy, A Very Special Tiger

It is never easy to lose a beloved animal, but it is especially hard when one we have known since he was a baby leaves us unexpectedly. Such is the case when tiger Roy passed away in late November after a sudden, very brief illness.

Roy and his sisters Kim and Claire arrived at PAWS in October 2003 when they were just four months old. (Read more about the tiger siblings in our June 2020 newsletter here.) They were rescued from a roadside zoo in New Hampshire that was being shut down. The zoo was known for breeding tigers to produce a steady supply of cubs who were used for photo and petting sessions with the public, and other exploitative uses. Captive tigers in these situations are often recklessly bred, producing cubs with genetic defects. Roy's crossed eyes and crooked spine were a lifelong testament to this reprehensible practice.

The cubs were welcomed into a large, grassy enclosure at our Galt sanctuary, complete with a swimming pool. Roy was a loving and protective big brother to his two smaller sisters. Under the watchful care of PAWS co-founders Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, Roy and his sisters thrived with a nutritious diet, dedicated daily care, and expert veterinary care.

In March of 2016, the three tigers were moved to a much larger habitat at ARK 2000. Here Roy enjoyed a custom-built swimming pool (below) that was large and deep enough for his 500+ pound frame to be able to stretch out and swim around in. Tiger Supervisor Renae and staff enjoyed watching him "swim laps", propelling himself along like a circling shark with the tips of his toes barely touching the bottom. He also enjoyed the sounds, sights and scents of nature from his hilltop habitat and was often found sprawled out in the tall grass or resting under a giant oak tree, his sisters always nearby.

In April of 2017, Roy developed a serious condition in his eyes which required surgical removal of his left eye, and later a ground-breaking graft procedure by veterinary ophthalmologists at UC Davis that successfully saved vision in his right eye. (Read "Special Veterinary Care for Tiger Roy" in our April 2017 newsletter here.) He bounced back quickly from his surgeries, and kept a cheerful, outgoing personality even as he began having symptoms of early onset arthritis and mobility challenges caused by the curvature of his spine and its effect on his spinal cord. For the past few years Roy's caregivers made sure that he received daily medications and special supplements hidden in food to help with the arthritis and to support the health of his remaining eye.

November 21, 2020, saw a dramatic change in Roy. Suddenly he was reluctant to move or eat and was barely responding to caregivers. PAWS' Veterinarian Dr. Gai, assisted by President Ed Stewart and Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, administered supportive fluids and other medications and made sure Roy was comfortable in his cozy, hay-bedded den. A remote camera was placed nearby so that Dr. Gai and staff could monitor him closely, and our overnight staff checked in on him frequently. Roy passed peacefully in his sleep that night. Preliminary necropsy results from U.C. Davis revealed a rare type of meningoencephalitis was likely the cause of his death, a condition that would have been impossible to cure.

Roy and his story made a lasting impression on everyone who met him. Many ARK 2000 Open House guests will remember him coming down the hill to greet them with a friendly "chuff" from inside his habitat. He was physically impressive, and the largest tiger PAWS has ever rescued. Even standing on all four feet he was almost as tall as some of his caregivers. His very regal appearance could quickly turn into silly cub behavior as he rolled around on his back and chuffed cheerfully. His positive attitude, easygoing personality, and affection for his sisters made him very easy to love.

Roy passed from this life at the age of 17 years, and we will always miss and remember our "big man."

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For the Wild Animals at PAWS:

Peace and Quiet Prevails

You’ve probably read recent stories about wild animals venturing back into towns and cities since the coronavirus shut down much of the world and emptied busy streets. Wild goats regularly enter a seaside town in Wales and munch on windowsill flowers. A mountain lion was spotted asleep in a tree in a normally bustling area of Denver, Colorado. Even in natural settings like Yosemite National Park in California, numerous bears, bobcats and coyotes have come out of hiding. (Typically, more than 300,000 people would visit the park in April.) With the stillness, animals are at least temporarily reclaiming what was once theirs.

At the ARK 2000 sanctuary, we understand that quietness is essential for captive wild animals too, especially those who once suffered terribly in circuses, roadside zoos, and the captive wildlife trade. The tranquility of nature that now surrounds them is an important benefit of the sanctuary that aids in the animals’ rehabilitation. ARK 2000’s truly natural setting and the peace that comes with it allows the animals to relax and engage in more natural and varied activities. They can play, explore, search for food, socialize, splash in a pool, or nap in the sun. The choices are there for them. The animals are also more in tune with the complexities of their surroundings as the seasons change, bringing different sights, sounds, and smells.

An important part of our work is to make the animals’ lives as intrusion-free as possible. This is why we choose to remain closed to visitors, except for a limited number of educational events at ARK 2000. Many of the animals we care for were once on public display: Asian elephant Gypsy was forced to perform in circuses for nearly 40 years. Asian bull elephants Nicholas and Prince came from circuses as well. Ben the bear paced in a tiny, barren cage at a roadside attraction. African elephants Lulu, Thika, Toka, and Maggie spent most of their lives in zoos. African lion Camba traveled in a circus, and the Colorado tigers were exploited at a roadside zoo. At the sanctuary, they now have a safe space and privacy.

Free from the stress of close confinement, cruel training and forced performances, and the numbing tedium that comes from being deprived of all that is natural to a wild animal, the animals at PAWS can unwind. With time, each new rescued animal blossoms, revealing the individual they truly are. Most recently we’ve seen this with the Waystation Three tigers, Mungar, Czar, and Tessa (read more about them here.

Thankfully, ARK 2000 remains tranquil, and the animals are blissfully unaware of the pandemic that surges outside. That’s as it should be. While we face some challenges – as many of you do at this time – our dedicated staff continue to care for the animals and keep the sanctuary operating smoothly. As ever, our priority is the health and welfare of the animals. Part of that is providing the most natural – and quiet – conditions possible in captivity. Shhhhh. . .


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Thank you

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

DECEMBER DONORS - Robert Croft: four bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Asher A. Borrodaile: two Probiocin. Animal Health Vaccines in honor of Jane Droogsma's birthday: one bottle of Emcelle Tocopherol. Christina Goulart: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Gabrielle and Jeffrey Callison: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Marsha Gladding: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; one 2-pack of Laxatone. Susan Stangland: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Mary McDonald: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one 2-pack of Laxatone, one bottle of Eicosaderm. Dayoan Rivera: two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Skylar Cye: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Kimberley Ferra in honor of Pamela Flowers: two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat.

NOVEMBER DONORS - Pam Giannini: four boxes of Denamarin; one Probiocin; one box of Laxatone. Kyera Giannini: nine 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat; 10 bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; 20 bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#; nine bottles of Azodyl, 90#; three 32 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Erin Malloy: three Probiocin. Carole Bognar: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Shannon Guzzo: one box of Denamarin, 30#; one bottle of Azodyl, 90#. Mary Warrick: five bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#; five boxes of Denamarain, 30#; one gallon of Red Cell; two quarts of Red Cell; five Probiocin. Sophie Stimac: one 64 oz. box of raisins. Linda McNall: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Anonymous Donor: one 64 oz. box of raisins


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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