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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 provides 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 »




PAWS — 30 Years of Rescue,

Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy

This is a very special year for PAWS, and we invite you to join us in celebrating our 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, advocacy and education for captive exotic wildlife and performing animals. It is you, our friends and supporters, who have helped realize our great strides on important issues affecting animals, and ensured that the bears, lions, elephants, tigers, eland, Canadian lynx, and many more animals at PAWS continue to live in peace. With your help we will continue to accept animals in need, including elephants, and provide the refuge and rehabilitation they so desperately need.


Pat Derby and Ed Stewart with baby elephant 71, shortly after her arrival in 1986. "Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71, and all our programs were developed from our experience with her. Without 71, there would be no PAWS." (Pat Derby, 2009)

We look forward to sharing an exciting future with you, as we fulfill our vision of creating a better life for captive wild animals. Our vision includes continuing the process of creating habitats at ARK 2000 for the animals still living at our original sanctuary in Galt, Calif., creating an additional facility for female Asian elephants, building additional barn space for African elephants (our 20,000-square-foot African barn is now at capacity), and completing the expansion of Bull Mountain (PAWS is the only sanctuary to take male elephants).

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters where we'll be providing more information on our campaigns, rescues, and ways you can help the animals. And don't forget to save the date for PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference November 8-10, featuring some of the most progressive voices on key animal issues.

As always, it is you, our supporters, who really make a difference for the animals. For that we are forever grateful.

Please make a donation to PAWS today, as a way to help us celebrate this very special and hopeful 30th anniversary year. Your gift of $30 - one dollar for each year that PAWS has existed - goes directly to caring for the many animals at PAWS, helps educate more people about important animal issues, and ensures our advocacy efforts will be as effective as possible.


30th Anniversary Gala Tickets

Are Now On Sale!



PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference — Registration Is Now Open!

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) presents the 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference on Nov. 8-10, in Burbank, Calif. This is a premier global summit that focuses on the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals, especially those used in entertainment. Its aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.

PAWS conferences are highly anticipated events that attract people from around the world and feature exciting speakers who are leaders in their fields, including scientific research, ethics, law, animal care and welfare, and conservation.

PAWS has been presenting conferences since 1992, and this year's event is a special one: PAWS is celebrating its 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy for captive exotic and performing animals. To celebrate this important milestone, we will be presenting a special anniversary gala on Saturday night. We hope you will join us for this exceptional weekend!

Registration, both online and phone-in, is now open.A link has been provided on our calendar of events page, along with a list of featured speakers and event sponsorship opportunities. Tickets for PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala are also on sale.


L-R: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (seated) has just signed the Los Angeles Bullhook Ban. Back row, from left to right: Jim Bickhart, former associate director - transportation; Catherine Doyle, PAWS' Director of Science, Research and Advocacy; Councilmember Paul Koretz (author of the bullhook ban); animal activist and fundraiser Cheri Shankar; former Koretz staffer Sheila Donya; Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services; Michelle Cho, VP of HSUS Hollywood Office. Photo courtesy of


Los Angeles Bullhook Ban

Formally Signed Into Law

PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, was part of a small group invited to witness Mayor Eric Garcetti officially sign the Los Angeles bullhook ban into law. PAWS worked for two years to pass the ban, which makes Los Angeles the largest U.S. city with an ordinance restricting this cruel weapon that is used to control elephants. The ban goes into effect on January 1, 2017.


PAWS Raises Important Questions

About Captive Elephants After Death

Of Greenville Zoo's Joy

Last month 44-year-old elephant Joni (also known as Joy) died while being relocated from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo. According to the Greenville Zoo's press release, Joni was being transported, in part, because "she would receive better geriatric care" in Colorado. The zoo also called Joni "elderly." The release further stated that "age-related conditions" likely caused her death.

PAWS has a serious problem with the zoo's portrayal of a 44-year-old elephant as "elderly." For far too long zoos have gotten away with writing off captivity-caused conditions such as arthritis by suggesting that elephants - even some still in their 30s - were "old" and in need of "geriatric" care. So PAWS set the record straight in a press release, challenging the zoo's depiction of Joni.

Said Ed Stewart: "It is simply wrong to say that Joni or any other elephant in her 40s is geriatric or elderly. The truth is that captivity has physically debilitated these elephants to the point where they suffer maladies normally associated with old age. It is a misnomer to say they are elderly."

It is well documented that African elephants in their 60s have successfully given birth and raised offspring.

Stewart concluded: "Captivity will never be right for elephants. Even the largest enclosures are still too small to meet the needs of these intelligent and very complex creatures. Add to that the practice of transporting elephants from place to place and you have animals who just do not thrive in captivity."

With the departure of Joni, the Greenville Zoo ended its elephant program. Read PAWS' press release regarding Joni here


Fighting To Save Elephants

From The Ivory Trade!

Actions You Can Take To Help

California Residents: March For Elephants is sponsoring a petition aimed at Governor Brown and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham, calling for an end to all trade in ivory in the state. According to the petition, California is the third largest ivory market in the U.S., with hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Worldwide: Sign a petition initiated by Hong Kong For Elephants to ban all ivory sales in Hong Kong.



"Antiques Roadshow" Will

No Longer Appraise Ivory Tusks

PBS will no longer appraise ivory tusks on its "Antiques Roadshow" program. The show was criticized for glorifying ivory on television and giving value to the tusks at the same time that African elephants are being slaughtered by ivory poachers for export to lucrative markets in Asia. According to the Associated Press, the show will continue to appraise items containing ivory, such as musical instruments, and use those opportunities to inform viewers about the larger issue.

New Jersey Passes Bill To Prohibit

Sale And Trade Of Ivory

The New Jersey legislature has passed a bill to prohibit all sales and trade in ivory and rhino horns in the state, with limited exceptions. The bill, which unanimously passed the state Senate, is awaiting Governor Chris Christie's signature. New Jersey ports serve as a major hub for illegal wildlife trafficking.

New York Bans Sale Of Ivory

New York has passed a ban on the sale of ivory within state borders. The new legislation places a permanent ban on the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn and includes only limited exceptions for proven antiques and other artifacts. The bill increases penalties for violators, including jail time for major offenders. The bill is awaiting Governor Mario Cuomo's signature.


"The Ethics of Captivity"

New Book Includes Chapter By PAWS'

Director of Science, Research and Advocacy

PAWS is proud to announce publication of a new book, "The Ethics of Captivity," edited by Lori Gruen, that features a chapter on captive elephants written by our own Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, Catherine Doyle.

Published by the Oxford University Press, the book contains chapters authored by an array of knowledgeable writers, including Lori Marino (captive cetaceans) and Steve Ross (captive nonhuman primates), who, along with Catherine, will be speaking at the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference.

The book is available for purchase at

Read a review of "The Ethics of Captivity" by Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Marc is a speaker at PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference in November.


The Toronto Elephants


Visit our Facebook page for photos and updates on Toronto elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika.

View our latest videos of the Toronto Elephants:

Toka | Climbing Hills, Browsing In Trees; Thika | Fun In

The Mud; Iringa | Exploring The African Habitat


Above: African elephant Thika


The Fifth Estate Returns to PAWS

Canada's premier investigative news magazine program, The Fifth Estate, returned to PAWS' ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary last month to shoot an episode for its special season finale, "After the Cameras Went Away."

The Fifth Estate's investigative team had accompanied elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika on their trip from the Toronto Zoo to PAWS last October, documenting every step of their journey. In this special follow-up segment - which features an interview with PAWS president Ed Stewart - The Fifth Estate journalist Bob McKeown reports on how the elephants have adapted since arriving in sunny California. Click here to watch "After the Cameras Went Away." (Video may not be available in all areas.)




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 »


Jimmy Fallon with Roxie

PAWS, Joined By Hollywood Stars,

Asks Jimmy Fallon To End Use of Elephants & All Wild Animals On

“The Tonight Show”

PAWS sent a letter to Jimmy Fallon following the appearance of Asian elephant Roxie on “The Tonight Show,” urging the talk show host to end the use of wild animal acts on his show. PAWS was joined by celebrity supporters including television legend Bob Barker, Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, “True Blood’s” Kristen Bauer van Straten, “CSI’s” Jorja Fox, Ross McCall from “Band of Brothers,” and actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin.

On the show, Fallon fed fruit to Roxie and was then lifted up by the elephant. During the performance the elephant’s two handlers carried bullhooks - the fireplace poker-like weapons used to control elephants - which they tried to conceal most of the time (watch video here).

Buffalo, New York-based Jeff Musial - an entertainer who exploits wild animals under the guise of education - brought the elephant onto the show, along with a white tiger cub and other wild animals. Musial was cited in 2013 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for keeping highly social primates in solitary confinement, housing marmosets in a dirty, rusted enclosure, and confining a cougar in an 8x8 foot chain link enclosure with no room to move. The cougar was reported to be pacing and climbing the chain link. Musial enthusiastically promoted the facilities that provided the animals he presented on the show, which was shot in Florida. This includes All About Elephants, an exhibitor that uses elephants for entertainment and has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and the Zoological Wildlife Foundation, owned by an ex-drug-lord who also has been cited by the USDA for AWA violations and in 2009 admitted to knowingly making false and fraudulent statements to a USDA inspector about the acquisition of two tigers and providing the inspector with fraudulent forms to back up his claims. (Read more about the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in this Mother Jones article.)

PAWS president Ed Stewart concluded in the letter to Fallon: “The bottom line is there is nothing amusing about featuring elephants, tigers or any other wild animals on ‘The Tonight Show’, when these animals suffer terribly just to ‘entertain’ people.”

To date, PAWS has not received a response from Fallon or “The Tonight Show.”

Watch Sacramento’s KXTV News10 interview with Ed Stewart about PAWS’ letter. Use the social media links provided to share this video with your family and friends. You can also post a comment for Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show’s” Facebook page. Send a message to Jimmy Fallon via email using this link.

KXTV also has not received a response from “The Tonight Show.”


Couch, one of the Colton tigers, today at ARK 2000


10 Years Ago. . .

The Colton Tiger Story — The Largest

Big Cat Rescue In U.S. History

June marked a monumental event for PAWS - the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first of 39 tigers to ARK 2000, from the defunct, pseudo-sanctuary called Tiger Rescue in Colton, California. PAWS has been challenged, changed and strengthened as a result of accepting these very needy tigers, and providing them a permanent, safe, and healthy home.

In 2002, the California Department of Fish and Game seized 10 tigers from the Tiger Rescue facility after finding them in filthy cages without water and suspecting the owner of illegal breeding. In April 2003, officials conducted a search warrant on the owner's residence and discovered 90 dead tigers, including 58 dead baby tigers in freezers. Many other big cats and exotic wildlife were found sick, injured, and barely alive. The State of California seized control of Tiger Rescue, where 54 big cats remained.

The Fund for Animals' Chuck Traisi and an army of volunteers provided 24-hour a day care for the animals, and were able to rehabilitate and find homes in accredited sanctuaries for all but 39 tigers.

Finding suitable placement for the remaining animals was difficult. Tigers are prolific breeders in captivity, and irresponsible breeding - such as the inbreeding required to produce white tigers - produces a large number of cats that end up unwanted. Sanctuaries around the country were at or near capacity, and most zoos did not want tigers of unknown genetic origin. PAWS committed to taking the remaining 39 tigers from Colton.

View the rest of the Colton tiger story here >>>


Pat Derby out for a walk with 71. This was her favorite photo.


PAWS Marks One-Year Anniversary

of the Passing of Co-Founder Pat Derby

It's hard to believe that an entire year has passed

since the loss of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who was

a leader, an inspiration, visionary and dear friend.

Pat died on February 15, 2013, after battling throat

cancer. Not a day goes by that we don't think about

Pat - her great accomplishments, her wisdom and experience, her sense of humor, and her special way

with the animals at PAWS.

Following Pat's passing, it was no surprise that she would be recognized internationally for her life's work, and that she would be honored from city halls in Los Angeles and Toronto, to the California State Assembly, to the U.S. Congress, including having a flag flown over the nation's capitol in Washington, D.C., in her honor.

On March 29, 2013, Pat's partner and PAWS' co-founder

Ed Stewart, along with PAWS' staff, long-time friends and celebrities - including Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Tony LaRussa, and Kevin Nealon - gathered together with hundreds of PAWS' supporters at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento. Through tears and laughter, Pat's life and legacy was celebrated. A commemorative DVD of this special evening is available from our giftshop.


Early 1990s at PAWS' sanctuary in Galt, Calif.

Pat with her beloved cougar Christopher, once the star of the "Sign of the Cat" car commercials for Lincoln Mercury. From the time he was a baby he would suck on Pat's thumb and purr.


Pat was the first to champion the cause of performing

wild animals, and she put her heart and soul into their rescue, care and protection. She was full of dreams, but unlike many people, she realized hers with a vengeance! Pat's cherished dream of creating a spacious refuge

where performing animals could express their wild

natures in an enriching, natural habitat became what is now ARK 2000 in San Andreas, Calif. - a thriving

2,300-acre sanctuary where we currently care for

11 elephants, 21 tigers, 4 lions, 7 bears and one black leopard.

No one but Pat could conceive of and realize an event

as spectacular as "Circus PAWS," which debuted in Hollywood, Calif., in 2012. The circus used only human performers to entertain and to teach young and old

alike that wild animals just don't belong in circuses.

Pat fearlessly advocated for captive wildlife and performing animals. Together, she and Ed set the pace

for the legislative work that we continue today. Always

at the forefront, they inspired and passed milestone legislation in California, and stormed the halls in Washington, D.C., bringing the suffering of elephants

in circuses and traveling shows to light with moving testimony before members of Congress.


Jack Hanna has long used wild animals as "props" on TV talk shows. Once these captive-bred

animals are too old to be "entertaining" (or

safely handled) their futures are uncertain.

Always one to speak her mind, Pat signals her opinion of Hanna's activities in this photo taken

by Ed Stewart outside the Columbus Zoo.


Firm believers in education, Pat and Ed began presenting conferences intended to bring together disparate factions in the captive wildlife field, in order to understand, learn, and, yes, to disagree - but always with respect and with the goal of advancing the welfare of captive animals. On November 8-10, 2014, in Los Angeles, PAWS will again bring together the best and most progressive minds to discuss the welfare of elephants and other species held

in captivity for human convenience and entertainment (watch for conference registration details to come).

What was most important to Pat was that PAWS

continues to thrive and to grow, and to help even more captive wildlife in need through rescue, education and advocacy. And we have. In 2013, PAWS did Pat proud, achieving landmark victories, like the ban on bullhooks in Los Angeles, welcoming three African elephants from Canada to ARK 2000, and helping to educate the public through our appearances in the media, including the acclaimed HBO documentary, An Apology To Elephants, narrated by PAWS' friend Lily Tomlin.

In this, PAWS' 30th year of work for captive wild animals and those still performing and held in intolerable conditions, we will strive for even greater achievements and to inspire compassion and change.

All the while, we will feel Pat's presence with us - her determination, her fire, her fearless nature - urging

us to reach even higher than before, because the

animals need us, and they need you, our dedicated supporters, to stand up for them and to be their voice.

Together we are changing their world.


Thank You May "Wish List" Donors!

Carol Haft: 1 bottle Azodyl for kidney support for big cats, 2-cycle motor oil for weed trimmers at ARK 2000, 5 lbs. Psyllium pellets for the elephants. Marina Konakova: 1 bottle Cosequin DS joint support for older bears and big cats. Melisse Leitzke: 1 bottle RenAvast kidney support for big cats. Leslie O'Loughlin: Dewalt drill for our Galt sanctuary. Diane Schabath: unsalted, in the shell peanuts for elephants and primates. Kemper Roach Conwell: Cosequin DS for joint support for older big cats and bears. Lora L Hernandez: 1 bottle milk thistle, 1 order Raisin Bran for the elephants.


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


PAWS Receives Another 4-Star

Rating From Charity Navigator!

Charity Navigator has once again given PAWS its coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Because PAWS has continued to receive this 4-star rating, we are now rated among the top 7% of Charity Navigator-rated charities in America. Read the letter we received from Charity Navigator President and CEO, Ken Berger, here.




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

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

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