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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 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.
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PAWS Announces Death of Iringa, One of North America's Oldest African Elephants

African elephant Iringa was humanely euthanized on July 22, 2015, following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease, the leading reasons for euthanizing elephants in captivity. At age 46, she was among the oldest African elephants in North America.

"Iringa was special to us," said PAWS President Ed Stewart. “She enjoyed roaming the hills of the habitat and eating natural vegetation year-round. I’m very proud of the keeper and veterinary care we provided, along with the peaceful life we gave her at our sanctuary.”

Iringa's favorite time of the day was her therapy pool sessions where she would float in the pool, taking weight off her feet and joints, and eat special treats given to her by her caregivers. After a session, she would immediately go outside and cover herself in mud like an elephant naturally would.

Iringa was born in Mozambique, Africa, in 1969 and captured before she was two years old. She was sent to the Toronto Zoo in 1974, one of seven elephants shipped to the zoo from Mozambique that year. Iringa was the longest-lived elephant from that group; all the other elephants, with the exception of Toka, passed away by age 41. Toka, who lives at PAWS, is 45.

Together with Toka and Thika (born at the Toronto Zoo), Iringa arrived at PAWS in October 2013 after the Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants, following the zoo’s decision to end its elephant program.

“PAWS sends its most heartfelt condolences to the Toronto Zoo staff, the people of Toronto, and to all those who loved Iringa. Along with them, PAWS will miss this very special and dear elephant,” said Stewart.

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Click on the photo above to watch Asian elephant Gypsy dust and roll in a fresh pile of dirt.

"Elephants Love Dirt"

PAWS spends a lot of money each month on dirt. That probably seems like an odd statement coming from an organization with a 2,300 acre sanctuary, but every month we bring in truckloads of fresh soft earth for the elephants. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, used to call dirt a magic elixir for elephants. After you watch this short video of Asian elephant Gypsy we think you'll understand why!

Gypsy had just been given a bath outside of the barn, and instead of walking out into her habitat she chose to come inside, where earlier a fresh pile of dirt had been dumped in one of the stalls. She dusts and rolls and then finishes off with a "loofah" (aka street sweeper brush) treatment before heading back outside.

Please consider donating to our "elephants love dirt" fund.

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Above: Artemis lounges on one of the specially-built platforms in the tiger habitat at ARK 2000.


Meet Artemis

Tall and handsome, Artemis is an 18-year old tiger living at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. He was one of the 39 tigers confiscated from deplorable, filthy conditions in a roadside zoo in Colton, California, ironically known as "Tiger Rescue."

Eleven years ago in June, PAWS embarked on the largest single rescue of big cats in U.S. history, transporting the 39 tigers from Southern California to our sanctuary in San Andreas where they received much needed expert care, excellent nutrition, and plenty of room to roam.

Artemis shares his spacious, grassy habitat with Spanky, a tiger with impaired vision. As younger cats, these two would playfully chase and spar with each other but as Spanky's vision decreased, Artemis became more gentle and protective of his companion. The two can often be seen resting in the shade of a large oak tree, or lounging on specially-built wooden platforms watching neighboring tigers' activities. On hot summer days, Artemis enjoys climbing into his pool and submerging for a good soak in the cool water.

As most of the remaining 15 Colton tigers are now elderly, they receive special vitamins, nutritional supplements, and medications to keep them healthy and provide relief from arthritis. Your support enables us to provide the excellent care and support that these tigers deserve. To see a list of vitamins and supplements that you can donate, please visit our Amazon Wish List.

To adopt Artemis, or any of the PAWS tigers click here. View the documentary "39 Tigers" by William Nimmo, founder of Tigers in America, by clicking 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 Remembers Pat Derby

It's hard to believe it's been two years since the passing of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who died on February 15, 2013, after battling cancer. Pat’s indomitable spirit and passionate drive continues to guide us in everything we do today, from animal care to advocacy. Pat co-founded PAWS with Ed Stewart, who continues to lead and build the organization, so that wild animals used in entertainment have a true advocate and a place of safety and sanctuary.

Once a famous exotic animal trainer in Hollywood, Pat saw that animals were suffering and dying for people’s entertainment. This is what led her to write her tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, which exposed the dark side of animal training in the entertainment industry. She knew that trainers never abused the animals in front of everyone on a film set – it always happened in private. Animals were sometimes savagely beaten so a trainer could assure a quick and consistent performance once the cameras were rolling. Though many people in the entertainment industry knew what was happening, Pat was the first to take action and inform the public of the real price that animals pay for their entertainment.

“The work that Pat started over 30 years ago is more vital than ever,” said Ed Stewart, recalling how he and Pat carefully documented the horrific lives of animals used in live entertainment, especially circuses, and started the worldwide effort to end their suffering. “Pat started the war on circuses that use wild animals. She was THE voice for lions and tigers in tiny traveling cages and elephants chained by their legs in trucks and railroad cars,” said Stewart. “Pat Derby was proud to be ‘enemy number one’ to the circus industry.”

Unfortunately, turning a blind eye to the suffering that animals endure for entertainment continues today in film and beyond – from orcas to elephants, from TV advertisements to roadside zoos to circuses and elephant rides. Under Ed Stewart’s strong direction PAWS is tackling these issues and advocating for captive exotic and wild animals – just as Pat wished. She believed in not only giving animals sanctuary, but vigorously opposing the powerful industries that exploit them, something PAWS continues to do. We educate the public, work to pass key legislation, and use the media to spread the word about the cruel training and use of elephants, big cats, bears, nonhuman primates and other wild animals who suffer a lifetime for a few moments of “entertainment.”

Pat was a remarkable woman, a fearless warrior for the animals who made a real difference for captive wildlife. Everything she did was for the animals – and we continue to honor her legacy each and every day.

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 »

PAWS Advocacy Updates and

Ways You Can Take Action for Animals

When PAWS President Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby founded PAWS in 1984, it was the only animal organization with a comprehensive captive wildlife program. Ed shot some of the first-ever undercover video exposing the abuse of elephants in circuses, showing elephants buckling under the blow of the bullhook.

Many people know PAWS primarily for our work in providing sanctuary for captive wildlife in need, but advocacy is a critical part of our mission. Without it, we would never see an end to the suffering of wild animals used in entertainment, roadside zoos, and those kept as exotic "pets."

Read about PAWS' advocacy work below.

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San Francisco Bans

Wild Animal Performances

San Francisco is officially the largest U.S. city to ban all performances by wild or exotic animals. The ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has been formally adopted. Supervisor Katy Tang introduced the measure.

PAWS is proud to have contributed to this very important effort, which was spearheaded by the League of Humane Voters - California. Ed Stewart spoke at the Public Safety Committee meeting early in April, encouraging members to support this important action.

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For PAWS, banning the bullhook is personal. We've seen its terrible mark left on the elephants who arrive at our sanctuary.


Advocacy In Action

Captive Elephants

Since its founding in 1984, PAWS has advocated on behalf of captive wild and exotic animals, using our expertise and experience to bring about large-scale changes. We have been instrumental in helping to pass legislation ranging from elephant protection to bullhook bans to a prohibition on canned hunts, where wild animals are penned in and shot at close range. This year has seen a flurry of legislative activity, especially in our continuing efforts to ban the bullhook.

The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. It is commonly used in circuses, rides and other "entertainment" to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. Elephants are taught at a young age to associate the bullhook with pain by using it to forcefully prod, hook and strike the animals on sensitive parts of their bodies, sometimes causing wounds and lacerations. This inhumane training continues throughout their lives.

Above: Senator Ricardo Lara addresses the crowd

at a rally for the elephants held in Sacramento on June 23.

PAWS is a key sponsor of SB 716, the California bill introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara that would end the use of bullhooks and similar devices in the state. The state Senate passed the bill by a vote of 29 to 7, and on June 30, the bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. SB 716 now moves to the Arts & Entertainment Committee. The vote will be held on July 14. PAWS is working alongside our partners at the Oakland Zoo and the Humane Society of the United States to make California the first state to prohibit the use of bullhooks on elephants.

For PAWS, banning the bullhook is personal because we have seen its terrible mark left on elephants who have arrived at our sanctuaries. Elephants like Nicholas, who had to learn that no one was going to hit him ever again. It was pathetic to see him flinch in fear when a keeper simply raised his arm. Today Nicholas is a different elephant. As a result of positive reinforcement training and encouraging words he now enjoys engaging with his keepers and willingly participates in training and husbandry care.

Wild Elephants

PAWS has been diligently working towards passage of

AB 96, the California bill that would prohibit the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns. We are pleased to report that this bill was passed by the Assembly and has also passed its first hurdle in the state Senate, winning a policy committee vote on June 23, of 7 to 2 (Senators voting YES were Allen, Hertzberg, Hueso, Jackson, Monning, Pavley and Wolk. Senators Stone and Vidak voted NO).

Elephants and rhinos are being poached at alarming rates: An average of 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa, and more than 1,000 rhinos out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild were poached in South Africa in 2014 alone. They are being gunned down and poisoned so their tusks or horns can be sold as expensive trinkets and symbols of social status. Unless action is taken now, these iconic animals are headed toward extinction. New York and New Jersey have already passed legislation - we hope to make California the next state to take this critical action to save elephants.

In addition to our campaigns in California, PAWS assists in efforts in cities, counties and states across the country to pass legislation concerning prohibitions on performing wild animals, bullhook bans, public contact with exotic animals, exotic animal ownership, and other captive wildlife issues. Stopping captive wildlife suffering at its source has always been a key imperative for PAWS.

Please support this important part of PAWS' programs for the animals by making a donation today!

Above: June 23, 2015 - Humane Lobby Day in Sacramento, presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart (center) was a featured speaker at a morning rally held on the steps of California's Capitol. The day was all about elephants, with AB 96 (ban on ivory/rhino horn) and SB 716 (bullhook ban) taking center stage. Ed is pictured with Oakland Zoo lead elephant keeper Gina Kinzley, left, and "CSI" television star Jorja Fox, right, as they wait for their turn to speak. Special thanks to the amazing Jorja Fox who took time out of her busy schedule to join PAWS for this event and to meet with Assembly offices in support of SB 716.

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Top Five Myths About Bullhooks

Elephant exhibitors who rely on the bullhook to dominate and control elephants will stop at nothing to defend their inhumane treatment of these majestic animals. Here are the top 5 myths they spread about the bullhook, and the facts that reveal the truth.

Myth #1: Banning the bullhook will harm elephants.

Fact: Prohibiting use of the bullhook will protect elephants from the physical and psychological harm inflicted on them when they are jabbed, hooked and struck with the bullhook during training, performances and routine management.

Myth #2: The bullhook is essential to caring for elephants.

Fact: Progressive zoos and sanctuaries do not use the bullhook. These facilities utilize Protected Contact, which relies on positive reinforcement training, food treats and praise to provide high quality husbandry and veterinary care for elephants.

Myth #3: Prohibiting bullhoook use would put keepers and veterinarians at risk.

Fact: Humans are at greatest risk when working in direct contact with elephants. Veterinarians and keepers working in Protected Contact perform necessary husbandry care and veterinary procedures through a barrier that protects them from harm.

Myth #4: Routine husbandry procedures can be performed safely and stress-free using the bullhook.

Fact: Elephants under control of the bullhook are in a constant state of fear and stress. These elephants have no choice but to comply with commands, and they know that if they step out of line they will be punished. In contrast, elephants managed in Protected Contact voluntarily participate in training sessions because they are positive experiences that include food rewards and praise.

Myth #5: The bullhook is similar to a leash on a dog, or reins for a horse.

Fact: The bullhook is designed to inflict pain so an elephant will immediately respond to the handler. If someone were to use a bullhook or similar device to control a dog or a horse it would be considered cruelty to animals.

And we couldn't leave out this one:

Myth: Without the bullhook, elephants will go extinct. Fact: There is no logical connection between use of a bullhook and the survival of elephants in the wild.

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Top Hollywood Celebrities

Urge Support for California Bill

to Protect Wild Elephants and Rhinos from Slaughter

Some of Hollywood's most famous celebrities partnered with PAWS to lend their star power and support to AB 96, the bill that would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino

horns in California. More than a dozen entertainment movers and shakers signed a letter of support that was sent to California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, who co-authored AB 96. The

letter's signatories include:

TV's Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari; Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger; Emmy Award-winning television legend Bob Barker; Actress Kristen Bauer van Straten of HBO's True Blood; Actress Jorja Fox of TV's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Writers and producers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Celebrity chef and author Courtney McBroom; Actor Ross McCall of Band of Brothers; Celebrity jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald; Actor and comedian Kevin Nealon; Manager/Partner Radius Entertainment Oren Segal; Award-winning actress, comedian and producer Lily Tomlin; Award-winning director and actress Betty Thomas, Hill Street Blues

An estimated 96 elephants are killed for their tusks each day in Africa, and more than 1,000 rhinos out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild were poached in South Africa in 2014 alone. AB 96 would close a loophole that prevents the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory and would also prohibit the sale of rhino horns. California is the second largest market for the sale of illegal ivory in the United States, and these sales are estimated to have doubled over the past eight years.

Read the letter here.

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Thank You! - June 2015

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

Patricia Connelly: three large Kong toys for the monkeys, one 24-inch squeegee, four bottles of Renal Essentials, one bag of dry Natural Balance cat food, one pair hedge shears, one Fiskar limb cutter, one garden lopper, two bags of unsalted peanuts, one thermal imaging camera for iPhone 5 for Dr. Gai, one large Boomer Ball and one heavy duty Boomer Ball Bobbin for Nelson the tiger, two bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat, one 40 lb. box of oranges. John Stiehr: one bottle of Azodyl. Elizabeth Trauring: one 8 lb. tub of Ground Flax Seed. Kinzie Sauer: one box nitrile gloves. Kurt Buckheim: one 30 lb. bag of dry dog food. Stephanie A. Leeling: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Lynn Castiglione: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Nina Dillingham: one tub of Ground Flax Seed, one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell. Gail P. Otis: one 10 lb. case of peanuts in the shell, one tub of Ground Flax Seed. Chania Allen: one tub of Ground Flax Seed. Janet Harding: one bottle of Renal Essentials. Christine E. Fraser: one bag of Natural Balance Dry Cat Food. Tracy Foc: one 5 lb. Psyllium. Laura D. Box: one bottle of Renal Essentials. Ruth (no last name listed): three bags of Ultimate Skin and Coat, one bag of Blue Buffalo dry dog food. Anonymous: one bottle of Azodyl, one Libman scrubber brush, two bags of Blue Buffalo dry dog food, three bottles of RenAvast.


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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