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PAWS IS HOME TO
3 ASIAN AND 5 AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
Thank you from everyone at PAWS.
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African Elephant Lulu, and the Transformational Power of Sanctuary
African elephant Lulu is truly a case study in the transformational power of sanctuaries. She went from an elephant almost paralyzed with fear and anxiety – literally crawling on the ground on her elbows and knees when she saw other elephants – to being an extremely confident member of her elephant group today.
Lulu arrived at ARK 2000 from the San Francisco Zoo in 2005. This was only the second trip of her life. The first was after she was captured in Swaziland at the age of two and sold to the San Francisco Zoo. Lulu was ripped away from her caring mother (who was likely killed in the process) and all that she knew – freedom, the dynamic sights and sounds of the African savanna, and a vast network of elephant kin – and sentenced to a lifetime in captivity.
Even with the best efforts of the elephant staff in San Francisco, life at the zoo was stressful for Lulu. Another elephant frequently bullied and dominated her, often trapping Lulu in a corner with no means of escape or blocking her access to food or a barn doorway. At the same time, Lulu fiercely lashed out at her captors, as well as inanimate objects like the truck tire given to the elephants as “enrichment.” When Lulu first arrived at PAWS she was fearful, becoming so anxious around other elephants that she would squat down low to the ground, making herself as small as possible to avoid conflict.
Elephants in nature are highly social animals, but this doesn’t mean that all individuals will get along when forced to live together in captivity. Wild female elephants live with their grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and their offspring. In contrast, captive elephants are usually strangers from entirely different countries. It's hard to blame those elephants who act out aggressively, as they are merely responding to the dysfunctional environment of captivity – worlds away from the life they were meant to lead.
It was PAWS’ co-founder, the late Pat Derby, who largely helped Lulu overcome her fear. Pat and PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart believed in the power of sanctuary to heal past trauma, and to help transform elephants into the magnificent wild animals they are by giving them a spacious natural environment, loving care, and the freedom to choose where to go and what to do — a safe place to just be elephants again. In Lulu’s case, it took time, constant attention, and the special touch that Pat had with animals. Slowly but surely, Lulu relaxed and became more comfortable with her new elephant companions. Pat’s magic touch didn’t end with her untimely death from cancer in 2013. Lulu's confidence has continued to grow, and her personality to blossom.
Seeing how far this special elephant has come, Ed calls the changes a miracle. Today, Lulu has no fear. She confidently heads up her elephant group that includes Maggie and T0ka as they traverse the hills of their expansive habitat, foraging on grass and trees, mudding themselves, exploring or taking a nap. To be clear, Lulu is not the matriarch, a word that is often misused by captive institutions. Matriarchs are the leaders of their family groups. According to ElephantVoices, the matriarch is generally the oldest and largest adult female family member who helps ensure the group’s survival by using her courage and wisdom in times of crisis, her memory of places and individuals during difficult times, and her social skills to maintain and reinforce the close bonds within her family.
At age 52, Lulu is the second oldest African elephant in North America. Had she been left in her native home, it's likely Lulu would still be reproducing and bringing more elephants into her family and the greater elephant population.
Lulu may be our smallest African elephant at PAWS, but she’s made the biggest transformation of all.
PAWS is honored to know and care for this very special elephant. We thank all of our supporters for helping us provide Lulu – affectionately called "Little Lu" by Ed, Pat, and the elephant staff – and all of the elephants at PAWS with as close to a natural habitat home as possible.
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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
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 »
Above: Thika and Mara
Toka and Thika's Five-Year
Anniversary at PAWS
On October 20, 2013, African elephants Toka, Thika and Iringa arrived at ARK 2000 from the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants to PAWS after the zoo decided to end its elephant program. It seems like only yesterday that we eagerly awaited the specially outfitted semi-trucks carrying them to ARK 2000. We vividly recall the excitement their arrival stirred in the elephant barn, as Maggie, Mara and Lulu rumbled and trumpeted their welcome. Sadly, Iringa was humanely euthanized in July 2015 following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease, the leading reasons for euthanizing elephants in captivity. At the time of her death, Iringa was the longest-surviving Toronto elephant.
At age 48, Toka is the older of the two elephants. She’s easy to identify with her long tusks. Toka was only four years old when she arrived in Toronto, having been captured in Mozambique. She likely lost her mother and family members in a government cull. We can never give back all that Toka has tragically lost, but we can give her a life that is far more natural: open spaces, the companionship of other elephants, and the freedom to choose her activities (as much as is possible in a captive environment).
Toka particularly enjoys a good mud bath. In fact, she and the other elephants are fond of digging their own mud holes and there are quite a few of them in the habitats! Toka can be found splashing, rolling and coating herself in the slippery soil, an activity that provides both protection for her skin and some fun. She has found lifelong companions in Maggie and Lulu and is never far from them as the group moves through their rich habitat.
Thika was born at the Toronto Zoo in 1980 (October is her birthday month) to mother Tequila and father Tantor. Sadly, Tequila rejected Thika shortly after birth, a situation that is not uncommon in zoos. We can sense that this experience deeply affected her and believe that Thika’s new life at PAWS may help her heal from that difficult beginning. Since she only knew life in a zoo before coming to PAWS, it was exciting to introduce Thika into a spacious and natural environment where she could freely roam, explore, and forage on fresh vegetation – though it may have taken a bit more time for her to ease into these innate behaviors.
Thika has bonded with Mara and can be seen following her around like an enthusiastic little sister. Together they traverse a dynamic habitat with rolling, oak tree studded hills and different areas, smells and sights to investigate. Thika is the tallest of the elephants, notable for her long legs. She is the only captive born African elephant at PAWS.
Some of our supporters have wondered why these two elephants are not living together. As we reported in our June 2018 newsletter, despite being highly social animals, not all elephants get along. This is the case with Thika and Toka. Unfortunately, the two elephants had a history of incompatibility at the Toronto Zoo, which persisted when they came to the sanctuary. Our first priority is always the health and well-being of the animals, and, in this case, creating two separate groups was the kindest thing to do. Today, everyone is relaxed and able to just be the elephants they are, doing what elephants like to do – as it should be.
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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 October Amazon
"Wish List" Donors
Patricia Connelly: one box 42 gal. trash bags; two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Caroline Kane: two bottles Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle Azodyl, 90#. Nina Dillingham: two 32 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Dan Brinkman: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Amanda Swann: one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn. Cristen Esquibel: one Probiocin; one sprinkler head; one sprinkler nozzle, one box 33 gal. trash bags. Lisa Stelow: one bag of peanuts. Lori Swenson: one Probiocin; one pkg. AAA batteries, 60#. Cynthia Smith: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Carole Bognar: three Prociocin. Jennifer Clarke: one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one box of 42 gal. trash bags; one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn. Alison A. Engell: one bottle of Azodyl, 90#. Kim Simm: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: one sprinkler head; two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; one 32 oz. bottle EicosaDerm; one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn.
View wish list items that are needed, but not included on our Amazon list here.
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