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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.
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PAWS Welcomes

Four New Tigers to ARK 2000

On New Year's Eve, four of eight tigers we are rescuing from a defunct roadside zoo in Colorado arrived at ARK 2000. It was so gratifying to watch as they stepped out of their transport cages and onto the lush green grass of their habitats, which they delighted in eating and rolling in - a simple pleasure that many captive tigers never experience. After a life of deprivation and exploitation, these four needy tigers finally have a home where they can relax, play, and explore to their hearts' content.

More than 100 animals needed immediate placement in new homes after the zoo ceased business. Several reputable sanctuaries throughout the U.S. have stepped up to provide lifetime care for the animals from this rescue, with PAWS accepting eight tigers, including five males and three females ranging in age from five to 18 years old.

The Colorado facility was notorious for its long rap sheet of USDA citations for serious safety and health issues, including employees attacked and injured by tigers, inadequate veterinary care, lack of shade, and unsanitary and unsafe living conditions for the animals.

The zoo made money by offering the public the opportunity to hold tiger and bear cubs for a fee. To ensure a steady supply of cubs for photo and "play" sessions, tigers and bears on the property were constantly bred, producing litter after litter with no regard for their health. Cubs were forcibly removed from their mothers soon after birth, so they could be bottle-fed and handled by people. Several cubs died from improper care, including death from pneumonia after accidentally inhaling milk from a baby bottle. Cubs who are removed from their mothers at birth miss out on important antibodies that they should be receiving from mother's milk, and as a result their weakened immune systems leave them completely vulnerable to deadly infections. Cubs that managed to survive this horrifying start to their lives quickly grew too big to be handled, and were immediately put into the breeding population to create even more cubs. This hellish, self-perpetuating cycle is found wherever tiger and bear cubs are subjected to public handling.

In December, PAWS President Ed Stewart and Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai traveled to Colorado to meet the tigers and assess their condition. Ed stated: "After looking into their eyes I promised them that I would not leave them there."

Upon returning to PAWS, preparations to accommodate the tigers began, including construction of new enclosures. The last four tigers from the Colorado facility are currently awaiting transport to ARK 2000, pending completion of construction that has been delayed due to rainy weather.

As we welcome these new tigers into sanctuary, we celebrate their symbolic rebirth into a life where they will be treated with respect and where their dignity and individual needs will be honored. Former, and sometimes derogatory, names are being changed to reflect their new life, and we look forward to introducing you to them as they gradually settle in at ARK 2000.

We urgently need your support for these tigers because some of them will require spay and neuter surgery and others arrived with chronic health conditions that must be treated. Your contribution for the "Colorado Eight" will provide them with a healthy diet and lifetime, expert care at PAWS. To make a donation, click here.


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Above: Mara by the African lake at ARK 2000.


Spotlight on African Elephant Mara

Like all elephants, Mara has a story to tell. Hers began in Africa, where she was born around 1980. She lived with her extended family, as baby elephants do, doted on by loving aunts and older female siblings. Her mother would have been fiercely protective, as Mara explored the rich and complex natural world that was her home.

Then disaster struck. Mara's mother was killed in a cull - the unconscionable government slaughter of elephants to reduce the size of a population. Mara surely saw her mother and other family members executed. The traumatized two-year-old calf was captured as part of the operation and sent to the Catskill Game Farm in New York. There she was sold to a European animal dealer who also happened to own the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California, where he sent Mara. The lone elephant at the zoo, Mara "entertained" visitors during the day. But behind the scenes, she was immobilized in chains and trained with a bullhook.

It didn't take long before Mara's life was to change again. The zoo threatened to sell her to a circus in Mexico, but a kindly group called "Friends of Mara" took up her cause, determined to stop the transfer. Fortunately, a very generous mother and daughter donated the funds needed to purchase Mara from the zoo. (This family is still helping Mara and PAWS all these years later, and we cannot thank them enough for their support!) Friends of Mara sent the young elephant to Florida where she lived with 80 other imported elephant orphans on a 600-acre estate owned by Nautilus exercise machine inventor Arthur Jones. After a few years, Jones began selling all the elephants, and Mara was yet again slated for sale to a circus.

That's when PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby stepped in. They had previously rescued a sickly baby elephant named "71" from the same Florida estate. When they heard about Mara's fate, they alerted Friends of Mara and quickly moved to rescue her from a life of misery in the circus. Ed Stewart enlisted the help of a local truck driver and the two men headed out on the 6,000-mile, round-trip journey to Florida to pick up the young elephant and bring her back to PAWS. Mara (shown above with 71, circa 1993) arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in January 1990, and shared a habitat with 71. The two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.

Today, Mara is known for her mischievous spirit, athleticism, high energy, and love of large, leafy branches that she skillfully removes from the sanctuary's trees. She has come a long way from her real home and family in Africa - a life we can never give back to her. What we can do is give her and all of our elephants the best life possible in captivity, for the entirety of their lives.

As elephants have a natural life span of 65-70 years (though their lives in captivity are often tragically cut short due to decades spent in unnatural conditions), it takes real commitment to care for them. We are proud that we have been able to provide our elephants with stability, a spacious and enriching natural environment, and a life of peace and dignity. And it is you, our readers and donors, who make it all possible. Thank you.


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132kW Solar Energy System

Installed at ARK 2000

Above: Workmen install solar panels on top of the 20,000 sq. ft. Asian elephant barn at ARK 2000.

Solar panels line the rooftop of an 8,000 sq. ft. bull elephant barn at ARK 2000.


PAWS Goes Green!

PAWS is proud to announce that our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas is now powered by solar energy. Clean, renewable energy supplies 97% of the electricity to our elephant barns, big cat and bear facilities, offices, and soon to be opened Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. Not only are we helping the environment and encouraging clean air and water, we will save nearly $1.5 million in electricity costs over 25 years. This means that even more of your generous donations go directly to animal care and rescue.

PAWS contracted with SUNWorks, one of the fastest growing solar energy system providers in California, to install the 132kW system. There is an array of 420 solar panels on the rooftops of the Asian elephant barn and Prince's bull barn, which produce enough pollution-free electricity to power more than 25 homes for a year. Of course, our California climate is ideal for solar energy, with plenty of sunshine year round.

PAWS is committed to saving captive wild animals, as well as conserving our planet and its wildlife. For example, an entire tree-covered mountainside on the ARK 2000 property has been set aside to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. With our conversion to solar power, we further dedicate ourselves to creating a sustainable world.

Solar power has no associated air pollution emissions, so it does not contribute to global warming which is negatively affecting the world's wildlife on land and in our oceans. In its first month of operation alone, PAWS' solar power system has avoided the production of 25 tons of CO2 and carbon pollution equivalent to burning over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. This important renewable energy also requires no water to operate, so it does not pollute water resources or compete with agriculture or other important water needs.


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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.

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.

Read Ed Stewart's 2013 tribute to Pat Derby here.

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 Celebrates Opening of

The Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center

On Wednesday, January 25th, PAWS celebrated the newly completed Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center, named in honor of the late PAWS co-founder. The facility will allow on-site diagnosis and treatment of animals, sparing them the stress of transport to a specialty veterinary facility. Guests at this special, invitation-only event included many of the generous donors who helped make this dream a reality, as well as veterinarians and medical professionals.

The 1,800-square-foot Wellness Center includes a conference room and library, surgery suite, office, and a large treatment room with plenty of space to care for the largest bears and big cats who live at the sanctuary. The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment such as a digital X-ray, hydraulic lift table, dental scaler/polisher/drill, ultrasound, and therapeutic laser. One very exciting feature of the X-ray system, manufactured by Vet Rocket, is the ability to take X-rays in the elephant barn that can be wirelessly transmitted to viewing screens in the Wellness Center. The X-ray machine itself is lightweight yet very powerful, and is battery operated so it can be used anywhere in the sanctuary. The entire building, which was designed and built with many energy efficient features, is powered by solar energy, as are all facilities at PAWS.

The festivities began with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, after which guests toured the building as veterinary staff proudly described the features of the facility. A delicious, plant-based four-course gourmet luncheon was provided by Pivotal Foods Executive Chef MJ Espiritu Gerometta and specialty bakers Cindy Anderson and Rachael Silva.

PAWS Co-founder and President Ed Stewart welcomed guests, and shared stories about Pat Derby and her vision of someday building this Wellness Center. PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai spoke about Pat's lasting impact on animal welfare, and how the Wellness Center will continue to honor her legacy by enhancing animal care, reducing transport stress on animals needing care, and by educating future generations of veterinary students about captive wildlife care and welfare.

Concluding the festivities was an intimate tour of the ARK 2000 sanctuary, led by Ed Stewart and Dr. Jackie Gai. Under sunny skies, guests had a unique opportunity to view elephants, big cats and bears, and to hear remarkable stories about how these special animals, many with histories of trauma and abuse, have found permanent sanctuary and dedicated care at PAWS.

PAWS extends our deepest gratitude to all who have so generously donated toward the construction, equipment, and operating costs of the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. With special thanks to: Julia N. Allen, PhD, DVM; Audrey Steele Burnand; Maggie Ferrari; Jackie Gai, DVM; Linda Gibboney; The Glide Foundation; Ann Henning; The Kerr Family Foundation; Edward Stewart; Kristina Wiley, DDS; and other very special donors who wish to remain anonymous.

And as always, a very special thank you to our wonderful PAWS volunteers!


PICTURED BELOW: The Wellness Center opening celebration also marked the unveiling of an original piece of art created to honor Pat Derby and PAWS' founding elephant "71." Dr. Jackie Gai stands beside "Pat Derby & No. 71", a magnificent sculpture created and donated to PAWS by California artist Patricia Mace who drew her inspiration from the cover photo of Pat's 1995 book, "In the Presence of Elephants." The piece is bronze on natural tree trunk.


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Sneak Peek at 2017

2016 was an incredibly productive year for PAWS - one that saw some of our years-long work for captive wild animals come to fruition. But, as always, there is so much more to be done in order to make a better world for captive big cats, elephants, bears, nonhuman primates and any wild animal forced to perform in a circus, give rides, suffer in a cramped cage on display, or be kept as someone's exotic "pet."

It's now 2017, and PAWS is ready to face the challenges the New Year will bring. We have never wavered in our commitment to protecting, rescuing and caring for captive wildlife. We will continue to stand strong in the face of those who exploit animals for their own profit, and we will continue to provide safe sanctuary for animals in need.

Here is a sneak peek at 2017 and some of the projects PAWS is involved in:

PAWS Embarks On Tiger Rescue

PAWS has already accepted four of eight tigers in desperate need. The cats range in age from four to 15 years old and are coming from a facility in Colorado that had been breeding tigers just so the public could handle the cubs and have a picture taken with them. All but eight tigers had been relocated to other sanctuaries. PAWS stepped up and agreed to take the last eight, allowing the facility to be closed for good.

Facilities that offer public contact and photos with cubs are engaged in a never-ending cycle of cruelty. Big cats are constantly bred to produce cubs who, in turn, are disposed of when they get older, more dangerous to handle, and unprofitable. Some cats may be kept for even more breeding. Sadly, this is big business despite the unimaginable suffering it causes the animals. PAWS is working closely on the rescue with Tigers in America, an organization that seeks to end big cat breeding and exploitation and help tigers in need.

PAWS will keep you updated on this rescue and the arrival of the tigers at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. Please watch our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and look for more information in upcoming PAWS e-newsletters. You will also be hearing more about our efforts to stop the rampant breeding of big cats and end the exploitation of these animals in cub petting operations.

Protecting Performing Wild Animals

Through Legislation

You will definitely want to follow PAWS as we work on newly proposed ordinances to ban the use of performing wild animals in two major U.S. cities: New York and Los Angeles. If passed, these would be milestone ordinances. If you live in either city, we will be providing information on how you can help. Stay tuned for more on these important bills and other new bills as they arise.

Milestone Anniversary:

Maggie's 10 Years at PAWS!

In November 2017 we will be marking the 10-year anniversary of African elephant Maggie's arrival at PAWS. This remarkable elephant came to the ARK 2000 sanctuary from the Alaska Zoo, and is an important member of our elephant group. Save the date and be sure to join us in celebrating this very special event!


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Above: Alexander, black leopard


PAWS' Animal Habitats Designed

to Encourage Natural Behaviors

Every animal living at a PAWS sanctuary receives expert care tailored specifically to the individual's needs and preferences. This comprehensive approach to animal care incorporates a broad spectrum of factors intended to promote physical and emotional health and overall well-being. Habitats at PAWS' 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary are thoughtfully designed and constructed to give animals room to roam and include elements that encourage them to express their natural instincts like digging, climbing, swimming, and foraging for food.

Wild leopards will often climb trees to find a safe place to rest and when not in trees they are experts at hiding in tall grass where they stalk their prey. Though PAWS' black leopard Alexander was born in captivity, like most captive wild animals he is genetically hard-wired with the instincts of a wild leopard. Alexander's habitat at ARK 2000 includes a majestic oak and many pine trees, but one of his favorite places to spend his days is resting high up on a specially-designed platform where he can watch birds and observe all of the activities of the sanctuary.

When Alexander moved into his new habitat at ARK 2000 in 2013, he explored every inch of it and seemed especially excited about a tall platform with big logs leaning against it. From atop this elevated perch, he can alternate between taking comfortable naps and gazing at the world below. When watchful keepers noticed that an area of the platform was beginning to wear down and needed replacement, they put the word out and PAWS volunteer Joey Harvey stepped up to make repairs and build a beautiful new ramp for Alexander. Joey has generously given his time and talents over the past several years to construct a number of elevated wooden platforms for PAWS' lions and tigers, which the animals truly enjoy.

Confiscated from a private home in Texas after injuring a child, Alexander was 11 months old when he arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in 1998. He lived in Galt for 13 years, and although he was comfortable, it was the dream of PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, to give Alex a special place to live: a much larger, tree-filled habitat that he could explore and enjoy. Pat's dream was made possible by an incredibly generous donor, and in 2013 Alexander moved from Galt to his new home at ARK 2000. Click here to watch the video of his move.

PAWS is forever grateful for the support of our donors and volunteers, whose dedication to the animals greatly enhances the quality of care that we strive to provide. Heartfelt thanks to Audrey Steele Burnand and family for donating the funds to build Alexander's habitat, and to Joey Harvey for building the new ramp for Alexander.

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Thank you January Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

Jennifer Brinn: one bottle Duralactin Canine 180#, one bottle CosequinDS 132#. Ronin Robertson: one bottle CosequinDS 132#. Dr. Julia N. Allen: six bags Greenies Pill Pockets. Carrie Raia: one 30 lb. bag Blue Buffalo, one 10 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. Barbara Moran: one 10 lb. tub Psyllium. Amy Alexander: one bottle CosequinDS 132#. Linda Khym: two Motorola radio sets. Patricia L. Connelly: one case copy paper, two packs AA batteries. Jean Logan: two 10 lb. tubs Psyllium. Karen M. Osgood: one bottle CosequinDS 250#. Geri Gilbert: one 10 lb. tub Psyllium, one 10 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin & Coat, one Probiotic Gel. J and G Craig: one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat, one 5 lb. tub Psyllium. Nancy Gordon: one 10 lb. tub Psyllium, two bottles CosequinDS 132#, one Motorola radio set. Seth Bata: one 40 lb. case oranges. Lawrence and Floran: one 10 lb. tub Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: two cases paper towels, one bottle CosequinDS 132#, one 10 lb. tub Psyllium, one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat, one gallon Red Cell, 12 pack Probiotic Gel.


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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