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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 »


In Memoriam: Annie


PAWS Says Goodbye To

Beloved Asian Elephant

It is with very heavy hearts that we at PAWS share news of the passing of our dear friend, Asian elephant Annie - best known for her joyous romps in the lake that is part of our Asian elephant habitat at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. She had endured severe arthritis and foot disease, which gradually worsened over many years. After it became clear that the medications and treatments used to treat her chronic conditions were no longer providing relief, she was humanely euthanized on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, while lying on soft soil and surrounded by those who cared for and loved her. At age 55, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.



"Everyone at PAWS will miss Annie. She was a very special elephant," said PAWS president Ed Stewart. "I'm proud we were able to give her a peaceful and more natural life at the PAWS sanctuary for nearly 20 years. We restored her dignity and gave her the care and respect she deserved."

Annie was born in Assam, India, around 1960, and taken from her mother at a very early age for use in the zoo industry. She was immediately put on display in a zoo in Wisconsin, where she spent much of her life chained to a concrete floor.

In 1994, the nation was shocked by videos showing Annie and her companion Tammy being cruelly trained. While held by ropes and chains handlers "broke" the elephants, mercilessly beating them into submission. This was no undercover video; the zoo recorded the training session as instruction for other keepers. (This footage was included in the 2013 HBO documentary, "An Apology to Elephants," narrated by actress and comedienne - and friend of PAWS - Lily Tomlin.) Under public pressure, the zoo opted to relocate the elephants to PAWS.

Annie arrived at PAWS in 1995, rescued from the Wisconsin zoo with Tammy, who passed away in 2003 at age 52, from chronic foot disease and arthritis - the leading cause of death for elephants in captivity. Despite their great intelligence and size, in captivity elephants are forced to live in small, barren enclosures that cause a multitude of physical and psychological harms. Their social, physical and psychological complexities may make them one of the most deprived of all captive wild animals.



Annie's life at the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary was far closer to what elephants naturally need. She had a sprawling habitat in which to roam, elephant companions, soft grass to lie down and nap on, and a lake in which she loved to bob, splash and swim. It was always a joy to see Annie enjoying her habitat - something we often shared with you on our Facebook page and on Youtube.

Over the years, Annie experienced a variety of health problems, including an injury caused by a bull elephant during forced mating. Her arthritis and foot problems had progressed, including a severe foot abscess. In 2012, Annie tested positive for tuberculosis, but never exhibited symptoms of the disease. Her general condition remained good, including normal appetite and weight, but Annie's arthritis and foot disease ultimately made movement unbearably painful for her. Tuberculosis has been diagnosed in many elephants used for circuses and to give rides, and in zoos such as the Oregon Zoo and St. Louis Zoo.

It is a sad fact that by the time most elephants come to PAWS they are suffering the debilitating effects of a life spent in inadequate captive conditions. Annie was no exception. Had she remained in her native home, she likely would have been leading a full and enriched life today, surrounded by a family of her own.

"Our job at PAWS is to restore dignity to captive elephants and, for elephants like Annie and Tammy, give them a life free from beatings and chains," explained Ed. "We did our best for them, and continue to make a significant difference in the lives of all the elephants and other wild animals under our care."

As is customary for all elephants that pass away at PAWS, a necropsy is being performed on Annie's remains by pathologists from U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and tissue samples sent to a laboratory.

PAWS thanks everyone who has ever cared about and supported Annie and helped give her - and all of the wild animals at PAWS - a life of dignity, serenity, and love. On behalf of Annie and everyone at PAWS, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Read PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai's report on Annie in PAWS' November newsletter.



ARK 2000 - partial view of elephant barns and habitats.


PAWS — 30 Years of Rescue,

Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy

2014 has been a very special year for PAWS, and we thank you for celebrating our 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, advocacy and education for captive exotic wildlife and performing animals, with us. 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.

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., building a veterinary clinic at ARK 2000, 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).

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




PAWS Celebrates 30-Years Milestone

With Two Outstanding Successes:

International Captive Wildlife

Conferenceand Anniversary Gala

Click here to read about both events in our November newsletter.




"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, spoke at the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference in Burbank, Calif., Nov. 8-10..

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 was also a speaker at PAWS' International Captive Wildlife conference in November.











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 »



Above: Dr. Gai checks 45-year-old African elephant

Iringa's eye


PAWS Sanctuaries:

Caring For Elderly Animals

By Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM, PAWS Attending Veterinarian

Wild animals in captivity experience physical and mental changes as they grow older, just as we and our domestic pets do. Animals may face many challenges as they age, including poor eyesight, pain and reduced mobility from arthritis, dental disease, and even cognitive and psychological issues such as anxiety and confusion. At PAWS, our dedicated staff keeps a close eye on the animals every day, and recognizes problems quickly. Once a problem is identified, veterinarians develop a treatment plan that is tailored to each individual animal's unique needs. The relationship between keepers and veterinarians is very important, as keepers are often the first ones to notice and describe a problem in need of attention. Keepers are also the ones who usually carry out treatments prescribed by veterinarians, such as foot soaks for the elephants or medications hidden in meatballs for the tigers, or in fruit juice for the monkeys.

Captivity and Longevity - Some Live Longer
Captivity has some interesting and sometimes unexpected effects on the lifespan of wild animals. For example, species like tigers, lions, and leopards tend to live longer lives in captivity than they do in the wild. In captivity, with good care and genetics, many big cats can cope with age-related changes that would prove fatal in the wild. Of course, factors unfortunately all too common for these animals in captivity, such as poor nutrition, stress, deprivation, inbreeding, abuse and neglect, can certainly result in chronic illness and early death. Some animals considered "prey" species in the wild may also live long lives in certain captive situations, protected from predation and provided with good care and room to roam. Some of the Scimitar-horned Oryx living at PAWS' Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge, for example, are well over 20 years old. Read more here >



Ed Stewart (right) talks with ARK 2000 visitors from the UC Davis human-animal studies conference "All Things Great and Small."


PAWS Participates In Two

Important Animal Conferences

PAWS' president and co-founder Ed Stewart, and PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, traveled to the University of California at Davis for the human-animal studies conference, "All Things Great and Small," held Nov. 15-18. Ed was a featured speaker on Sunday, a day that also included noted primatologist and ethologist Dr. Frans de Waal. Catherine shared her research on keeper perception of keeper-elephant relationships on Monday, where she joined a distinguished panel of scholars discussing research on zoos and animal displays. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, conference participants and speakers visited ARK 2000 where Ed Stewart gave them a tour of the sanctuary.

Catherine Doyle then traveled to the Detroit Zoo for a symposium addressing the welfare of captive wild animals, presented by the Detroit Zoo's Center for Zoo Animal Welfare on Nov. 22-23. On behalf of Ed Stewart, Catherine participated in a panel discussion on zoo and sanctuary leadership in championing animal welfare. Ed is a member of the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which is composed of zoo and aquarium professionals, scientists, sociologists and animal advocacy leaders.



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


In Memoriam:

PAWS Co-Founder Pat Derby

It's still hard to believe PAWS co-founder Pat Derby is gone. Pat was a leader, an inspiration, visionary and dear friend. She 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, 3 African lions, 7 bears and one black leopard.

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.

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, in Pat's honor, 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.

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 who won an Emmy Award for work.

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 November

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

Paige A. Culler: 3 boxes of nitrile gloves. Alexis Bernstein: 1 tub of Psyllium. Carol Haft: 1 gallon Red Cell, 1 bottle Azodyl, 1 set of Motorola walkie-talkie radios. Kristin Neubauer: 1 GoPro Camera LCD Touch Display. Chrystal M. Cowdrey: 40 lbs. oranges. Sandra Loey: 2 shovels for the elephant barns; 1 bottle Cosequin DS. Amy Gustincic: 3 push brooms, 1 shovel for the elephant barns. Charlotte Hansen: 40 lbs. oranges. Anonymous donors: 1 mop, 2 tubs of Buggzo, 1 push broom.


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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