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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 »



Pat Derby, June 7, 2012


A Benefit for the Pat Derby

Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000

Dear PAWS friends,

We invite you to be a part of a very special event, the "Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea", a benefit to be held in honor of the late Pat Derby, co-founder of PAWS.

Pat loved her tea, and she enjoyed dropping in at local tea rooms in any city she visited. Elephant teapots were a popular gift for her to give and receive. The photo above shows Pat celebrating her birthday at the Linde Lane Tea Room in 2012.

The "Pat Derby Celebratory Birthday Tea" will be held at the Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon, California (near Sacramento), from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Pat's birthday, June 7, 2015, to raise funds for the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center (veterinary clinic/hospital) currently under construction at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California.

Over aromatic cups of tea and a lavish lunch, we will pay tribute to Pat's amazing life and groundbreaking work on behalf of performing wild animals. PAWS president Ed Stewart, Pat's partner of 37 years, will share stories about Pat and the animals she loved, and he will talk about how PAWS continues to lead the way in protecting captive exotic animals.

KFBK's Kitty O'Neal and Dr. Kristina Wiley, DDS, proprietor of Linde Lane Tea Room, will host the event, which promises fun, laughter, special guests, and prizes for the best animal-themed hats and tiaras. A delightful five-course vegetarian menu is being prepared and donated (thank you!) by Linde Lane chefs for this special day.

We look forward to sharing this festive afternoon with you! Seating is very limited (70 guests) so we advise you to purchase your tickets to this exclusive event as soon as possible.

For more information about this event, including menu and ticket prices, please click here.


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Above: Lulu and her best friend Maggie.

March 2015, ARK 2000.


Lulu Celebrates 10 Years

of Sanctuary at PAWS

PAWS marked the 10th anniversary of Lulu's (left) arrival at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary with a special celebration on March 11. Lulu is a 49-year-old African elephant who was on display at the San Francisco Zoo for 37 years. She was captured in the wild in Swaziland at age two and sold to the Zoo in 1968. Lulu was transferred to ARK 2000 in March 2005, after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to close the zoo's elephant exhibit. PAWS maintains a good relationship with the zoo and Lulu's former caregivers.

Lulu - affectionately called "Lu" - now enjoys a spacious natural habitat where she forages on grass and trees daily, enjoys a good mud bath, the companionship of other elephants, especially her best friend Maggie. Lulu is the third oldest African elephant in North America.

The memorable day included morning broadcasts by Good Day Sacramento reporter Mark S. Allen, who dodged rain drops while relaying his visit with Lulu and PAWS' president Ed Stewart. At one point Lulu devoured a special anniversary "cake" made of fruit and bran. Later, some of PAWS' supporters, board members, volunteers and media came together to celebrate her anniversary and enjoy a cake adorned with Lulu's image (above right).

PAWS is honored to know and care for this very special elephant. We thank all of our supporters for helping us provide Lulu and all of the elephants at PAWS with as close to a natural habitat home as possible.

Watch Good Day Sacramento's broadcasts from ARK 2000 below. Click on each photo to play the videos.




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In memory of Rex


The Passing of Rex and Sunita

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that two of the oldest tigers from the 2004 Colton tiger rescue have passed away. It remains the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history, with PAWS providing sanctuary for 39 tigers.

Before coming to PAWS, Rex had endured years of neglect which had taken a toll on his health. It was upon his arrival at our ARK 2000 sanctuary that we discovered the true extent of his health problems. All of the rescued tigers were given a complete, nutritious diet - possibly for the first time in their lives. But Rex's emaciated body was unable to process food, and he had distressing bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease by our veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, who prescribed medications which greatly improved his quality of life. Because of his food sensitivities, he was fed a special diet of rabbit and elk meat which keepers cut up into small enough pieces that he could easily digest. Rex began to flourish with proper nutrition and medications, gaining muscle tone and a healthy, shiny coat.

Rex had a relaxed and trusting personality, and was eager to "chuff" a greeting to his keepers, especially at meal time. As Rex got older, he began to experience problems with arthritis and kidney failure - both very common in older felines both domestic and exotic. Medications for these ailments were hidden in food treats daily, and kept him comfortable for several more years. Volunteers built a special resting wooden platform for Rex, which keepers covered with a plush bed of hay every day. We will always remember Rex, lounging in the sun with his tail hanging off the edge of his platform.

Due to progressive kidney failure and arthritis, and in order to prevent him from suffering, the compassionate decision was made to euthanize Rex. He passed away on March 4th at the estimated age of 20 years, surrounded by the dedicated keepers who took such excellent care of him.



Sunita (pictured above) also endured unspeakably horrible conditions in Colton. Housed with seven other tigers in a barren, dirty enclosure, she was forced to constantly compete for food and shelter. PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, always remembered the first time she saw Sunita during a visit to Colton - crouching behind a piece of metal, snarling and hissing at people passing by. Pat was moved by her fiery spirit, and couldn't wait to bring her home to ARK 2000 where she could feel safe.

The polar opposite of Rex in terms of personality, Sunita was wary, tough, and fierce. She was diminutive in size, weighing only 160 pounds, but she was all muscle. When she came to ARK 2000, this little survivor finally relaxed, realizing that she no longer had to fight or struggle for her needs. Her keepers doted over her every need, building special furniture for her, including a small table that made it easier for her to eat her meals when she developed arthritis in her neck.

Tiger Supervisor Renae Smith had an especially gentle and patient way with Sunita, coaxing her to take her daily medications for arthritis and epilepsy. Sunita enjoyed resting in the sunny habitat, and we will always remember her vibrant copper and black coat and beautiful golden eyes among the tall blades of green grass.

As her arthritis got worse, it became increasingly difficult for Sunita to walk, and to rise from a prone position. Again, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize Sunita to prevent her from suffering. She was estimated to be at least 22 years old when she passed from this life on March 19th, surrounded by those who loved and admired her.

View "39 Tigers", a documentary by William Nimmo, founder of Tigers in America.


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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 »



April 8, 2015

California Senator Lara Announces Elephant Protection Legislation

California Residents Please Take Action!

Support SB 716, the bill that will ban the bullhook.

California state senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced legislation (read press release below) to update the state's existing criminal laws protecting elephants from abuse by prohibiting the use of a bullhook or similar devices. PAWS is proud to be a key sponsor of SB 716, alongside the Humane Society of the United States and the Oakland Zoo.

The bullhook is a steel-tipped weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharp tip and hook at the end. It is used to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. Handlers forcefully prod, hook and strike elephants on sensitive parts of their bodies before and during performances, and as a matter of routine handling. Even when not in use, the bullhook is a constant reminder of the painful punishment that can be delivered at any time.

PAWS has worked with elephants for more than 30 years. Even though we work with bulls and other potentially dangerous elephants on a daily basis, we have never once used a bullhook. There simply is no way to humanely use a bullhook.

Public sentiment regarding performing wild animals is rapidly changing. The largest circus in the world just decided to end its elephant acts by 2018, citing public concern with the use of elephants for entertainment and the increasing number of local ordinances prohibiting the use of elephants or use of the bullhook. PAWS played a key role in passing bullhook bans in Los Angeles and Oakland, California.

In California elephants continue to be used in visiting circuses, for rides and other entertainment, meaning they are subjected to the abusive bullhook. Please help us end the use of this cruel and outdated weapon.

Take action - California residents only, please.

Click here to see what you can do to help.

For more information, please contact Catherine Doyle, PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, at

Read the Senator's press release here.


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Documentary Premier April 18 & 19

PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart recommends "Tyke Elephant Outlaw":

"Historic, fair, beautifully produced. I can't wait for people to see it. I wish my late partner and PAWS co-founder

Pat Derby could have seen this."


"Tyke Elephant Outlaw"

A new film, "Tyke Elephant Outlaw," tells the gripping and emotionally charged story of Tyke, a female African elephant in a circus who came to a horrifying end. In 1994, she charged out of Circus International in Honolulu, killing her trainer in front of thousands of spectators and injuring a groom. She died in a hail of bullets in the street. The documentary recounts Tyke's escape, death and the effect it had on the city and the world, putting a focus on the use of wild animals in entertainment. It also looks at the causes of Tyke's behavior through interviews with former trainers, handlers, witnesses to her escape, and animal advocates. Through filmmaker Stefan Moore's lens, Tyke is shown as the tragic figure that she truly was.

PAWS' president Ed Stewart is featured in the documentary. PAWS first learned about Tyke in April 1993 after she had run away from her trainer during a performance with the Great American Circus that was packed with school children. Tyke's trainers claimed she had never done anything like this before, but PAWS' investigations found that Tyke had a history of behavioral problems - which was no surprise given the harsh training that elephants endure in the circus. Some elephants reach a breaking point when they no longer tolerate the abuse, and they try to flee their circumstances. Sadly, most captive elephants are so beaten down that they tolerate a lifetime of deprivation and human dominance.

Tyke escaped again in July 1993 at a state fair, where she seriously injured a groom. She was loose for 25 minutes before being brought under control. Her next escape in Honolulu would be her last.

"Tyke Elephant Outlaw" will have its U.S. premiere at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida on April 18 and 19. You can view the trailer for the film and learn about other screenings by visiting


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Elephant painting #8

"Last drink before bedtime"

Acrylic 8x10


100 Elephant Paintings in 100 Days

Artist Nancy Hakala is an artist with a passion for elephants. This love of elephants has to led to her partnering with PAWS for the project "100 Elephant Paintings in 100 Days." Beginning on March 1, Nancy began painting and posting her original elephant paintings and will continue posting for 100 days. Her 100 paintings will be done in a variety of sizes and mediums.

All paintings are $100 each (plus sales tax, insurance and shipping/handling). $50 from each sale will be donated to PAWS. Click here to view and purchase paintings, and for more information on the "100 Elephant Paintings" project.


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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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Ivory and Rhino Horn Legislation


PAWS attended the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee meeting this month to provide support for AB 96, the bill that would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horns in the state. Though the state has prohibited the sale of ivory since 1977, a loophole rendered the law unenforceable. AB 96 will close that loophole and allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enforce the law, with violators subject to criminal and civil penalties.

PAWS will provide information on the next committee hearing and action that California residents can take as soon as it is available. We would like to thank all the PAWS board members, volunteers and friends who came to Sacramento to show their support for this critical bill. They were among more than 70 Californians who spoke up for elephants and rhinos.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your Assembly member and ask that she or he support AB 96. Click here to locate your Assembly member. Follow the link to find your Assembly member's contact information, including phone number. You can send a message via an on-line contact form.

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee voted in favor of a resolution that states the City's support for AB 96.The resolution was approved on Wednesday, April 1.

Santa Monica: PAWS is working with animal advocate and journalist Georja Umano and the Humane Education Workshop class at New Roads Middle School to pass a resolution in Santa Monica that would give the City's support to AB 96. The resolution will be introduced by Councilmember Ted Winterer and considered by the Santa Monica City Council on April 28.

Take action! If you live in Santa Monica, please attend the Council meeting on Tuesday, April 28, at 5:30 p.m., located at Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main Street, in Council Chambers. Public comment can be made in person at the meeting or submitted prior to the meeting via email at You can also find a list of City Council members and their contact information here. For more information, please contact PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, at

More States Taking Action

to Prohibit Ivory and Rhino Horn Sales

Click here to read.

Please support these important bills by sending an email and/or calling your state legislator and simply saying that you strongly support passage of the bill.


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We will not stop until

all circus performances are animal free!


PAWS Credits California Bullhook Bans

as Turning Point in Circus Decision

to End Elephant Acts

PAWS has been fighting to end the use of elephants and other wild animals in entertainment - including those in circuses - for more than 30 years. So we welcomed the announcement by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus that it would end its elephant acts in 2018. Even though we wish the acts would end now, this decision is nothing short of a milestone in our long campaign to end the suffering of performing wild animals. PAWS' president Ed Stewart declared: "This truly is the beginning of the end of elephants in circuses."

The decision, in great part, was due to two major efforts in which PAWS played a key role, working alongside animal protection organizations and local advocates: the Los Angeles City Council's unanimous decision in 2013 to prohibit the use of bullhooks, and the Oakland City Council vote in December 2014 to ban the bullhook. PAWS also partnered with the Oakland Zoo on the latter effort. The bullhook is a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a steel tip and hook at the end, and it is used to control elephants through fear and pain. The bullhook is the key component of an outdated and inhumane form of elephant management that is used in all circuses and, surprisingly, in some zoos.

The votes in Los Angeles and Oakland were critical because they established ordinances that directly affected a major circus. In fact, the circus stated it would no longer visit Los Angeles and Oakland once the bullhook bans went into effect. This set the stage for major cities and states across the U.S. to consider similar legislation.

The circus cited increasing legislation and a "mood shift" among consumers as reasons for ending its elephant acts. PAWS was instrumental in contributing to that shift as the first organization to investigate and expose the horrific lives of elephants and other animals used in entertainment. In 1984, Ed Stewart and his partner, the late Pat Derby, began documenting the use of animals in live entertainment, especially circuses, and started the worldwide effort to end their suffering.

Derby, a former Hollywood animal trainer, first championed the cause of performing wild animals nearly 40 years ago following the publication of her tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, which exposed the behind-the-scenes abuse of wild animals used in entertainment. She was THE voice for lions and tigers in tiny traveling cages and elephants chained by their legs in trucks and railroad cars.

Despite the giant step forward for elephants that the Ringling announcement represents, our work is not yet done. There are another 50-60 elephants in circuses, as well as big cats and many other wild animals. You can be sure that we will not stop our campaigns and legislative advocacy work until all circuses are animal-free.

PAWS thanks everyone who has worked to pass bullhook bans and other critical legislation for performing wild animals. We look forward to more victories and to making important and effective changes for animals.


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Thank You March 2015

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

Elaine Giammetta: one 40 lb. case of oranges, two 16 0z. 2-cycle oil. Patricia Connelly: one 50 ft. water hose, one 100 ft. water hose, three bottles Renal Essentials. Joe Greenhalgh: two bottles Cosequin DS #800. Robert Rozel: one gallon Red Cell. Paige Felker: one gallon Red Cell. Susan Begnal: one box nitrile gloves, large. Katherine W. Milan: one bottle RenAvast. Lynn Castiglione: two boxes nitrile gloves, medium and large. Linda Allen: 30 lbs. dry dog food. Amy Gustincic: pillowcases for Ferguson. Anonymous donors: one tub of Psyllium, one Flexrake (pooper scooper), six gallons of bleach, one Jackson M6T22 steel wheelbarrow.


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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