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The Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge

PAWS' cofounder, the late Pat Derby met Amanda Blake (above) in 1967 in Hollywood. At the time Pat was working as an animal trainer on the set of "Gunsmoke" where Amanda ("Miss Kitty") was one of its stars. Pat and Amanda would became close friends and in 1984, when PAWS was founded, Ms. Blake supported PAWS with donations, special appearances and fundraisers. When she passed away in 1989, she left the majority of her estate to PAWS.

Throughout her life Amanda made frequent trips to Africa where she fell in love with the natural beauty and wildness of the Maasai Mara Reserve and with national parks such as Amboseli and Serengeti. During her final years, Amanda lived at the PAWS Galt, California, sanctuary so she could be close to the animals she loved. She was there for the arrival of PAWS' first elephant "71."

Amanda's spirit lives on at PAWS. In 1997, the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge, located in Herald, California, was established in Ms. Blake's memory. The refuge once housed eland, fallow deer, rhea, and a small herd of scimitar-horned oryx (they have all passed away), and is now a refuge for a flock of rescued emu. Through this sanctuary, PAWS continues Amanda's commitment to the protection of animals in captivity as well as in the wild.

The Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge is located at the Rancho Seco Recreation Area operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. For more information on park hours and admission, click here.

The Amanda Blake Museum & Visitor Center
The Amanda Blake museum is operated by PAWS and is open by special appointment only. Please call PAWS representative Kim Gardner at (916) 539-5305 or the PAWS office at (209) 745-2606 to arrange a visit. Email PAWS at info@pawsweb.org for additional information.


The health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and employees is a priority for all of us at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Out of an abundance of caution, we are closing the museum until further notice.

Surplus Animal Issues
As recently as the 1960s, the problem of "surplus" wildlife was minimal. But today this "cycle" of surplus animals is a multi-billion dollar industry that is burgeoning out of control and is responsible for the misery and death of hundreds of thousands of animals each year.

Surpluses of captive wild animals are created by irresponsible zoos, the pet novelty trade, the hunting ranch industry, the Hollywood industry, roadside exhibits, circuses and, increasingly, the drug trade. Experts estimate that in the United States alone, there are about 1,200 roadside zoos and menageries. Daily, there are thousands of unwanted, abused or abandoned animals in need of refuge in this country.

Wildlife Today
It is an unfortunate reality that much of the "free" wildlife of the world has also fallen prey to the greed of animal dealers, breeders and trainers. The enormous loss of wildlife habitat in Africa, Asia, Australia and elsewhere is becoming increasingly evident and the impact of this enormous loss is being felt by not only animals in the wild, but also their counterparts in captivity. Today, it seems there are few places where indigenous wildlife can or do exist without some sort of human intervention.



Adopt Prince
Born in 1987 at the Portland Zoo, Asian bull elephant Prince (above) was retired from the circus & has lived at our ARK 2000 sanctuary since 2011. Learn More»

Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

209/745-2606 office/sanctuary
209/745-1809 fax

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