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The Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge

In 1967, Amanda Blake met PAWS founder, Pat Derby, in Hollywood on the set of "Gunsmoke". At the time Pat was working as an animal trainer on the "Gunsmoke" set. Pat and Amanda would go on to became close friends and in 1984, when PAWS was founded, Ms. Blake supported PAWS through business processes and financial assistance.

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.

Although she died in 1989 at the age of 60, 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 and fallow deer (they have all passed away) and is now a refuge for a herd of scimitar-horned oryx and a flock of 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 is operated by PAWS. To visit the museum, see information below.

The Amanda Blake Museum & Visitor Center
Open by special appointment only. Please call PAWS representative Kim Gardner at (916) 488-3991, or email kgardner@pawsweb.org for information.

Museum volunteers and animal docents needed. If you are interested and can commit to a regular volunteer schedule, please click here to review our volunteer web page.

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.


Pat Derby talks about the latest captive wildlife news at PAWS.


Adopt Gracie
Gracie is a tiger who was seized from horrendous conditions during a raid by law enforcement agencies. She had been declawed and was in very poor health. 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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