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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 »



African elephants Lulu and Maggie


2014 Was Another

Good Year For PAWS

As we welcome in the New Year, PAWS reflects on the memorable events and key accomplishments that took place in 2014 and made our 30th anniversary year so special. We look forward to achieving even more great things for captive wild animals in 2015, with your involvement and generous support.


PAWS hosted California Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and Supervisor Cliff Edson of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors at our ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary. They saw first-hand the good work that PAWS does for captive wildlife and learned more about our programs.


PAWS president Ed Stewart (left) was featured in an article on elephant intelligence in the Scientific American, "The Science Is In: Elephants Are Even Smarter Than We Realized," which described the exceptional cognitive capabilities of elephants, such as empathy, a sense of self, cooperative problem solving, and mourning their dead. But more importantly, the article questioned how we can justify keeping these very complex beings in captivity.

PAWS took an active role in the fight against the sale of elephant ivory in the U.S. In February we joined forces with animal protection and conservation organizations around the world in providing testimony in support of bans in Hawaii, New York and New Jersey. The New York and New Jersey bans were later passed into law.

PAWS marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of our co-founder and friend Pat Derby. We remembered Pat's fearless advocacy for captive wild animals and her big dreams that became reality, such as the creation of PAWS' ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary for captive wildlife and passing laws to better protect performing animals. Pat's presence is very much with us in all that we do for the animals.


Success! PAWS' hard work paid off when the San Diego County Fair announced it would not have elephant rides this year. Ed Stewart stated, "Elephant rides promote nothing but disrespect for elephants at a time when we need to get serious about saving them in the wild."

Ed Stewart was among a group of elephant experts invited to attend a meeting at the Longleat Safari Park in England to discuss the future of Anne, an abused circus elephant retired to the park with the support of the public and animal protection organizations. PAWS is pleased to learn that the zoo has acted on suggested improvements for Anne's enclosure. The zoo reports that she will soon be moving into a new barn that includes a soft soil floor for the arthritic 60-year-old elephant. Improvements to the outdoor area are in progress. Click here to read Ed's account of the meeting and issues surrounding Anne's situation in his article, "When Sanctuary Is Not A Sanctuary", in PAWS' March 2014 newsletter.

PAWS made national headlines for its recognition of the Los Angeles Shriners for canceling its traditional circus and going animal-free for the first time in 88 years. The Shrine Circus had been the target of protests for years due to the use of performing elephants, elephant rides and tigers.

PAWS participated in the first-ever Global March for Lions in Los Angeles. PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle (above), was a featured speaker at the event, which aimed to bring attention to the plight of lions in captivity and in the wild, with a special focus on the abhorrent practice of raising lions for canned hunts in South Africa where they are shot point-blank in a contained area. PAWS was the first to investigate canned hunts in California and initiated the 1992 law that ended the practice in the state.

Click here to read more about PAWS' memorable events and key accomplishments in 2014. . .



ARK 2000 - partial view of elephant barns and habitats.


PAWS — 30 Years of Rescue,

Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy

2014 was 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.




2014: 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 >



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.

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

10 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. PAWS' most recent conference was held Nov. 8-10, 2014, in Burbank, California.

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.

2014 proved to be another good year for PAWS. Read about PAWS' many memorable events and achievements here.

PAWS will continue to honor the memory of Pat Derby as we strive for even greater achievements on behalf of all captive wild animals. We feel her 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 December

Amazon "Wish List" Donors

Shelley Marlowe: One 40 lb. box of oranges. Jessica Shaffer: One bottle of Renal Essentials, one bottle of Wheat Germ Oil. Richard Newton: One box of Raisin Bran, one box of Nitrile gloves, one bottle of Cosequin DS. Robert Rozel: One bottle of RenAvast. Karen Mirabelli: One bottle of RenAvast. Faye Anglin and David McNeil: One 40 lb. box of oranges. Kayla Nay: One bottle of RenAvast, one 40 lb. box of oranges. Barbara Noon: One box of Raisin Bran, one box of Frosted Flakes, one box of Nitrile gloves. Lisa McNeil: Two boxes of Frosted Flakes. Justin Reinheimer: One box of Frosted Flakes, one box of Raisin Bran, one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Shelley N. Sellers: One shovel for the elephant barns, one spool of trimmer line. Anonymous Donors: One 50 lb. tub of Psyllium, one box of Raisin Bran, one 6-pack of bleach, one mop, one case of copy paper.


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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