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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.
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PAWS — 30 Years of Rescue,

Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy

This is a very special year for PAWS, and we invite you to join us in celebrating our 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, advocacy and education for captive exotic wildlife and performing animals. 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.

Please make a donation to PAWS today, as a way to help us celebrate this very special and hopeful 30th anniversary year. Your gift of $30 - one dollar for each year that PAWS has existed - goes directly to caring for the many animals at PAWS, helps educate more people about important animal issues, and ensures our advocacy efforts will be as effective as possible.


ARK 2000, PAWS' 2,300-acre captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. Partial view of the elephant barns and habitats.



PAWS 30th Anniversary

Celebration: Two BIG events!



PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference — Register Today!

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) presents the 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference on Nov. 8-10, in Burbank, Calif. This is a premier global summit that focuses on the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals, especially those used in entertainment. Its aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.

PAWS conferences are highly anticipated events that attract people from around the world and feature exciting speakers who are leaders in their fields, including scientific research, ethics, law, animal care and welfare, and conservation. Register here>>

Day 1 of the conference is devoted to elephants and investigates questions surrounding their captivity and conservation; the war on elephant sanctuaries; the zoo-circus connection; the ethics of keeping elephants in captivity; and Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner discuss their groundbreaking documentary, An Apology to Elephants (tentative). The renowned Dr. Joyce Poole, co-founder of ElephantVoices and a pioneer in the study of elephant behavior and communication is a featured speaker.

Day 2 includes in-depth panels on big cats, marine mammals, and nonhuman primates in entertainment and kept as "pets"; animal law and the protection of wild animals in zoos, circuses, and roadside zoos; new technologies and the use of animals in film and TV; and a presentation by Stephen Wise on the Nonhuman Rights Project. David Hancocks, former zoo director, architect and author, is a featured speaker.

Day 3 delves into campaigns and advocacy for captive wildlife. Leaders representing major animal protection organizations talk about campaigns involving circuses, zoos, and roadside zoos. A special panel features inspiring grassroots leaders discussing how they, as individuals, are leading campaigns that make a difference for captive wild animals.

PAWS has been presenting conferences since 1992, and this year's event is a special one: PAWS is celebrating its 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy for captive exotic and performing animals. To celebrate this important milestone, we will be presenting a special 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night. We hope you will join us for this exceptional weekend!

Registration, both online and phone-in, is now open.A link to our Conference site has been provided on ourcalendar of events page, along with a program, list of featured speakers and event sponsorship opportunities.



Lights, Cameras,

Celebrities & Auctions:

PAWS' 30th Anniversary Gala

November 8!

PAWS invites you to join us as we celebrate a very special milestone: 30 years of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy. On Saturday, November 8, in Burbank, California, PAWS' friends and supporters from around the world will come together for an extraordinary evening of gourmet vegan food, entertainment, awards and a celebration of the important work of PAWS. Share with us our 30-year journey - and an exciting future - in changing the way the world cares about captive wildlife.

Highlights of this gala event include:

Celebrity Guests!
Celebrity supporters who will be joining us for this special evening include Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, actress Kristin Bauer van Straten of HBO's "True Blood", actress Jorja Fox of the television show "CSI", actor Ross McCall of HBO's "Band of Brothers", "White Collar" and "24: Live Another Day", actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin and others. (Celebrity guests are subject to change.) You can even sponsor a special table and have a celebrity guest seated with you! Click here for more information. (These tables are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


PAWS' guests will be treated to a special performance by Nathalie Gaulthier's award-winning Le PeTiT CiRqUe, an all-kid humanitarian cirque company that includes pro-level children ages 7-14 who rank among the top in the world in aerial arts, juggling, trapeze, hoops, silks, acrobatics, stilts, skateboards, contortionists and martial arts. Kat Kramer, actress, singer and founder of Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World, will also perform. Read more about our entertainers here>>

A Specially Created Menu!

The Gala evening begins with a reception, followed by a sumptuous vegan buffet dinner. The menu has been created by animal-loving Executive Chef and Culinary Consultant Mary Jane Espiritu-Gerometta, and Master Chef Roberto Gerometta, who are donating their considerable talents to give our guests a singular culinary experience. View the Gala menu here >>


The live auction might just be the highlight of the evening, with many exclusive items donated by wonderful PAWS supporters, including a $10,000 necklace by designer Kimberly McDonald, whose jewelry is worn by celebrities such as Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lopez and Michelle Obama. You can also bid to win a private brunch with Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger and the elephants at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. And there's so much more!

Our silent auction will also offer a range of exciting items - all in support of PAWS' life-saving work for performing and captive wild animals.

Special Program & Presentations!

The evening will include a tribute to PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and an awards presentation. Most important, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about PAWS' and the elephants, tigers, lions, and other exotic animals for whom we care.

All proceeds directly benefit PAWS and the many animals for whom we provide sanctuary and lifetime care. Make plans today to attend. Click here to buy your tickets or for more information about this special event.



"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, will be speaking at the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference.

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 is a speaker at PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference in November.


PAWS marched in San Francisco


October 4, 2014

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, people in more than 100 cities around the world participated in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, calling attention to the slaughter of these magnificent animals for the illegal wildlife trade.

PAWS participated in marches in San Francisco and Los Angeles that attracted thousands of people and raised awareness of the dire situation elephants and rhinos face in the wild and the need for worldwide action. This is just one of the many advocacy actions that PAWS is involved in to help wild animals in need.

Joining PAWS at the San Francisco march was Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger (left), an impassioned animal advocate and PAWS supporter for more than 20 years. She marched alongside PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart, carrying the PAWS banner along the event route.

PAWS also proudly marched with Betsy Swart, U.S. executive director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) in Kenya which aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa's elephants. Our colleagues working in Amboseli battle the horrors of the ivory trade up close and have lost beloved elephants to merciless poachers.

A rousing rally followed the march, with Ed Stewart a featured speaker. He urged the crowd to take action to save wild elephants, saying, "We have to do something and do it fast." He also announced that PAWS will be funding 8-10 anti-poaching scouts in the Amboseli National Park, where elephants are falling to the illegal ivory trade. Click here to listen to Ed's speech.

PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle addressed event participants at a post-march rally in Los Angeles. She spoke of how wild elephants, rhinos and lions are unique individuals, each with intrinsic value, saying, "That's why we need to keep marching, keep fighting for their lives." PAWS' friend Kat Kramer entertained the enthused crowd with her rendition of "Bless the Beasts and the Children."

View photos from the San Francisco March here.

Click here to view photos from the Los Angeles March.


San Francisco







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 »



PAWS takes safety very seriously, which is why we work with elephants using a method called "protected contact." This means our caretakers use only positive reinforcement training and work with the elephants through a protective steel barrier. In the photo above, PAWS veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai (left), and ARK 2000 sanctuary manager and senior elephant keeper Brian Busta, collect blood from an African elephant.


PAWS Sanctuaries:

A Commitment to Animal Welfare

and Caretaker Safety

By Catherine Doyle

PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart was quoted in a recent Associated Press storyabout a man who was crushed to death by one of the two retired circus elephants in his care at a controversial "sanctuary" in Maine. Local officials ruled the death an "accident," even though no one was present at the time the man was killed. Some have tried to rationalize the death, saying the elephant was trying to help the man, though this is highly unlikely.

The bottom line is that direct contact with elephants is unsafe, no matter how well you think you know the animal. This has been proven time and time again when tragedy strikes at a circus or in a zoo where handlers are in direct contact with elephants. Contrary to what many people believe, elephants have never been domesticated - they remain wild animals. Read more here >>>



In Memoriam: Pfeiffer

The PAWS family is saddened to report that African lioness Pfeiffer passed away on August 27, 2014. She was 17 years old.

Pfeiffer was a cub when she came to PAWS from the Detroit Zoo in 1997. She had been surrendered to the Detroit Police Department by her private owner when she was only three months old. The police department took her to the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society who turned her over to the Detroit Zoo the next day. Zoo veterinarians examined her and found that she had been declawed and defanged, her leg joints were malformed due to nutritional deficiency, and she was very lame on her left front foot. Interestingly, two male cubs found their way to the Detroit Zoo around the same time as Pfeiffer. All three lions were about the same age, and all three had been illegal pets that had been confiscated or surrendered to law enforcement in Detroit.

The Detroit Zoo contacted us and PAWS agreed to provide a permanent home and lifelong care to the three young lions. We welcomed Pfeiffer, Denny and Max to our Galt sanctuary in December 1997. Max, the most fragile of the three, came to us with a variety of health issues and died prematurely of kidney failure more than 10 years ago. Denny and Pfeiffer continued to live together at our Galt sanctuary.

Like Pfeiffer, Denny had also been de-clawed and had deformities of his paws and legs, which made walking and running difficult for both lions. PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart built a special enclosure that would accommodate the lions' mobility problems, and filled it with soft dirt, thick Bermuda grass, and many shady trees to lounge under.

Through later X-rays it was discovered that Pfeiffer and Denny both shared a very rare birth defect known as syndactyly, which causes severe deformities of the bones of the paws. This condition can lead to arthritis and pain in the feet and legs. Since both Pfeiffer and Denny shared the same birth defect, and were about the same age, it is likely that they were brother and sister. Max may also have been a sibling, although he did not have the same paw deformities.

It is almost impossible to talk about Pfeiffer without mentioning Denny. The two lions were nearly inseparable. Denny always stayed close to Pfeiffer, protecting and watching over her. In fact, it was a change in Denny's behavior that first alerted us that something was wrong. In early July, his appetite decreased and he began guarding Pfeiffer more than usual - never leaving her side. A few days later, Pfeiffer's appetite also dropped and she became lethargic. Something was definitely wrong. PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Gai performed a physical examination and found that Pfeiffer had fluid in her chest and lungs.

Over the course of the next six weeks, PAWS' dedicated keeper staff made sure that she was comfortable, went to great lengths to encourage her to eat, and made sure that she took her medications well hidden inside pieces of meat. PAWS veterinarians worked diligently to identify the cause of her ever-increasing labored breathing, and to administer medications that helped alleviate her symptoms. As her condition continued to decline, the difficult and heart-wrenching decision was made to humanely euthanize her to prevent her from suffering.

A necropsy, attended by Dr. Gai, was performed at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, where it was discovered that Pfeiffer had a very aggressive, untreatable form of cancer in her lungs and chest cavity.

Pfeiffer was a noble and dignified lioness, whose wild spirit was always present. Her intense, watchful gaze never missed a thing that happened in her world. She had a playful side too, and would wrestle and snuggle with Denny, sometimes ending up sprawled out on her back, asleep in the sun. She was a good friend and faithful companion to Denny, and she will be deeply missed by everyone who had the honor of caring for her.



Good News For Animals

New Jersey bans the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns: Governor Christie signed into law legislation that makes New Jersey the first U.S. state to prohibit individuals from importing, selling or purchasing any ivory or rhino horn product. The law includes strict penalties for those caught dealing in the black market of this industry.

New York State follows New Jersey, banning the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, with limited exceptions: The bill targets the illegal ivory trade by strengthening criminal and civil penalties for those who buy and sell ivory. New York is known to be a gateway for the illegal wildlife trade in the U.S., which is the second-largest market for ivory behind China.

New York State bans public contact with captive big cats: Fairs, circuses and other exhibitors can no longer allow their customers to come into direct contact with lions, tigers and other big cats through photo or petting sessions, helping to protect both the public and captive big cats. These cruel businesses require a constant influx of cubs to make a profit, creating a cycle of misery as older, unwanted cubs are discarded, only to be replaced by more cubs.

Australia takes action to stop import of rhino trophies: Australia has imposed a ban on the import of rhino trophies, and Australia's minister of the environment, Greg Hunt, has requested that the ban be extended to other African species, particularly the lion. The minister was reported as stating: "It's just not right at this time in history that we are allowing endangered species to be brought back as trophies into Australia. I've signed an order, we're taking action - it's going to stop."

Satao's Law introduced in U.S. Congress to help protect elephants: A new bill, in honor of the Kenyan "big tusker" Satao who was killed by poachers, has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon. If passed it will give the U.S. government the power to introduce trade sanctions against countries that fail to address elephant poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.



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 Amazon "Wish List" Donors

Karen Anderson: one 40 lb. box of oranges. Carol Stormburg: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anne Stein: one 40 lb. box of oranges. Corilynn Breitwisch: one gallon of Optima 365. Sandi Wells: three boxes of Frosted Flakes. Karen MacDonald: one set of walkie talkies (radios) for the keepers.


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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