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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.


Pat Derby and Ed Stewart with baby elephant 71, shortly after her arrival in 1986. "Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71, and all our programs were developed from our experience with her. Without 71, there would be no PAWS." (Pat Derby, 2009)

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).

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletters where we'll be providing more information on our campaigns, rescues, and ways you can help the animals. And don't forget to save the date for PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference November 8-10, featuring some of the most progressive voices on key animal issues.

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.


30th Anniversary Gala Tickets

Are Now On Sale!



PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference — Registration Is Now Open!

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.

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 has been provided on our calendar of events page, along with a list of featured speakers and event sponsorship opportunities. Tickets for PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala are also on sale.


August 22, 2014

Above: African elephant Watoto walks out into the Woodland Park Zoo elephant enclosure after getting washed down in the elephant barn. (Photo by Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times, 2012)

Elephant Watoto Dies

At Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

PAWS was saddened to learn of the death of African elephant Watoto at the Woodland Park Zoo. She was 45 years old. All of us at PAWS extend our most heartfelt condolences to the people of Seattle. Our thoughts are with everyone who cared for and about her.

The Woodland Park Zoo announced earlier this year that it was planning to relocate Watoto. Following the news, many of you asked about the possibility of PAWS offering sanctuary to her. In May PAWS sent a letter inviting the Zoo to visit ARK 2000, our 2300-acre natural habitat sanctuary for captive wildlife. Unfortunately, our invitation was refused (read the Zoo's response below). The Zoo made it very clear that it would only consider another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility.

Hopefully, Watoto's death may serve to help other captive elephants. Seattle Mayor Edward Murray released a statement about her death, concluding: "...I do believe that today's news should reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants."

This is a powerful sign of the changing public attitude toward the confinement of highly intelligent, socially complex and self-aware animals, from orcas in marine parks to elephants in zoo. This dialogue is taking place worldwide and it is a step toward real change.

Read PAWS' letter here. Read the Zoo's response here.



Simba: In Memoriam

PAWS' It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of a loss in the PAWS family. Simba, one of four lions rescued by Animal Defenders International from a Bolivian circus, died on June 27th at the estimated age of 12 years. Simba, after a lifetime of performing in circus acts and enduring years of traveling and confinement, arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in May 2010 with fellow lions Bambek, Daktari, and Camba. It has been a deeply moving experience to see these majestic African lions experience life as lions: the freedom to explore the tall grass of their spacious habitats; the three males lounging together in a pile of tangled yellow/brown manes; and the nightly chorus of roars as the sun sets.

We have already mourned the loss of Daktari, who died of cancer in 2012. Although histopathology results are still pending from Simba's necropsy, performed at U.C. Davis, early findings suggest that he also had cancer. Simba's actual age was not known, and the estimate of 12 years was made by evaluating his overall demeanor and appearance. In addition to probable cancer, significant spinal arthritis was also discovered at necropsy suggesting that he was perhaps older than we thought. Captivity is not kind to wild animals, and the constant stressors of circus life no doubt had an effect on all of these lions' health and well-being.

In health, Simba was a strong, handsome lion with a beautiful, thick mane. He was a close companion to Bambek and Daktari, and a magnificent and special presence to all of us who were fortunate enough to work with him. It is heartbreaking to lose such a once-vibrant animal to a devastating disease such as cancer, but we are comforted by the knowledge that Simba experienced refuge, peace, security, and dedicated care at PAWS. We will never forget Simba, and will honor his life in our continuing efforts to eliminate the abuse of animals in circuses.


Sunder the elephant's new home at the Bannerghatta Biological Park.

(Photo courtesy of PETA India)

Two Elephants In India Will No Longer

Be Living In Pain And Fear

After a lifetime of abuseSunder, who was the subject of worldwide attention, was rescued with the help of PETA India and other organizations. The malnourished elephant is reportedly weak but recovering from severe leg injuries caused by tight shackles lined with spikes. He now lives at the Bannerghatta Biological Park, where there are 13 other elephants.

PAWS is proud to have provided assistance during the campaign to free Sunder. We were in regular contact with PETA India veterinarian Dr. Valliyate who visited PAWS in 2013. This experience was Dr. Valliyate's first exposure to protected contact elephant management. Photos and videos of ARK 2000's elephant enclosures and demonstrations of protected contact by PAWS staff will be shared by Dr. Valliyate at an upcoming meeting with top Indian government officials at the Ministry of Environment and Forest to influence them to include Protected Contact management systems in sanctuaries for elephants in India. PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart continues to stay in contact with Dr. Valliyate and has provided him with several fencing designs that will allow Sunder to live without being chained.

Above: Rescuers remove spiked shackles from Raju's legs.

Raju was rescued after being chained, beaten and abused for five decades and is now in the care of Wildlife SOS. Upon being rescued, the elephant was seen to have "gushes of liquid" coming out of his eyes and looked to be in great pain, according to CNN. Raju is also being treated for severe leg wounds and malnutrition. He is receiving care at the Wildlife SOS sanctuary, along with other rescued elephants.



"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.


The Toronto Elephants


Visit our Facebook page for photos and updates on Toronto elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view photos. Click on the Facebook icon under "follow us."

View our latest videos of the Toronto Elephants:

Toka | Climbing Hills, Browsing In Trees; Thika | Fun In

The Mud; Iringa | Exploring The African Habitat


Above: African elephant Thika


The Fifth Estate Returns to PAWS

Canada's premier investigative news magazine program, The Fifth Estate, returned to PAWS' ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary to shoot an episode for its special season finale, "After the Cameras Went Away."

The Fifth Estate's investigative team had accompanied elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika on their trip from the Toronto Zoo to PAWS last October, documenting every step of their journey. In this special follow-up segment - which features an interview with PAWS president Ed Stewart - The Fifth Estate journalist Bob McKeown reports on how the elephants have adapted since arriving in sunny California. Click here to watch "After the Cameras Went Away." (Video may not be available in all areas.)




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 »



The Napa Earthquake

August 24, 2014 — A large earthquake struck at 3:20 a.m. about six miles southwest of Napa, California. PAWS' sanctuaries and animals are safe. None of our sanctuaries are located near the areas that have been affected by this event.

Many of PAWS' friends who are unfamiliar with this area of the State have been confused by news reports mentioning the San Andreas fault. The San Andreas fault and the city of San Andreas, home to ARK 2000, are located in two different areas of Northern California.

Our hearts go out to every individual touched by this morning's quake. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has contacted us out of concern for PAWS' animals and employees.


Big Victories for Elephants

and Big Cats in New York!

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law two important bills actively supported by PAWS. We commend New York legislators for taking a stand for elephants, rhinos, and captive big cats!

Ban on elephant ivory and rhino horn

This new law bans the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, with limited exceptions for products such as antiques demonstrated to be at least 100 years old and containing only a small amount of ivory. The bill targets the illegal ivory trade by strengthening criminal and civil penalties for those who buy and sell ivory. In a press release the governor called the adoption of these stricter sanctions "a major step to deter the ivory trade in the U.S. and protect important species." New York is known to be a gateway for the illegal wildlife trade in the U.S., which is the second-largest importer of illegal ivory behind China.

Ban on public contact with captive big cats

With the passage of this new law, 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 and petting sessions. Dubious operations that provide tiger and lion cubs for interactive sessions put the public and the animals at risk. They require a constant influx of cubs to make a profit, creating a cycle of misery as older, unwanted cubs are discarded and sent from one substandard facility to another, only to be replaced by more cubs. Kudos to Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who authored the new law and has written dozens of animal protection bills.

PAWS is a proven leader in protecting performing wild animals and has long championed the conservation of animals in the wild ... but we could not do it without your support. Please make a donation today to support our vital advocacy efforts that help put an end to the suffering of captive wild and exotic animals! PAWS believes in getting to the root of the problems that cause captive wild animals to live in misery. We do this through our advocacy efforts. Because almost all of our funding goes to the care of our animals, little is left for this important work. So please give as generously as you can.

A special thanks to all the New Yorkers who responded to PAWS' calls to action, urging the Governor to sign these critical bills into law.

Together, we are making a difference for wild animals!



Prince: From Zoo To Circus

To Sanctuary — Celebrating

Three Years At PAWS

This month marks three years since Asian bull elephant Prince arrived at our ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary. He is a retired circus elephant. It may surprise you to learn that Prince actually began his life in a zoo.

Prince was born in May 1987 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore. When he was only 16 months old, Prince was separated from his mother, Me-tu, and sent to a circus. In free-ranging elephant families, calves would never be separated from their mothers at that young an age; they would still be nursing and completely dependent on them. Prince was not the only elephant born at the Oregon Zoo and sent to a circus. Other elephants born in Portland who were relocated and used for entertainment and in circuses include Sabu, Stoney, Cora and McClane.

Prince is a living example of the historically close ties that zoos have maintained with circuses - and unfortunately those ties continue to endure today:

  • In 2012, the Seattle Times exposed the Oregon Zoo's breeding contract with Have Trunk Will Travel that gave ownership of the zoo's new elephant calf, Lily, to the notorious company. Have Trunk Will Travel provides elephants for rides, films and circuses, and was caught on video striking elephants with bullhooks and using an electric shock prod during training. The news sparked a public firestorm and resulted in the zoo purchasing Lily and her father, Tusko, who lives at the Oregon Zoo.
  • Representatives from Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos have testified in opposition to legislation that would restrict the use of elephants in circuses, specifically through bullhook bans.
  • A now-retired deputy director of the Oregon Zoo was a paid expert witness for a major circus during a federal trial concerning the abuse of Asian elephants.
  • The AZA has failed to take a position against the use of elephants in circuses, despite clear evidence that elephants suffer from intensive confinement, spend most of their lives immobilized in chains, and are subject to violent training methods.

Fortunately for Prince, he now lives in a spacious habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary, where he loves to spend time in his pool. In fact, he likes the water so much he has two pools! Prince will also splash around in a mud hole, covering himself with a layer of wet earth that protects his skin. While elephants have thick skin, it is surprisingly sensitive. They can feel the bite of an insect. Prince prefers to spend time outdoors at night, sleeping soundly under the stars. He will even sleep outdoors during the cooler winter months.

Prince has come a long way since his birth at the Oregon Zoo. Nothing can ever make up for the trauma of being separated from his mother at such a young age, or for the zoo sending him to a life in the circus. PAWS is just grateful that Prince has been part of our family for these three years and that we have been able to give him a life of peace and kind care. This was made possible by you, our wonderful supporters. We all love you, Prince!


Couch, one of the Colton tigers, today at ARK 2000


10 Years Ago. . .

The Colton Tiger Story — The Largest

Big Cat Rescue In U.S. History

June marked a monumental event for PAWS - the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first of 39 tigers to ARK 2000, from the defunct, pseudo-sanctuary called Tiger Rescue in Colton, California. PAWS has been challenged, changed and strengthened as a result of accepting these very needy tigers, and providing them a permanent, safe, and healthy home.

In 2002, the California Department of Fish and Game seized 10 tigers from the Tiger Rescue facility after finding them in filthy cages without water and suspecting the owner of illegal breeding. In April 2003, officials conducted a search warrant on the owner's residence and discovered 90 dead tigers, including 58 dead baby tigers in freezers. Many other big cats and exotic wildlife were found sick, injured, and barely alive. The State of California seized control of Tiger Rescue, where 54 big cats remained.

The Fund for Animals' Chuck Traisi and an army of volunteers provided 24-hour a day care for the animals, and were able to rehabilitate and find homes in accredited sanctuaries for all but 39 tigers.

Finding suitable placement for the remaining animals was difficult. Tigers are prolific breeders in captivity, and irresponsible breeding - such as the inbreeding required to produce white tigers - produces a large number of cats that end up unwanted. Sanctuaries around the country were at or near capacity, and most zoos did not want tigers of unknown genetic origin. PAWS committed to taking the remaining 39 tigers from Colton.

View the rest of the Colton tiger story here >>>


Pat Derby out for a walk with 71. This was her favorite photo.


PAWS Marks The Passing

Of Co-Founder Pat Derby

It's hard to believe that more than a year has passed since the loss of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who was a leader, an inspiration, visionary and dear friend. Pat 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, 4 lions, 7 bears and one black leopard.

No one but Pat could conceive of and realize an event

as spectacular as "Circus PAWS," which debuted in Hollywood, Calif., in 2012. The circus (above) used only human performers to entertain and to teach young and old

alike that wild animals just don't belong in circuses.

Pat fearlessly advocated (below) 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, 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 (watch for conference registration details to come).

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 (below with PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart).

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 July "Wish List" Donors!

Carol Bolot: pillow cases to be used as bedding for Ferguson the Macaque. Stephanie Linquist: 3 cases of unsalted peanuts. Michelle Linquist: 1 case unsalted peanuts, 1 - 10 lb tub of Manna Pro ground flax seed. Ellen Gaston: 1 spool of trimmer line, 1 bottle of 2 cycle oil. Julie Pickard: 1 case unsalted peanuts. Judy Sharff: 5 lbs of Buggzo for animals at the Amanda Blake sanctuary. Anonymous: Neutrogena sunscreen for Wanda. Ruth E. Schmitter: 1 bottle 800# CosequinDS, 3 bottles RenAvast. Julie Pickard: 1 shovel for the elephant barns, 2 tubs Manna Pro ground flax seed. Pamela Calvert: 1 Steeles 97250-SM Welch Alwyn Diagnostic Set for the veterinary clinic.


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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