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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 »


In Memoriam: Annie

PAWS Says Goodbye To

Beloved Asian Elephant

It is with very heavy hearts that we at PAWS share news of the passing of our dear friend, Asian elephant Annie - best known for her joyous romps in the lake that is part of our Asian elephant habitat at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. She had endured severe arthritis and foot disease, which gradually worsened over many years. After it became clear that the medications and treatments used to treat her chronic conditions were no longer providing relief, she was humanely euthanized on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, while lying on soft soil and surrounded by those who cared for and loved her. At age 55, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

"Everyone at PAWS will miss Annie. She was a very special elephant," said PAWS president Ed Stewart. "I'm proud we were able to give her a peaceful and more natural life at the PAWS sanctuary for nearly 20 years. We restored her dignity and gave her the care and respect she deserved."

Annie was born in Assam, India, around 1960, and taken from her mother at a very early age for use in the zoo industry. She was immediately put on display in a zoo in Wisconsin, where she spent much of her life chained to a concrete floor.

In 1994, the nation was shocked by videos showing Annie and her companion Tammy being cruelly trained. While held by ropes and chains handlers "broke" the elephants, mercilessly beating them into submission. This was no undercover video; the zoo recorded the training session as instruction for other keepers. (This footage was included in the 2013 HBO documentary, "An Apology to Elephants," narrated by actress and comedienne - and friend of PAWS - Lily Tomlin.) Under public pressure, the zoo opted to relocate the elephants to PAWS.

Annie arrived at PAWS in 1995, rescued from the Wisconsin zoo with Tammy, who passed away in 2003 at age 52, from chronic foot disease and arthritis - the leading cause of death for elephants in captivity. Despite their great intelligence and size, in captivity elephants are forced to live in small, barren enclosures that cause a multitude of physical and psychological harms. Their social, physical and psychological complexities may make them one of the most deprived of all captive wild animals.

Annie's life at the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary was far closer to what elephants naturally need. She had a sprawling habitat in which to roam, elephant companions, soft grass to lie down and nap on, and a lake in which she loved to bob, splash and swim. It was always a joy to see Annie enjoying her habitat - something we often shared with you on our Facebook page and on Youtube.

Over the years, Annie experienced a variety of health problems, including an injury caused by a bull elephant during forced mating. Her arthritis and foot problems had progressed, including a severe foot abscess. In 2012, Annie tested positive for tuberculosis, but never exhibited symptoms of the disease. Her general condition remained good, including normal appetite and weight, but Annie's arthritis and foot disease ultimately made movement unbearably painful for her. Tuberculosis has been diagnosed in many elephants used for circuses and to give rides, and in zoos such as the Oregon Zoo and St. Louis Zoo.

It is a sad fact that by the time most elephants come to PAWS they are suffering the debilitating effects of a life spent in inadequate captive conditions. Annie was no exception. Had she remained in her native home, she likely would have been leading a full and enriched life today, surrounded by a family of her own.

"Our job at PAWS is to restore dignity to captive elephants and, for elephants like Annie and Tammy, give them a life free from beatings and chains," explained Ed. "We did our best for them, and continue to make a significant difference in the lives of all the elephants and other wild animals under our care."

As is customary for all elephants that pass away at PAWS, a necropsy is being performed on Annie's remains by pathologists from U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and tissue samples sent to a laboratory.

PAWS thanks everyone who has ever cared about and supported Annie and helped give her - and all of the wild animals at PAWS - a life of dignity, serenity, and love. On behalf of Annie and everyone at PAWS, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


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.



Thika, Toka and Iringa Mark

One Year Anniversary at ARK 2000

One year has passed since African elephants Iringa, Toka (pictured above) and Thika arrived at our 2,300-acre captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, California. We are pleased to report that all three elephants have adapted well to their new home. It has been satisfying to see their initial difficulties in navigating inclines at the sanctuary give way to confidently moving up and down hills with ease. The elephants' active lifestyles and daily exploration of the habitats act as a form of natural physical therapy, increasing strength and keeping their joints mobile and flexible.

Thika (left), Toka and Iringa are active during the day, exploring and foraging in their spacious habitats, selecting grasses and fresh natural vegetation, pushing on trees, and generally doing what elephants should be doing. They enjoy year-round access to the African habitat, including during the moderate California winters. All three elephants feel secure enough in their surroundings to lie down and rest, and each one has her own preferences. For example, Thika lies down to sleep regularly, both inside the barn and outside at night, while Toka lies down in the habitat to rest.

Even Iringa, who had not lain down for several years according to Toronto Zoo records, lies down for an occasional nap. In 2009, on two separate occasions, zoo staff had to lift her head with a strap to help her get up from a prone position. At PAWS, Iringa has also lain down and required assistance getting up. But once her head was up and her legs were in position, she quickly rose to her feet and was able to stand and walk. It is encouraging and noteworthy that Iringa has lain down, slept, and gotten to her feet without any assistance on several occasions.

Social interactions between all three Toronto elephants, and African elephants Mara, Maggie and Lulu, occur across a barrier both inside the barn and outside in the habitats, and are monitored closely. Thika, Toka and Iringa have a history of aggression and injuries that are well documented in the Toronto Zoo medical records, therefore, PAWS is moving forward cautiously with social introductions, keeping the elephants' best interests in mind. We will continue to monitor the behavior of all the elephants and will proceed with any social adjustments in a way that is safest for all of them. Elephant introductions must always be made carefully, taking into account each elephant's personality, behavioral history, physical condition, and perceived social ranking.

We are so pleased that Toka, Thika and Iringa are part of the PAWS family. PAWS is committed to providing excellent, lifelong veterinary care and husbandry - and plenty of TLC - as well as sound nutrition and an enriching natural habitat for them and for all of our elephants.

Above: Toka, one year later.


"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.











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 >




In Memoriam: Denny

PAWS is deeply saddened to share the news that Denny the African lion passed away on October 19, 2014, at the age of 17 years.

In last month's newsletter we reported that lioness Pfeiffer had died after suffering advanced stage cancer in her lungs and chest. Denny and Pfeiffer had been lifelong companions, arriving at PAWS together as cubs in 1997. An illegal "pet," Denny was confiscated by the Detroit Police Department when they discovered his owner jogging with him on a leash in a public park. Little Denny was taken to the Detroit Zoo, where he was cared for with two other lion cubs found in the area around the same time. All three cubs were sent to PAWS together, where they grew up in a large, grassy habitat specially designed for them by PAWS' co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby.

Denny had severely deformed front paws, and he was brutally declawed as a cub by his owner. Throughout his life, he occasionally required anesthetized examinations so that veterinarians could remove fragments of abnormal claw and bone that would protrude from his paws. In 2005, PAWS staff and veterinarian patiently worked with Denny, encouraging him to hold each paw under the fence to allow us to take X-rays. He quickly learned to hold his paw still long enough to snap a picture, in return for a food treat. These X-rays showed shocking and severe deformities of the paws, known as syndactyly, which is a birth defect, probably related to inbreeding - a practice common in puppy mills and other unscrupulous places that breed exotic animals for the pet trade. We also later discovered that Pfeiffer had similar deformities of her paws, and realized that the two lions were brother and sister.

Despite his disabilities, Denny had a cheerful nature and a friendly, outgoing personality. He could hear the voices of his favorite people approaching, long before he could actually see them, and he would start "talking." He especially loved Pat and Ed, and he would have long "conversations" with Pat during her frequent visits to his enclosure. Denny would roar back at the rumbling sound of trucks that occasionally passed by, and he would roar most evenings at sunset. To treat the discomfort of his deformed paws and joints, various medications and supplements were carefully hidden in bits of meat every day.

Denny and Pfeiffer were nearly inseparable, always lying close together in the grass. They were very affectionate and close to each other. When Pfeiffer started feeling sick in July, Denny stopped eating and devotedly stood guard near her. Keepers encouraged him to eat, using imagination and many creative tactics to stimulate his appetite. As Pfeiffer's illness progressed, Denny's entire demeanor changed and he also looked sick. PAWS veterinarians worked diligently to diagnose the cause of illness in the two lions, but it remained somewhat of a mystery why both lions seemed to get sick at the same time. After an anesthetized examination, PAWS veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai discovered that Denny had severe anemia and abnormal liver enzymes. A course of medications improved his appetite for some time, but when Pfeiffer lost her battle with cancer in late August Denny never seemed the same afterwards.

In early October, Denny once again lost his appetite and began to look weak and pale, signs that his anemia had returned. Dedicated keepers worked night and day to keep him comfortable and to encourage his dwindling appetite. He was ultimately diagnosed with an auto-immune form of anemia and liver disease, and was humanely euthanized to prevent him from suffering when it was clear that he was no longer responding to treatments. A necropsy was performed at UC Davis, and while detailed microscopic analysis of his tissues is still pending, evidence of both anemia and significant liver disease were found.

All of us at PAWS are still reeling from the loss of two of our most beloved residents within such a short period of time. One cannot help but wonder if Pfeiffer's illness had a direct effect on Denny's health, causing him to become ill. After his sister's passing, Denny would softly call out - a low and plaintive vocalization - that sounded like a call to Pfeiffer. Denny passed from this life surrounded by the people who loved and took care of him. Our hearts ache and he will be missed tremendously.




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

Carol Stormberg: one case (40 lbs.) of oranges. Maureen Forney: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Marina Konakova: one 5 lb. tub of Buggzo. Theresa and Ben Robinson: one 30 inch, 55 lb. Planet Ball. Kelly Martin: two 8 lb. tubs of Flax Seed, one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Lisa Matlage: four bottles of RenAvast. Anonymous donor (no packing slip): one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium, one 51 oz. can of Gatorade powder, one bottle of RenAvast.


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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