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Privacy Policy for the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) PAWS assures unambiguously that: (1) PAWS will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. (2) In special circumstances, PAWS will only share personal information once the donor has given PAWS specific permission to do so. Read more here.

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 provide 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 »




PAWS' Highlights From 2021

Click here to read our December newsletter.


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PAWS Says Goodbye

to Beloved Bobcat Owen

PAWS is sad to announce the passing of bobcat Owen. This special cat was born in 2002 and purchased as a small kitten to be a "pet." Not much is known about his early life, but it is certain that he was not fed properly, as Owen’s skeleton did not develop normally. Metabolic bone disease is a common syndrome in young captive exotic animals who are fed a diet that lacks the proper vitamins and nutrients necessary for normal development. This nutritional deficiency often results in irreparable damage to developing animals, causing pain and disability throughout their lives.

In 2015, Owen was confiscated from private owners in California, where bobcat ownership is illegal. He was found in a small, filthy cage, in distress and unable to keep himself clean. When PAWS was contacted by authorities immediately after Owen's confiscation, we wholeheartedly agreed to offer him a permanent home at our sanctuary. Because of the nature of the confiscation, authorities asked us to keep his presence a secret until the legal case was resolved. He lived at our Galt sanctuary for five years in a "witness protection program" of sorts, until moving to our ARK 2000 sanctuary in the summer of 2020.

Read Owen's memoriam in our newsletter here:


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PAWS Helps Orphaned Bear Cubs

Along Their Journey Back to Freedom

PAWS is often called on to help wild animals in need, but in this case three bear cubs will have the best outcome possible: They will one day again live as free-ranging bears!

It began with a phone call from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), asking if PAWS would temporarily care for three orphaned black bear cubs. The cubs had been found wandering without their mother in Mariposa County, in close proximity to people. Out of concern for their safety the agency captured them, and determined that the cubs were too young to survive on their own. Of course we said yes to caring for the cubs.

Read more about the bear cubs here.


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PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and African

elephant 71, walking through the hills at ARK 2000. Pat

and Ed rescued 71 in 1986; she was PAWS' founding elephant. 71 died in 2008 - read about her here.


PAWS Co-Founder Pat Derby

Pat Derby, co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, was a champion for captive wild and exotic animals, particularly those used in “entertainment.” Working side by side with her partner, current PAWS’ president and co-founder Ed Stewart, they set a new standard of care for captive wildlife.

Pat originally was a well-known Hollywood animal trainer. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wild animals for film, TV and advertising, she wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976), revealing a world the public never saw. This was the launch of her life’s work to educate the public about the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to realize that vision. In 1986, they established the first elephant sanctuary in the United States.

Sadly, Pat lost a long battle with cancer and passed away on February 15, 2013. But her spirit continues to live in PAWS' rescue, sanctuary, and advocacy work.

Pat’s bravery and vision for a better life for captive wildlife helped lay the groundwork for the profound changes we are seeing today, including the public’s increasing rejection of the use of wild animals in entertainment, whether elephants and tigers in circuses or orcas in marine parks, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to an end. Her battle against the use of cruel elephhant bullhooks has resulted in statewide bans in California and Rhode Island, with PAWS playing an integral role in their passage.

Pat remains an inspiration to everyone at PAWS and to the greater animal protection community. Her determination and fighting spirit continue to drive PAWS’ efforts to create a more just and humane world for captive wild animals, each and every day.


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 »



Holiday Message From

PAWS President Ed Stewart

It’s hard to believe, but the New Year is just around the corner – as is the start of our 38th year of rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive wild animals in need.

I am truly looking forward to 2022. Each year seems to bring more progress for the animals, and we get just a little bit closer to our goal of ending the exploitation of captive wildlife for entertainment and profit. There are sure to be new challenges and maybe even some setbacks, but at PAWS we are up to the task.

I am counting on you to be with us. After all, you’re part of the PAWS team! Whether it’s sharing information about PAWS with friends, calling and emailing your elected officials about important legislation, “adopting” a PAWS animal or making a donation – you make a huge difference.

I cannot thank you enough for being there for the animals, even during the most trying of times. On behalf of PAWS’ staff, board, volunteers, and all of the animals, I wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season.

Ed Stewart

President/CEO and Co-founder


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Thank You, and Happy Holidays,

From Everyone At PAWS!

It is with heartfelt appreciation that we thank:

Our supporters. You provide wild animals in need with a lifetime home, spacious natural surroundings, and loving care. You truly make a difference!

PAWS’ dedicated caregivers and staff. You are the heart of all that we do for the animals.

Our volunteers. Your dedication to the animals is endless. We couldn’t do it without you!

In-kind companies and individual donors. You supply key support for our mission.

The animals we care for at PAWS, and those yet to be rescued. You are our motivation and inspiration. Best wishes for the holidays and New Year!


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Have You Taken the Pledge

to Help Elephants?

PAWS has launched a new campaign called Take the Pledge! to bring attention to the use of elephants for tourism and elephant “encounters” overseas and in the U.S. The only way to stop this form of exploitation is through education and by decreasing demand for these attractions.

Read more about PAWS' "Take the Pledge" campaign here. Click below to sign PAWS' petition on



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Thank you Amazon

"Wish List" Donors


DECEMBER DONORS - Cathleen deOrnelas: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; two bottles of AminAvast, 60#. Nancy Gordon: two bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Maria Landsberg: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Marianne and Gene, Anne and John: three 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Maris: one Poly Scoop Shovel. Caroline Curran: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Francine Taylor: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Laura and Dave Hill: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat.

NOVEMBER DONORS - Carol Pollard: three Probiocin. Kaywood Fuqua: one bottle of Cosequin, 132#. Jake Barlow: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Suzanne Brennan: five 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Patricia D. Adler Cartozian: two Probiocin; two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Gabi and Jeff (for Camba): one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Lisa Klotz: one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Anonymous Donors: four Probiocin; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; Renal Essentials, 60#.

Special thanks to Treats General Store in San Andreas, CA, for donating five buckets of Manna Pro Simply Flax flax seeds for PAWS' elephants.


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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