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Meet the Tigers

It costs approximately $20,000 per year to feed and care for one healthy tiger.



How Can You Help A PAWS Tiger?

Donate to PAWS' "Help Rescued Tigers" campaign on Mighty Cause.

Click here for more information.

Adopt a PAWS Tiger.* Read about PAWS adoption program here. Adopting a PAWS animal helps us provide nutritious food, veterinarian care and an enriching habitat for your animal — and you’ll have the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re making a difference in the life of a PAWS animal. 

Annual tiger adoptions $150







Female Tiger Cub



Cleo was 10 months old when she arrived at PAWS. This tiger cub had been through so much in her young life, but she is resilient and full of energy!

When confiscated from a private facility by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in February 2024, Cleo suffered from severe Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). This very painful condition, caused by inadequate nutrition, left her with multiple bone fractures and deformities. She was temporarily housed at the Oakland Zoo, where she received excellent care and proper nutrition for seven weeks.

Cleo arrived at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary on April 8, 2024, and immediately endeared herself to her caregiving staff. Although MBD has caused permanent damage to bones in her neck and legs, she began growing stronger and more active and playful every day. We love seeing her explore her spacious enclosure, where she stalks and pounces playfully among the tall grasses or relaxes under a tree while enjoying the sights, scents, and sounds of nature.

Cleo loves water, and enjoys splashing and soaking in her pool. She is calm, confident, and friendly, and our animal care staff is smitten with her.

“We are grateful to the Oakland Zoo for providing safe, emergency placement after she was confiscated, and for giving her a head start on the long road to recuperation and healing,” said PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai.

PAWS provides the perfect combination of expert, individualized care, and a peaceful, natural setting. With sound nutrition, dedicated daily care, and veterinary attention, when necessary, Cleo is in excellent hands.





In Memoriam



In Memoriam



In Memoriam


The Waystation Three:



On October 8, 2019, PAWS welcomed three new tigers to our ARK 2000 sanctuary. Czar, Mungar and Tessa needed immediate placement when their previous home, southern California's Wildlife Waystation, permanently ceased operations and relinquished their permit to keep wild animals. PAWS and other sanctuaries across the country stepped up to help.



MUNGAR: In Memoriam

Mungar came to us with a host of health challenges, and PAWS gladly assumed both the responsibility and honor of caring for his special needs. Our veterinary and caregiving staff have a wealth of experience in providing specialized care for elderly and differently-abled animals, that is tailored to each individual's needs. He was born with multiple physical disabilities, believed to be the result of genetic defects caused by inbreeding. He had a deformed jaw that affected his ability to eat, eye problems that significantly impaired his vision, and malformed neck vertebrae that pinched his spinal cord causing neurological challenges such as unstable gait and occasional urinary incontinence. Mungar took all of these challenges in stride and developed his own unique ways of walking and eating. If he lost his balance, he would pick himself up and keep going with a cheerful "chuff."

Mungar's mobility began to decline in May 2021, and medications were no longer helping. Perhaps more significantly, he seemed more tired and less cheerful than usual. On June 12th, Mungar was suddenly unable to use his rear legs. His spinal cord disease had progressed to the point where he was no longer able to stand or walk, and so the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

Mungar passed from this life at the age of 16, surrounded by many who loved him, including his veterinarian Dr. Gai, caregiving supervisor Renae, and many of the staff who doted on this magnificent tiger and delighted in his accomplishments and triumphs. Resilient Mungar had an inner strength that inspired all who knew him, and a joy for life that transcended all obstacles. He will be greatly missed.

TESSA: In Memoriam

Tessa was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in the summer of 2020. This is a progressive ailment that is unfortunately common in older cats, both domestic and wild. Special medications and supplements gave her a new lease on life until her condition suddenly declined in April of 2021. When it became clear that medications and special care could no longer make her feel better, and when diagnostic tests confirmed that her kidneys were failing, the very difficult but most compassionate decision was made to perform euthanasia to prevent future suffering.

Tessa passed from this life on April 27, 2021, at the age of 19. She was surrounded by many of her loving caregivers. When we welcome older animals to our sanctuary, we provide a safe, healthy, comfortable, and peaceful place for them to enjoy life. Although we knew her for what seemed like too short a time, we adored her and are honored to have been able to provide her a home for the last few years of her life. She will always hold a special place in our hearts.

CZAR: In Memoriam

As an older tiger, Czar struggled with minor digestive issues and arthritis, and he received medications that kept him comfortable and healthy. In July 2022, during an anesthetized physical examination, PAWS’ veterinarians discovered a mass growing from the gums surrounding one of his canine teeth. Consultation with a board-certified veterinary dentist confirmed our worst fear. This was a type of cancer which would have required drastic surgery to remove not only the tooth, but also all of the bone and tissue surrounding it, with no guarantee of a cure. At Czar's age, and with developing kidney disease (common in elderly cats), we decided not to put him through a drastic surgery and instead keep him comfortable for as much time as he had left.

After this diagnosis, medications were adjusted to ensure his comfort and he did well for the next five months – swimming, rolling, and playful as always. In early December, it became suddenly clear that Czar's oral mass was affecting his quality of life. Medications and special care could no longer provide enough relief, so the very difficult but most compassionate decision was made to perform euthanasia to prevent suffering.

Czar passed from this life at age of 20 on December 12, 2022, surrounded by many who loved and cared for him. We will always remember Czar for his optimism, his sweet personality, and his inner strength in the face of adversity. 



In Memoriam



In Memoriam



In Memoriam

Siberian Siblings:


Roy and his sisters Kim and Claire were four months old when they arrived at PAWS. They were born on June 2, 2003, at a now defunct roadside zoo in New Hampshire that constantly bred cubs for photos shoots, other roadside zoos and the exotic pet trade. When the three young tigers arrived at our Galt sanctuary on October 2, 2003, they received a thorough medical exam and were immediately started on a wholesome, nutritious diet. To prevent future breeding, Roy was neutered a few months after arrival. Kim and Claire would later undergo spay surgery. The three cubs moved into a large, grassy enclosure in Galt complete with a custom-built pool. This habitat was their home until March of 2016 when we moved them to a much larger habitat at ARK 2000.

ROY: In Memoriam

He was the largest tiger PAWS has ever rescued. He was tall and lanky, and standing on all fours was almost as tall as some of our keeper staff! We estimated his weight to be well over 500 pounds. Roy was always watchful and observant, never missing anything going on nearby. He enjoyed playing as much as sleeping, and could often be seen stretched out in the grass sound asleep with his "little" sisters. His distinctive crossed eyes and mild curvature of the spine were visible evidence that he was the product of inbreeding, and as a consequence he suffered from impaired vision and developed early arthritis.

It is never easy to lose a beloved animal, but it is especially hard when one we have known since he was a baby leaves us unexpectedly. Such was the case on November 22, 2020, when tiger Roy passed away during the night after a sudden, very brief illness. Preliminary necropsy results from U.C. Davis revealed a rare type of meningoencephalitis was likely the cause of his death, a condition that would have been impossible to cure. Roy passed from this life at the age of 17 years, and we will always miss and remember our "big man." 

KIM: In Memoriam

Kim was the smallest, but most brave of the three tigers. Always keen to explore, she was the first to check out anything new. She was confident, independent, and full of playful energy.

Kim was in excellent health for most of her life. In April 2021 we noticed a decrease in her appetite, and she began showing other mild but concerning signs. An anesthetized physical examination in May confirmed chronic kidney disease, an ailment that is all too common in both older wild and domestic cats. PAWS’ veterinarians prescribed medications and supplements to support kidney function and overall health, and caregivers provided extra attention and care.

Kim's appetite never fully returned, but she remained playful and cheerful until mid-December when she became more subdued. When it was evident that medications were no longer helping and her appetite abruptly declined, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize her to prevent suffering. Kim passed from this life on January 1, 2022, surrounded by those who loved her dearly, many who had known her since she was a small cub.

CLAIRE: In Memoriam

Claire passed from this life just shy of her 20th birthday surrounded by many who loved her, including her lifetime doctor, Jackie Gai, PAWS Co-founder Ed Stewart, ARK 2000 sanctuary manager Brian Busta, her longtime caregivers, and tiger supervisor Renae who had lovingly cared for her for over 16 years. The last of "the cubs", Claire will always be in our hearts – remembered for her sweet chuff greetings, her love of nature and her beautiful habitat, and for her patience, resilience, and positive outlook on life.

When Claire developed significant eye problems later in life, similar to brother Roy's, she successfully underwent groundbreaking corneal grafting surgeries by a team of veterinary ophthalmologists from University of California-Davis led by Dr. Kathy Good to save her vision. As she got older and struggled with arthritis and kidney disease, caregivers created resting platforms and pools that were easier to access, bedded her cozy den down with extra fluffy hay, and made sure she got special medications and supplements that kept her comfortable and active.

In late April 2023, Claire's appetite and mobility began to decline rapidly, signs that her kidney disease and arthritis had taken a turn for the worse. When it became obvious that additional medications were not helping, the heart-wrenching but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize her to prevent suffering.



In 2016, Siberian tiger siblings Roy, Kim and Claire were moved from our Galt Sanctuary to a much larger habitat at our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas.

Watch a video of their move here >>>




The Oklahoma Tigers:


Tigers Herman and Falcor, both born in 2012, were part of a major government action against the owners of a private zoo in Oklahoma, Jeff and Lauren Lowe (featured in the Netflix series "Tiger King"). The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) were involved in the action, and eventually 68 big cats were seized from the facility due to alleged violations of the federal Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act. At the time the DOJ filed its complaint against the Lowes, the agency stated that the couple had failed to provide "basic veterinary care, appropriate food, and safe living conditions for the animals." The Lowes have since been permanently banned from exhibiting wild animals.

PAWS was among a number of GFAS-accredited sanctuaries that took in the big cats. Herman and Falcor arrived at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary in May 2021.

Herman is considered to be a quiet, shy tiger. He saves his outgoing moments – rolling in the grass or lying upside down – for times when he thinks no one is looking. This mellow tiger will emit friendly “chuffs” and rub up against his fence whenever caregivers are present. (Chuffs are a sociable vocalization that tigers use with each other or familiar people. They sound like breathy snorts.)

Falcor is more outgoing and interested in everything going on around him. He can be found with his nose right up to the fence when caregivers are working nearby. He gets along well with other tigers housed in the habitats near him, but he is usually more interested in what the caregivers are doing and will chuff as they approach his enclosure. Falcor’s wild side comes out when he’s eating, so caregivers give him his space at that time. Naps are definitely a favorite pastime.

As a white tiger, Falcor is the result of inbreeding to produce his coat coloring. A double recessive gene carried by a small percentage of tigers causes partial loss of pigmentation, resulting in white fur. Both parents must carry this uncommon gene, so inbreeding (pairing tigers who are closely related genetically) is used to create the novel color. Unfortunately, inbreeding can result in a variety of health issues for these tigers. White tigers do not have any conservation value, although exhibitors will try to convince people otherwise as a way to appear credible. This only hinders the true conservation efforts that are needed to protect the fewer than 5,000 tigers remaining in the wild. White tigers are mostly seen in exploitive settings such as circuses, roadside zoos, and magic shows.

We were honored to welcome Herman and Falcor to the PAWS family and provide them with the care and respect they deserve.




In Memoriam


The Colton Tigers: In Memoriam

Remembering the Colton tigers who are no longer with us: Alka, Amelia, Artemis, Boebie, Charlotte, Cherokee, Claude, Couch, Erica, Emily, Fluffy, Ginger, Grace, Gus, Hammer, Jay Logan, Jesus, Lily, Majesty, Malabar, Matahari, Masala, Miss Kitty, McGuire, Mookie, Pat Jr., Patty, Peja, Pele, PK, Quiggle, Ray Charles, Ravi, Rex, Rodney, Spanky, Sunita, Willie, Winston.


Alka, Last Tiger from Historic PAWS Rescue,

Passes Away

In 2004 PAWS undertook what was then the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history, saving 39 sick and starving tigers from a roadside attraction in Colton, California, that once offered public tours and photos with tiger cubs. When state officials closed the facility and confiscated the animals, they found more than 90 dead tigers – including 58 baby tigers in a freezer. Thirteen others were barely alive. The rescue was an enormous undertaking for PAWS – and one of the most memorable rescues in our 36-year history. So it is with heavy hearts that we announce that the last of the tigers, Alka, has passed on.

At the time of the rescue Alka was thought to be five years old, and she had only ever known stress and deprivation. She arrived with four companions – Mookie, Patty, Ginger, and Quiggle – and stayed with this group in their new home at PAWS until the others passed away. Mookie was Alka's closest friend and although their relatedness may never be known for certain, they looked and behaved like closely bonded sisters.

Alka quickly adapted to her new life at ARK 2000, where she enjoyed sixteen years in true sanctuary. For the first time in her life, she could relax and enjoy a large, grassy habitat with trees to scratch and sleep under, bushes to hide behind and then pounce on her friends, and a swimming pool with cool, refreshing water. Although every tiger had their own cozy den box, Alka usually preferred to snuggle with Mookie (above) at night. Tiger Supervisor Renae remembers Alka's unique voice and her outgoing, vocal personality. She would "talk" to her caregivers at mealtimes and when excited to go out into her habitat to explore new scents and new toys.

As Alka got older, she was gradually affected by kidney disease and arthritis - two ailments that commonly afflict elderly cats, both exotic and domestic. Her dedicated caregivers doted over Alka, especially after Mookie passed away in 2018 from kidney failure. Special supplements and medications kept her comfortable and active, and the sides of her pool were altered so she could easily get in for a swim. Limited vision and hearing didn't slow this resilient older lady down; every morning she made her rounds to see what her neighbor tigers were doing.

In early April, Alka suddenly became weak and had difficulty walking, and her normally hearty appetite declined. When it became clear that her kidneys were failing, and that medications and special care were not helping, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize her to prevent suffering. Alka passed from this life on April 14th at the estimated age of 21 years, surrounded by many who loved her.

We will always remember her beautiful face, and her fearless joy of living is an inspiration to all who knew her.

PAWS thanks everyone who contributed to helping the 39 Colton tigers along the way, including those who “adopted” tigers, donors who contributed to their care, the Fund for Animals' Chuck Traisi and an army of volunteers who provided 24-hour care for the tigers before their transport to ARK 2000, and those who helped deliver them safely.

To learn more, you can view a documentary film about this historic rescue, "39 Tigers," by Tigers in America below.




The Colton Tiger Rescue 10th Anniversary

June 2014 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.


Read our report here >>>



39 Tigers: A video documentary by William Nimmo, founder of "Tigers in America". Click on the photo below to watch.






In Memoriam






In Memoriam





In Memoriam



The Colorado Eight:



More than 100 animals needed immediate placement in new homes after a roadside zoo in Colorado closed. Several reputable sanctuaries throughout the U.S. stepped up to provide lifetime care for the animals from this rescue, with PAWS accepting eight tigers.

The zoo made money by offering the public the opportunity to hold tiger and bear cubs for a fee. To ensure a steady supply of cubs for photo and "play" sessions, tigers and bears on the property were constantly bred, producing litter after litter. Cubs were forcibly removed from their mothers soon after birth, so they could be bottle-fed and handled by people. Cubs who are removed from their mothers at birth miss out on important antibodies that they should be receiving from mother' s milk, and as a result their weakened immune systems leave them completely vulnerable to deadly infections. Cubs that managed to survive this horrifying start to their lives quickly grew too big to be handled, and were immediately put into the breeding population to create even more cubs. This hellish, self-perpetuating cycle is found wherever tiger and bear cubs are subjected to public handling.

As we welcomed these new tigers into sanctuary, we celebrated their symbolic rebirth into a life where they will be treated with respect and where their dignity and individual needs will be honored. Former, and sometimes derogatory, names were changed to reflect their new life.





*PLEASE NOTE: Adoptions are in name only. The animal does not actually go home with you. Donations made via animal adoption are used for the care, feeding and maintenance of the animals.


Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

209/745-2606 office/sanctuary
209/745-1809 fax

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