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September 23 , 2008

For Immediate Release
Contact: (209) 745- 2606

Necropsy Indicates Chronic Pancreatitis as Likely Cause of Elephant’s Death

(San Andreas, CA) Preliminary results from the necropsy performed on PAWS’ elephant, 71, indicate chronic pancreatitis as the cause of death. This is an inflammation of the pancreas over many years. The University of California at Davis pathology laboratory in San Bernardino also noted the condition was probably a result of her early medical problems.

There were no obstructions and her liver and kidneys were normal. Pathologists assured PAWS there was nothing that could have been done to save her.

When 71 arrived at PAWS in 1986, her colic attacks were occurring two to three times a week. Veterinarians warned PAWS founders, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, at that time that these attacks could be fatal. 71 was four years old when she arrived in Galt. She weighed 482 pounds — a normal weight for a four-month-old calf. When Pat and Ed found her she was living at the veterinary hospital at the University of Florida. Her primary veterinarians at the University had written a paper on the young elephant’s recurring problems with malabsorption. The prognosis at that time was bleak; the veterinarians did not expect 71 to survive.

Pat and Ed transported the tiny elephant to the Galt sanctuary in August of 1986 vowing she would never be chained, trained or disciplined. It was their promise to her that she would have freedom of choice for as long as she lived.

At PAWS, 71 lived a rich and full life, unchained and free for the next 23 years. As she grew, Pat, Ed and PAWS provided her with freedom and companions. 71 was the driving force behind PAWS and its elephant program, and she and her companion Mara were the subjects of Pat’s book, “In the Presence of Elephants,” first published in October of 1995. She led the African elephant group, as well as Pat, Ed and PAWS through the years. She was loved, admired and respected by all who knew her, and every program at PAWS evolved because of her.

“Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71, and all our programs were developed from our experiences with her. Without 71, there would be no PAWS,” Pat Derby stated. “She lived in an atmosphere of love, peace and dignity, and she led her group of elephants with wisdom and courage. She will always be the cornerstone of PAWS and the elephant sanctuary at ARK 2000.”

“Every day of 71’s life, Pat and I woke up wondering if her old medical problems would recur that day. We pulled her through over 100 bouts of colic which we now know were related to pancreatitis. We are devastated by the loss of our child, friend, companion and the true founder of PAWS,” said Ed Stewart.

In memory of 71, PAWS has established a new foundation. The 71 Memorial Foundation will focus its efforts on stopping the exportation of African elephants calves from their country of origin, as well as eliminating the use of elephants in entertainment.

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

(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax

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