Home    |    Contact Us    |    Site Map    |     Shopping Cart  
Return to Home Page Make a Donation to PAWS
Adopt an Animal
Become a Partner




Protected Contact Elephant Management

Protected Contact – The handling of an elephant when the keeper and the elephant do not share the same unrestricted space. Typically in this system the keeper has contact with the elephant through a protective barrier of some type, while the elephant is not spatially confined and is free to leave the work area at will.

Free Contact – The direct handling of an elephant when the keeper and elephant share the same unrestricted space. Neither the use of chains, nor the posture of the elephant, alters this definition.

PAWS uses Protected Contact in the management of all of our elephants. While many zoo elephant keepers care for other species, in addition to elephants, our nine experienced elephant keepers, as well as any current apprentice elephant keepers, do not take care of other species. Their time is devoted exclusively to the elephants. We do not utilize volunteers or interns for the care of elephants entrusted to our sanctuary.

Ed Stewart (PAWS president and co-founder) personally trains each of our keepers in hands-on, humane, bullhook-free Asian and African elephant care. This training also includes bull elephants.

We regularly utilize the services of Protected Contact management consultants Margaret Whittaker and Gail Laule of Active Environments Inc. Active Environments is a company that also provides consultation to AZA-accredited zoos throughout the United States.


*  *  *  *  *



Read Dr. Jackie Gai's report, "Veterinary Care for Elephants in a Protected Contact Management System", published in PAWS' online newsletter on August 27, 2015. Click here to read.

More information:


From Active Environments Inc.

Read here.


From Active Environments Inc.

Read here.

View video of Gail Laule from Active Environments, and Pat Derby, using Protected Contact management on Lulu, one of PAWS' African elephants. Click here.

View video of Free Contact management system in use with Annie.

Click here.





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

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

Privacy Policy    |    Terms of Use