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Bull Elephants

Sabu (below), In Memoriam: 11/1/1982-1/11/2012

PAWS’ ARK 2000 is the only sanctuary in the

United States currently offering refuge to captive

bull elephants in need of homes.

Captive bull elephants need our help; their need is urgent. Many zoos

and other facilities are unable, or unwilling, to provide suitable housing

for bull elephants, especially if the elephant is no longer able to breed.

And very few are able to house more than one adult bull elephant.

PAWS' ARK 2000 means peace and dignity for one of nature’s most

majestic animals.

PAWS gives them peace.

PAWS gives them dignity.



ARK 2000 is currently home to two Asian bull

elephants. To meet Nicholas and Prince,

click here.




Caring for elephants, in general, is extremely expensive, but bull elephants, because of their size and strength, require stronger, more costly barns, stalls and fencing. PAWS' bull elephant fencing costs $168 per linear foot!

When PAWS first agreed to take Nicholas, a 13-year-old Asian bull elephant that nobody else wanted, construction began, and was completed, on our first bull barn on Bull Mountain. Nicholas, and his companion Gypsy, lived in that first barn until the two were separated and Gypsy was moved down the hill to live with our other female Asian elephants.

A second, 8,000 square foot barn, referred to as "Ned's Barn" in memory of bull elephant Ned, who died before he was able to make the journey to ARK 2000, was then completed, and through your donations to our "Foot of Freedom" program and our "Bucks For Bulls" campaign, we fenced a second large habitat. This barn and habitat became home to Sabu. Sadly, Sabu passed away on January 11, 2012.

With the pending arrival of bull elephant Prince, the construction of a third bull barn, large enough to house four elephants was completed in 2011.

After its completion, our skilled elephant staff, led by elephant supervisor Brian Busta, and our elephant consultant, Margaret Whittaker from Active Environments, began a game of "musical elephants" to prepare for the arrival of Prince. 

Brian and Margaret, assisted by Ed Stewart and Pat Derby, moved Nicholas to the new bull barn which adjoins his habitat. Nicholas, who loves any new adventure, was thrilled with his new digs and adapted immediately.

The next step involved moving Sabu to Nicholas' former barn. Since Sabu was much more timid and hesitant about new situations, everyone expected to spend a few days slowly coaxing him into the new territory. To the delight and amazement of all involved, Sabu followed Pat, Ed and Margaret and a trail of bananas, past his pool and into Nicholas' barn with little hesitation. Once inside the barn, Sabu explored every inch of space, smelling and testing the unmistakable odor of another male. We wondered if Sabu recognized family in his half brother, Nicholas.

Prince arrived at ARK 2000 on the evening of July 21, 2011, and now occupies the barn and habitat where Sabu used to live.

Bull elephants require enormous funding and commitment in captivity. PAWS is most appreciative of the very generous donations from Bob Barker and his DJ&T Foundation, Patty Shenker, and the thousands of "Bucks For Bulls" and "Foot of Freedom" donors who have made Bull Mountain a refuge for these magnificent elephants!



Bull Elephant Facts: view here.

PAWS is always interested in any information regarding captive bull elephants in the United States and around the world. If you know of a captive bull elephant in peril, please contact us at info@pawsweb.org or (209) 745-2606.

Bull Elephants In Zoos: view here.





Donate to PAWS "Foot of Freedom" program.

For more information, click here.




Join PAWS "Bucks For Bulls" campaign, today!

The “Bucks For Bulls” premise is simple. Every friend of PAWS donates one buck.

That’s right, just $1 for a bull elephant.

And then each friend asks one of their friends, or a family member, a neighbor or co-worker to donate $1. And those people in turn ask one of their friends, a family member, co-worker, neighbor – well, you get the picture.

Imagine what we could accomplish if PAWS friends across the country took up this cause!

One buck each. . . for a bull elephant in need.

Thousands of bucks for bulls.

Or, step it up a notch. Organize a community fundraiser – a bake sale for bulls, a yard sale, hold a raffle, sell items on EBAY, put together a car wash, maybe even turn the “Bucks For Bulls” campaign into a classroom project at a school in your area. Does anybody remember what happened when Oprah asked everyone to save their spare change?

A million bucks for bulls?

All “Bucks For Bulls” monies will be used for habitat enclosures (fencing), barns, transportation costs involved with rescue, and veterinary care.

Flyers and fact sheets are available below for you to download, print and distribute in your area. Post them on an office bulletin board. Give copies to your friends. If you’re a teacher – share the information with your students.

Post this information on your Blog, on your Facebook, MySpace or other social networking page, or Twitter for bulls. Go E-Viral for bull elephants.

Join our “Bucks For Bulls” campaign today!


For more information on PAWS “Bucks for Bulls,” email PAWS representative Lisa Jeffries at lisa@pawsweb.org, email our office at info@pawsweb.org, or call us at 209/745-2606.

View one of our "Bucks for Bulls" videos, here.


Make a $1 (or more) donation

to help these magnificent animals.


8.5" x 14" format, available for download and printing:



Bull Elephants Need Our Help!




Ned was a sick, malnourished bull elephant seized several years ago by the USDA. PAWS offered Ned sanctuary. With the help of our friends Bob Barker and Patty Shenker, we built a second bull elephant barn at ARK 2000, and with your help we fenced a second habitat — all to house Ned. To ill to make the journey to PAWS' ARK 2000, Ned was taken to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where they fought to save his life. Sadly, Ned did not survive.

Ned's barn and habitat at ARK 2000 is now home to Asian bull elephant Prince.


Ned's father, Vance, sired several calves including Mickey, Benny, Bo and Luke. All of these bulls were born at Busch Gardens in Florida and owned by circus trainer Roman Schmidt. Mickey and Ned's sad stories have been reported in the PAWS publication, "Everything You Should Know About Elephants", and on our website, but Benny and Luke are among the forgotten bulls.

Like PAWS bull elephant Nicholas, Benny was separated from his mother when he was a few months old and trained to perform when he was still a baby. He was sold to Trunks & Humps, an infamous circus company out of Texas, and then, according to our records, Trunks & Humps illegally sold him to a Mexican circus. He was transported to Mexico to perform, and then seized by the Mexican government and moved to the Zacango Zoo in Toluca, near Mexico City, which is part of the Mexican government's protected area for captive wildlife.

To see our most current video of Benny click here.

We need your help to free Benny from Mexico and bring him to ARK 2000.



Write to the Minister of Tourism in Mexico and ask that Benny be returned to the United States. He should not be living in a tiny space as an attraction for tourists.

Minister of Tourism

Av. Presidente Masaryk #172
Chapultepec Morales 11587
Mexico City, Mexico
Tel. +52(55)
Email: atencion@sectur.gob.mx

Contact Mexico tourism offices in the United States:
Mexico Tourism Board
21 East 63rd Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10021
Telephone: 1-800-44MEXICO
Email: newyork@visitmexico.com
Mexico Government Tourist Office
4507 San Jacinto, Suite 308
Houston, TX 77004
Telephone: 1-713-772-2581
Email: houston@visitmexico.com

If you plan travel to Mexico, voice your disapproval of Benny's situation. Try to get support from Mexican citizens and animal welfare organizations.

Make a donation to help bring Benny to ARK 2000.



Bo is a young Asian bull elephant who is a half brother to Ned, the circus elephant who was confiscated by USDA and, to ill to make the move to ARK 2000, died at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Bo, like Ned, Benny, Luke and Mickey, was captive-born, sired by Vance, a breeding bull from the circus. All of these young bulls were taken from their mothers before they were a year old.

Bo is currently performing under contract to the Shriner’s Circus.

The Shriner’s Circus bills Bo as,

“The All American Elephant, ” and goes on to say, “One of the most entertaining acts in the circus world today is the enthusiastic antics of Bo. He is a 15-year-old elephant with a personality all his own. Bo will perform with distinct style only to discretely pull a fast joke on his trainer [owner], Mr. George Carden.* Bo can perform more than 60 maneuvers and he is always learning. Bo is constantly being trained and taught new tricks for his act. He will walk a plank with the style and ease of the ballet and prance around the ring with the grace of a very large dancer. Watch as he skips to the beat of the music, only to decide to display his vast musical talent with three different musical instruments.”

A circus producer is quoted as saying, “Bo is one of a kind. His performing sense is as great as any human’s. He’s a magnificent ambassador for his species.”

Watch this "ambassador" for his species play the harmonica.

Click here. Watch him do his tricks, here.

Send polite emails asking the Shriner's Circus to stop using elephants!

Visit their website here.


Make a donation in honor of all these bull elephants,

in memory of bull elephant Ned:





Bull Elephants That Have Suffered In Captivity

For more than 26 years PAWS has championed the cause of captive bull elephants. In 1995, it was PAWS’ investigators who were leading a community protest at the Luxor Hotel about the savage treatment of Stoney.

Stoney’s Story
Stoney, a 22-year old Asian bull elephant, was injured while performing a hind-leg stand at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. He was unable to walk and consequently loaded into a hotel dumpster and kept in a maintenance shed behind the hotel.He did not receive immediate veterinary care and was kept upright inside a mechanical cattle crush in a dark isolated room.

One year went by and finally a hotel staff member and the trainer attempted to move Stoney. During the attempt to remove him from the mechanical device that was keeping him upright, he fell, injuring his other back leg.

PAWS investigators were outside with other concerned citizens, they noted hearing his screams and cries.

Stoney died that day. To view The Death of Stoney Video Click Here

ELEPHANTS AMONG US: Two Performing Elephants in 20th Century America

by M. Jaynes

Born in the 1970s, Stoney the elephant spent his life traveling and performing with his family. In 1994 he was injured while working in Las Vegas. He died after a nearly year-long medical confinement in a storage barn behind a hotel. The pages within chronicle his short life and tell the complex story of the people who knew him and those who tried to save him, including PAWS co-founder, Pat Derby. Stoney is the most important elephant you've never heard of. Also within is the story of the elephant Big Mary, who in 1916 was hanged from a railroad derrick after killing a man in Tennessee. Here an effort is made to combine previous scholarship into a new considered retelling, with the elephant as the core of its focus. Big Mary died at the beginning of the twentieth century, Stoney at the end of it. Both performing elephants underwent disaster, and both can tell us something about ourselves. This book is available through Amazon.

Click here to purchase your copy.


Mickey’s Story
Born at an elephant breeding
compound in Florida, Mickey, an Asian
bull elephant, was sold at barely one
year of age, to a dealer who sold
elephants to circuses and elephant
rides. At less than two years of age
Mickey began performing. Mickey
soon displayed stereotypic behaviors –
head bobbing, rocking and swaying –
behaviors usually seen in psychologically
disturbed adult elephants.

In 1994, while traveling with the King Royal Circus, Mickey refused to
perform a trick and attempted to flee the circus tent. As Mickey
screamed in pain, his trainer repeatedly jabbed him with a bullhook.
Witnesses reported seeing blood gushing out of the puncture wounds
on Mickey’s leg as he attempted, in vain, to crawl away on all fours.

The next month, at another show, a seriously disturbed Mickey wrapped his trunk around a 3-year-old girl's neck and attempted to pull her to him. She was rescued and rushed to a hospital.

After PAWS investigators filed numerous complaints with the USDA, animal cruelty charges were finally brought against King Royal Circus and Mickey’s trainer. They were fined.

Sadly however, nothing has changed for Mickey.

To view a video of Mickey in the Circus click here »


Tumai’s  Story
Tumai, a young African bull elephant,
had a history of aggressive attacks
against keepers. Captive bull elephants
frequently exhibit more aggression
than females. Young bull elephants are
severely punished during training to
keep them manageable enough to be
used for breeding.

After a series of incidents, Tumai was
sold and became the property of a
popular elephant consultant who specialized in training
elephants for rides. Some elephant trainers would
frequently chain difficult elephants in positions that are
so physically limiting they are barely able to move. Tumai
was chained in this manner for most of the summer. . .
with no shade or shelter.

Reports stated he was fed and watered infrequently to further debilitate his physical strength.

Electric shock was administered and failed.

Determined to subdue Tumai while performing at a zoo, his trainers rammed him with a tractor to show him there were things bigger and stronger. "They rammed him once in the back and once in the head, then left him lying there," an eye witness reported.

Tumai had sustained terrible physical damage and was unable to stand.

According to reports, Tumai's owner was asked to remove the elephant from the zoo grounds to stave off a public relations disaster.

When it was apparent that it would be impossible to move him, he was finally euthanized …after two and half months of torment and suffering.


SABU: In Memoriam







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

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

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