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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.
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Above: Muntjac Mojo in his new habitat at ARK 2000

PAWS 2023 - A New Chapter Begins

As of January, all of the rescued and retired wild animals we care for are now in one place, our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California. As a result, our original sanctuary in Galt and the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald are now closed. (Our main office will remain at the Galt location indefinitely.) We have long planned for the move which brings our animal family together at one location and begins a new chapter in PAWS’ history. Read more in our January newsletter here.

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Tigers Falcor and Herman

This may be the first time we’re introducing you to our “new” tigers Falcor (above) and Herman (below), but in fact these special tigers have been in our care since May 2021. Why the long wait? 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 Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) accredited sanctuaries that took in the big cats. Now that legalities have been settled, we are pleased to tell you about Herman and Falcor.

Learn more about Herman and Falcor in our September newsletter here.

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Attention Gunsmoke Fans:

Special Amanda Blake ("Miss Kitty")

Sale to Benefit PAWS

With the closing of the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge (see article in our January 2023 newsletter here), PAWS is working with Schiff Estate Services in Sacramento, California, to sell several of the valued items from the Amanda Blake Museum – making them available for the first time. Amanda Blake played "Miss Kitty" on the popular TV series Gunsmoke that ran from 1955-1975, though we knew her best as a cherished friend. The series and Miss Kitty have continued to find new fans through re-runs on regular and cable television.

Starting on Wednesday, February 8, Schiff Estate Services will begin selling many of the items that were on display in the museum, as well as a selection of Amanda’s personal items kept in storage. Framed art, honors and awards including Amanda’s 1977 Buffalo Bill Award bronze statue by artist Ted Long, the American Cancer Society Courage Award signed and presented to Amanda by President Ronald Reagan, a wooden bench made by Milburn Stone, vintage western items, and photographs are among the items that will be offered.

All items will be on display and available for purchase starting February 8, at Schiff’s Estate Sale Building, located at 1309 Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Items will not be sold early and no prices will be quoted before the start of the sale. Purchases can be made in person, or over the phone by credit card, and can be shipped anywhere in the United States. Shipping costs vary by item and destination.

Visit the Schiff's Estate Services website or call the Schiff Estate Sale Building at (916) 923-1443 for more information. Items will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

In addition, PAWS will continue to list items from Amanda’s estate and the museum on eBay. New treasures are listed weekly. Click here to view the items currently up for bid.

All proceeds go to the care of the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary. Thank you Amanda!

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PAWS Co-Founder Pat Derby:

Remembering a Legendary Figure for Captive Wildlife

On February 15, 2013, we mourned the passing of Pat Derby, who co-founded PAWS with partner and PAWS President Ed Stewart. Pat truly was legendary, known for her ferocity in the battle against animal abusers and her relentless drive to end the exploitation of captive wild animals used for entertainment – whether in circuses, film and TV, the exotic “pet” trade, or zoos.

Pat’s early career as a well-known Hollywood animal trainer planted the seeds for her later rescue and advocacy work. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wildlife used for film, TV and advertising, Pat wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976). For the first time, the public got an inside look at a shocking world they never even knew existed. This launched her life’s work to educate the public about the suffering of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to fully realize that vision.

PAWS continues this important work under Ed’s able leadership, always working harder and reaching higher in order to change the world for captive wildlife. While she may not have considered herself to be a legend, no one who met Pat could ever forget her and her great passion for animals. She left an indelible mark on the world and our hearts – and she will never be forgotten.


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 »



Mara: 33 Years at PAWS

African elephant Mara (above) is the longest-term resident at PAWS, saved from a life in the circus. She arrived at our Galt sanctuary on January 23, 1990, joining another African elephant named “71.” They were the first elephants to be rescued by a sanctuary in the U.S., and the two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.

Mara is a high energy elephant who loves to push on trees, eat leafy branches, and dig deep holes to create mud wallows and dusting areas – just as wild elephants do. Mara spends her time with Thika, exploring and foraging in their large, hilly habitat at ARK 2000.


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Above: African elephants Thika (front) and Mara near one of their favorite mud wallows at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary.


Putting Elephant Welfare First

Elephants are highly social beings, and it is often assumed that in captivity they naturally would get along with any other elephants. However, this simply isn’t the case. Not too different from those social animals we call humans, elephants can be choosy about their companions. While some captive elephants may form social bonds, others may simply tolerate one another. In the worst scenarios, there is outright aggression.

Female elephants in captivity are immediately at a disadvantage. Although elephants are social animals, it is unnatural for them to live with unrelated elephants. In captive situations, including sanctuaries, elephants may live with elephants who not only are unrelated, they may have come from entirely different counties. Whereas free-living female elephants remain with their natal families for life, forming vital, lifelong relationships. (Males gradually leave their families at about 12 to 15 years of age.) The disruption of these durable social bonds – as when calves are ripped from their families and exported for display – causes trauma that stays with them for life.

Captive-born elephants can also experience trauma, including rejection and even harm by inexperienced mothers (who likely underwent their own traumas), living in the dysfunctional social situations that abound in captivity, and separation from their mothers or a close companion when transferred to another location.

Left: African elephants Toka, on the left, and Lulu.

In essence, all elephants in captivity carry psychological “baggage” that often is evidenced in their behavior. African elephant Lulu was kidnapped from her family in Swaziland at age two and sent to a zoo. Another elephant (who also was captured in the wild) dominated Lulu for years, often trapping her in a corner or blocking access to food. When Lulu arrived at PAWS, she was so anxious around other elephants she would sometimes squat down as if to make herself as small as possible. We worked slowly with Lulu, helping to build her confidence and comfort with the other elephants. She eventually became a “leader” among the elephants. Today, Lulu – who is the oldest African elephant in North America – spends quiet days with companion Toka.

African elephant Thika was born in captivity. She grew up in a space-restricted environment in which at least some of the elephants were incompatible. According to reports, these incompatibilities resulted in injuries and even death. (At least one YouTube video documented serious fighting between the elephants.) Thika displayed aggression, including toward Toka, with whom she made the trip to PAWS in October 2013, along with Iringa (who later passed away due to longtime foot and joint disease). Thika’s aggression toward Toka did not abate at PAWS, so the decision was made to separate the two elephants.

Our goal, in part, was to alleviate the social stress that Toka was experiencing and allow her to feel more relaxed – as she is with Lulu. For Thika’s well-being, she was introduced to Mara who is PAWS’ longest resident and a very confident elephant. Nothing seems to phase her! This pairing could not have turned out better. Thika began to follow Mara around like a little sister, and today the two are never far apart. They can often be found foraging together, dusting themselves while standing side by side, and exploring their spacious habitat late into the day.

At the sanctuary, we let the elephants tell us what they need, and we have the space and time to accommodate them. As PAWS’ co-founder, the late Pat Derby used to say, we work on “elephant time,” meaning the elephants dictate the pace of things. There is no pressure to get the elephants on display or make them “get along” because there is no other option for them.

We put the welfare of all our animals first because it is what is best for them and it is the right thing to do. After all, they did not choose to be in captivity. It is our mission to give them the most natural life possible in large habitats set amid the quiet of nature, while providing the very best care. It’s the least we can do for them.


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Have You Taken the Pledge

to Help Elephants?

PAWS recently 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

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Thank you Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

JANUARY DONORS - Peggy Buckner: one 2 lb. bag of almonds. Catherine: two 6.5 oz. bags of dried pineapple. Justin Reinheimer: one 2 lb. bag of almonds; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Nancy Gordon: one bottle of AminiVast, 60#; one box of AA batteries, 24#. Barbara Affonso: one box of Denamarin, 30#. Jo Ann Mason: two 4 lb. bags of sunflower seeds. Marcia Pelka: one 2 lb. bag of sunflower seeds; one 4 lb. bag of almonds. Galen Hazelhofer: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Apurva and Chirag Yagnik: one 3 lb. bag of almonds; eight 4 lb. bags of almonds; eight 2 lb. bags of sunflower seeds; six 3 lb. bags of walnuts. Fran Coletti: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Shawna Pilsi: one 2 lb. bag of almonds. Joyce Zee: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Lynn Bruser: one 10 lb. pail of Equithrive Classic Joint Pellets. Betina Williams: one box of AA batteries, 24#. Anonymous Donors: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat.

DECEMBER DONORS - Kris Cooper: one box of AA batteries, 24#. Joleene M. Ladyman: four 6.5 oz. bags of dried Papaya. Joyce E. Hodel: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Callie Kooiker: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat. Theresa Baumgartner: two bottles of Amcelle Tocopherol (Vitamin E). Jim Hemphill and Kelly Goodner: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Deidre Dieterle: 35 lbs. of popcorn kernels. Nancy Gordon: one 8 lb. bucket of Simply Flax. Betina Williams: one 6.5 oz. bag of dried Pineapple; one 4 lb. bag of Sunflower kernels. Anonymous Donors: one bottle of Denamarin, 30#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#.

NOVEMBER DONORS - Joyce Bruno: three 2 lb. bags of almonds. Valerie M. Smith: one box of AA batteries, 144#; one box of AA batteries, 24#. Erica M. Armstrong: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Carol Pollard: one 3 lb. bag of walnuts. Anonymous donors: one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one 4 lb. bag of almonds; one 3 lb. bag of walnuts.




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

(209) 745-2606 Office/Sanctuary
(209) 745-1809 fax

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