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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.
Learn More »




Conference Registration

Closes on October 15!

“Back Together in the Fight for Captive Wildlife” is the theme for this year’s PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference, November 11-12, in Sacramento, California.

It’s been four years since our last conference and now it’s time to bring everyone up to speed – in person – on all things concerning captive wildlife: from circuses, tourism and zoos to the latest efforts in law and legislation. We’ll be talking about captive elephants, cetaceans, big cats, and nonhuman primates, as well as challenges, successes, and future actions for change.

Hear from more than 30 speakers on the front lines for captive wildlife through their work in conservation, scientific research, law, academia, and animal care, welfare and policy. Countries represented include Canada, Germany, South America, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the United States. PAWS has been presenting this unique global summit since 1992. We hope to see you in November!

New in 2022: Two “super panels” where experts tackle tough questions involving captive wildlife and how to bring about change.

Special Conference Event: Photographer Colleen Plumb book signing, "Thirty Times a Minute."

Post-Conference Event: Visit PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary – home to elephants, tigers, and bears – on Sunday, November 13. (ARK 2000 visit available to conference attendees only.)

Click on the "register here" link below for complete conference information and to register for this exciting event.




Read PAWS' COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols here.

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Secrets of the Elephant Trunk

by Catherine Doyle, M.S.

PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy

As Director of Science, Research and Advocacy for PAWS, I have been conducting ongoing behavioral observations of the African elephants at our ARK 2000 sanctuary. During a recent round of observations, I took extra notice of the ways the elephants use their trunks, those amazing appendages that serve a multitude of functions.

The elephant’s trunk is used to breathe, suck up water and transfer it to the mouth to drink, bathe, smell, toss dust or mud onto themselves, socialize, call, explore, and rub their eyes and scratch their heads. Just like people are left or right handed, elephants may have a preference for the way they rotate the trunk to gather or grab vegetation and the side of the mouth where they place their food.

Read “Secrets of the Elephant Trunk” in its entirety, in our July 2022 newsletter here.


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Attention Gunsmoke Fans:

Weekly eBay Auctions, Featuring Items From Amanda Blake's Estate,

to Benefit PAWS!

Amanda Blake, known for her role as "Miss Kitty" on the television series Gunsmoke, graciously left the majority of her estate to PAWS when she passed away in 1989. It helped fund the elephant habitat at PAWS' first sanctuary in Galt, California.

Most of Amanda's Gunsmoke memorabilia, as well as numerous personal items, were sold during estate sales held in the years following her death. Many of Amanda's remaining treasures became part of the displays featured in the now-closed Amanda Blake Museum, once located on the grounds of PAWS' Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald, California. Other personal mementos were packed away in storage. A selection of these prized keepsakes are now being sold on eBay, with new items listed every week.

All proceeds go to the care of the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals living at PAWS' sanctuaries.

Click here to view the items currently up for auction on eBay and to read more about Amanda Blake and her history with PAWS.


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PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and African

elephant 71, walking through the hills at ARK 2000. Pat

and Ed rescued 71 in 1986; she was PAWS' founding elephant. 71 died in 2008 - read about her here.

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.

Important note: PAWS practices only “protected contact” management with our animals, which means caregivers do not share the same space with the animals and there is always a barrier between them. This is for the safety of the animals and our caregivers, and it benefits animal welfare.


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 »



10 Years Ago "Bear Force One"

Brought Ben to PAWS

August 2002 marked Ben the bear’s 10th year as a member of the PAWS family. His path from nameless roadside attraction to sanctuary was not an easy one.

Ben was displayed at a roadside zoo in North Carolina, where he was identified only as “Attraction no. 2.” His barren cage was about the size of a one-car garage – even though bears naturally roam home ranges as big as 50 square miles. It contained nothing but a bowling ball and a few pieces of rotting wood for “enrichment.”

Bears are active and intelligent animals, so you can imagine Ben’s distress. Out of sheer boredom and frustration, he endlessly paced back and forth on the hard concrete floor of his cage. When he wasn’t pacing, he would bite the chain-link fencing.

Two local citizens and attorneys from the PETA Foundation and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to free Ben from this nightmare. Fortunately, the judge recognized that Ben’s most basic needs were not being met, and she issued a ruling that allowed his transfer to PAWS. (The zoo later closed.)

That was just the start of Ben’s rescue. Once on site, PAWS President Ed Stewart knew this rescue wasn’t going to be easy or safe – and we had just one day to get him out!

Clearly, Ben was never meant to leave his cage alive. The owners had welded shut the door to his enclosure. Had Ben ever needed serious veterinary care, it would have been impossible to reach him. The rescue team had to cut through the steel door by hand.

All the while, the team was harassed by a group of men. As they set up the flight cage for Ben, one of them said, “Why don’t we just shoot this bear instead of letting him go to California.”

It took all day – and some peanut butter – but Ben was finally secure in his flight cage. He soon was on the truck to the airport and his flight to California, courtesy of Federal Express (left). The pilots dubbed the plane “Bear Force One.”

Today, Ben roams among trees and bushes in his spacious habitat in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. At age 21, he is elderly but just as active as our youngest bear, Mack! During cool weather, Ben is especially active and can be found foraging for food treats or lounging in his large pool. Because he was cruelly declawed at some point in his life, Ben uses his teeth instead of his claws to dig into logs for termites and grubs.

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How Do You Vaccinate a Tiger?
by Jackie Gai, DVM
PAWS Director of Veterinary Services

As a veterinarian who works with wild animals, some of the most common questions I'm asked by people have to do with vaccinating the big cats at PAWS. For example: Do we vaccinate them? What diseases do we vaccinate them against? And finally, how do we administer the vaccines?

At PAWS, we are proud of our comprehensive veterinary program that provides excellent, state-of-the-art medical care tailored to each individual animal's unique needs. One important component of this program focuses on preventative care, including vaccination to protect animals against diseases to which they may be vulnerable. Similar to domestic cats, core vaccines for big cats protect against rabies, distemper, feline calicivirus, and feline viral rhinotracheitis.

Click here to read more about vaccinating a PAWS tiger.


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Have You Taken the Pledge

to Help Elephants?

PAWS has 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. Click below to sign PAWS' petition on



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Thank you Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

AUGUST DONORS - Brad Petersen: one 18 lb. box of Epsom Salts. Linda Starr: one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#.  Shannon M. Thune: one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax; one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive Pellets. Micayla Severino: six boxes of Epsom Salt. Cindy Reid: one box of Denamarin, 30#. Becky Fast: one 6.5 oz. bag of dried pineapple. Melissa Hill: one 5 lb. box of oranges. Peggy Buckner: one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax. Laura: one 3.3 lb. tub of Equithrive Pellets. Lynn Bruser: one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive Pellets. N. Gordon: one 500 pack of paper bags; one box of latex gloves; one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax. Pedro Pascal: one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax. Pamela Rogers-Ibitz: one case of oranges. Anonymous Donors: one box of gloves; one 6.5 oz. bag of dried pineapple; one 32 oz. bag of sunflower kernels; one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one 2 lb. bag of almonds.

JULY DONORS - Pamela Rogers-Ibitz: one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one 4 lb. bag of almonds; one 3 lb. bag of walnuts; one 4 lb. bag of sunflower kernels. Daniel: one 3.3 lb. tub of Equithrive. Mary Warrick: three bottles of CosequinDS 132#. Pat Sides: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one bottle of AminAvast 60#. Staci Sanders: six 6.5 oz. bags of Diced Papaya. Steven Hicks: one 5 lb. box of oranges. Anonymous Donors: two sets of Walkie Talkies; one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive.

JUNE DONORS - Kelly Heidel: one bottle of CosequinDS, #132; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one 3.3 lb. tub of Equithrive. Lynn Bruser: one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive. Nancy Gordon: two bags of dried pineapple; one 5 lb. bag of walnuts. Julie Sklare: one bottle of Emcelle Tocopherol. Joanne and Paul Osburn: two bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol, one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Sandy Gwinner: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Gordon Holmes: one DJI Phantom 4 Professional. Anonymous Donors: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; three bags of dried pineapple; one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive.




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

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

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