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Meet the Bears

It costs approximately $18,000 per year to feed and care for one healthy bear.



In Memoriam

Arthur (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

March 20, 2019: It is with deep sadness that we report the death of beloved black bear Arthur who arrived at PAWS in 2002. His estimated age at that time was about 10 years. He leaves a giant, bear-sized hole in our hearts and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him and who had the honor of caring for him.


Read Arthur's story here.


"Caged Bear Spurs Cries Of Outrage" - read this 2001 article from the Los Angeles Times

Click here to read "Fur flies over bear/State retires limping bear to life of luxury" — a 2002 San Francisco Chronicle report.

View video of Arthur, here.



$125 Annual Adoption*

Ben (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

Ben is a black bear who was born in 2001. He arrived at ARK 2000 on August 10, 2012, and is now living in a 2-acre habitat with trees, grass and his own pool — one of six habitats designed specifically for bears in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000. Black bear Sampson is his next door neighbors.

Ben was relocated to PAWS from a private North Carolina ranch/tourist attraction where he had spent six years living in a 12x22-foot chain-link and cement enclosure. His interaction with others was limited to being gawked at by visitors and an occasional piece of bread tossed to him by a tourist.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ben by two concerned citizens and following more than a year of court battles, a judge finally ruled in Ben's favor. PAWS co-founder/director Ed Stewart accompanied Ben on his FedEx-donated flight to California — cheerfully dubbed "Bear Force One" by the flight crew.

View video of Ben here.





$125 Annual Adoption*


Boo Boo (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

Boo Boo, a black bear, was born at a breeding compound in January of 1994, taken from his mother when he was two weeks old and sold as a pet to a family in Ohio. His new owners put a chain around his neck, locked it, and then lost the key. As Boo Boo matured, the chain grew into his neck. A concerned woman purchased him from the family, brought him to PAWS, and paid for a veterinarian to remove the chain from his neck. Boo arrived at our Galt sanctuary on December 6, 1994.

When Winston, another young black bear arrived at our Galt sanctuary in May of 1995, he was introduced to Boo Boo. The two youngsters hit it off and became best friends.

In December of 2010, Boo Boo and Winston were moved to their spacious new home in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000.

Watch a video of Boo Boo's rescue. Click here.

Boo Boo and Winston move to ARK 2000. View video here.

Watch Boo Boo and Winston in their ARK 2000 habitat. Click here.




In Memoriam



Cinnamon (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

Cinnamon, a female black bear, came to PAWS in 2003 along with three other bears, Sampson, Oma (deceased), and Scarface (now deceased). The four bears had been confiscated by authorities and were housed temporarily at the Houston SPCA before coming to PAWS. Prior to their removal, all four bears were part of a small, drive-through roadside exhibit where they lived in horrendous conditions. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous violations and the animals were impounded. Cinnamon had been declawed by her previous owner, a travesty considering that bears use their claws in a variety of natural, essential activities such as climbing, digging, and ripping bark off of logs to find bugs and worms. 


Cinnamon had a special affinity for Sampson. After the bears' move in 2011 from the Galt sanctuary to ARK 2000, the two bears shared a large, oak forested enclosure in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat. Bears enjoy water, and Cinnamon and Sampson had their very own, custom-built swimming pool, which she especially enjoyed on hot summer days. Another of Cinnamon's favorite activities was to forage for acorns that naturally drop from the trees during the fall.


Cinnamon was appropriately named, with a gorgeous copper-red coat. Black bears can naturally have variety of different coat colors, from jet black to reddish brown and to almost blonde. Cinnamon made up for her smaller physical stature with her spunky, confident energy. She especially enjoyed curling up for a nap in a thick bed of pine needles under a tree.


Cinnamon began showing early signs of arthritis in 2013, with some stiffness in her legs. PAWS' dedicated keeper staff made sure that she received special medications and nutritional supplements to support her joints and to provide comfort as her arthritis gradually became more severe. She remained active, exploring her habitat with Sampson, until early summer of this year when she suddenly had great difficulty standing and walking. An examination by PAWS' veterinarians, and X-rays reviewed by a veterinary radiologist, confirmed that her entire spine was affected by severe arthritis that had caused damage to her spinal cord.


After heroic efforts to ease discomfort and restore Cinnamon's mobility, it became clear that she would never be able to walk again. Keeping in mind Cinnamon's well-being and quality of life, the incredibly difficult, but most humane decision was made to gently euthanize her to prevent future suffering. Cinnamon passed from this life on July 27, 2017, at the age of 21 years, surrounded by many who loved her. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and cared for her.



In Memoriam


Jack (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

Jack was once a free-ranging, wild black bear in Northern California, until he became habituated to people and was captured in 2007 by wildlife authorities as a "nuisance" bear. It is truly a tragedy when, through no fault of their own, bears rely on garbage as a food source. This happens when people do not keep their trash in secure, bear-proof containers. Habituated bears can pose a threat to people and domestic animals, and often end up shot and killed, or captured to spend the rest of their lives in captivity.


At ARK 2000, Jack lived in a large habitat filled with oak trees, tall grass, and a pool. Wild bears are constantly busy, and the natural environment habitats at ARK 2000 provide the opportunity for them to express some of their natural instincts, such as foraging for acorns, insects, and other treats. Jack once climbed to the top of a 40-foot tall tree in his habitat to check out an unoccupied bird's nest.


As Jack grew older, he began to show signs of arthritis. Although he stopped climbing trees, he continued to enjoy a good swim in his pool and long naps under the trees. Over the last year, Jack's mobility began to decline rapidly and he also began to lose his eyesight. His exact age is not known, but he was at least 18 years old and probably much older, considering his advanced stage of arthritis and compromised vision. When Jack's arthritis reached the point where he was having difficulty standing and walking, and he was no longer responding to medications that helped him for many years, the decision was made to end his struggle and prevent suffering. Jack passed from this life on July 9th, surrounded by the love of many who cared for him. His spirit remained wild until the end, and his memory will remain in our hearts.




$125 Annual Adoption*


Mack (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

On August 16, 2016, a 3-legged yearling American black bear named Mack arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary. The young bear had spent the last year under the loving care of the veterinarians and staff at The Fund For Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, California.

Mack was captured by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife after he climbed a school yard fence, seeking human attention. Earlier, he had been spotted at a tree farm in the hills above Claremont, California, soliciting food from people. Only a few months old at the time, this little orphaned bear cub was missing part of his right hind leg. The injury – most likely the result of a snare (trap) – was completely healed at the time he was captured and he looked to be otherwise healthy. Because of Mack's injury, and the fact that he was very friendly with people, Fish and Wildlife officials decided he should not be released back into the wild.

Since his arrival, Mack has been settling in to his new home very well. He has a large pool to splash and play in, a cozy den, and a large grassy enclosure with a gently sloped hill and shady trees. Just as he has been learning about us, we have also been learning a lot about him. Mack appears to be a "night owl", preferring to nap during the day and being more active at night. Our 24-hour animal care staff see him playing in his pool at night, as well as exploring his habitat and resting on top of his grassy hill under the stars. He likes a variety of foods, but particular favorites are fish, grapes, avocado, dandelion greens and figs that grow on sanctuary grounds.

Mack is a gentle, playful bear who is full of energy and curiosity. The entire PAWS family is excited to welcome him to his forever home, and we look forward to watching him grow up with us.



In Memoriam

Oma (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

2/12/1994 - 12/26/2017

Oma, born February 12, 1994, arrived at PAWS in July of 2003, along with three other bears, Cinnamon (deceased), Sampson and Scarface (deceased). The four bears were confiscated by authorities and housed temporarily at the Houston SPCA. Prior to their removal, all four bears were featured as part of a small, drive-through roadside exhibit where they lived in horrendous conditions. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous violations and the animals were impounded.



In Memoriam



Sampson (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

2/12/1994 - 11/11/2019

Sampson, born February 12, 1994, arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in July of 2003, along with three other bears, Cinnamon, Oma and Scarface (all deceased). The four bears were confiscated by authorities and housed temporarily at the Houston SPCA. Prior to their removal, all four bears were featured as part of a small, drive-through roadside exhibit where they lived in horrendous conditions. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous violations and the animals were impounded.

Sampson lived in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000 until his death on November 11, 2019. He was a neighbor to Ben the Bear.




In Memoriam

Winston (Black Bear, Ursus americanus)

Winston, one of PAWS' oldest and most beloved sanctuary residents passed away at the age of 28. Winston was an American black bear who was born in 1993 at a captive breeding compound in Ohio. Once identified only as "Bear #1530", Winston was kept illegally as a "pet" in North Carolina until local officials confiscated him. Although still young, he was confined with older, more aggressive bears and suffered a severe bite wound to his hip. When PAWS' co-founders Pat Derby and Ed Stewart learned of his predicament, they wholeheartedly offered him a permanent home. Winston was treated for the injury and transferred to our Galt sanctuary in 1995. He arrived limping and in poor condition.

Winston became best friend and lifelong companion to Boo Boo, another young black bear living with us at the time. The two bears had much in common, having both been bred for the exotic "pet" trade. In nature they would have remained with their protective mothers for at least a year and a half, learning essential survival skills. Instead they were taken from their mothers prematurely, sentenced to live in miserably inadequate conditions that affected both their mental and physical health in their early lives.

Winston and Boo Boo lived in Galt for many years, until PAWS' longtime friend and supporter, the legendary animal hero Bob Barker, made it possible for us to build a much larger bear habitat at ARK 2000. All of the bear enclosures are filled with soft soil, native grasses and shady oak trees, and all have pools and cozy dens. In December 2010, Winston and Boo Boo were moved from Galt to their spacious new home in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat. Here the two friends could roam their own piece of the wild California Sierra foothills, foraging for acorns, and enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of nature.

Winston was healthy for most of his life, only needing medical support when he was in his twenties. He bounced back beautifully from major dental work in 2018, and thrived on a nutritious diet supplemented with vitamins and medications to treat arthritis. In June 2021, he began to show symptoms of a serious illness, and a thorough examination under anesthesia confirmed that Winston had liver cancer. PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, developed a treatment plan to keep Winston comfortable and pain-free, and his dedicated caregivers provided extra TLC and attention. Unfortunately, Winston's cancer worsened rapidly and aggressively and the heartbreaking but most compassionate decision was made to perform euthanasia to prevent suffering.

Winston passed from this life on July 15, 2021, surrounded by many who loved him dearly. His eternal optimism, beaming smile, and patience will always be remembered. We will miss him tremendously.


Winston and Boo Boo move to ARK 2000. View video here.

Watch Boo Boo and Winston in their ARK 2000 habitat. Click here.

Watch a video of Winston's arrival in 1995. Click here.




*PLEASE NOTE: Adoptions are symbolic only. The animal does not actually go home with you. Donations made via animal adoption are used for the care, feeding and maintenance of the animals.

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

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

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