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

Follow us:

Text JOINPAWS to 22828 to sign up for PAWS newsletters and important email alerts.

(Message and data rates may apply. Check with your service provider.)

Or, sign up online using the link below!

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.

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 »





Pictured: Tiger Czar


Three Tigers Arrive at PAWS

Three new tigers have found lifetime homes at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. Mungar, Czar and Tessa needed immediate placement when their previous home, Southern California's Wildlife Waystation, permanently ceased operations and relinquished their permit to keep wild animals. PAWS and several other sanctuaries across the country stepped up to help, providing permanent refuge for a number of displaced animals.

When Wildlife Waystation officially surrendered their permit in August, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife immediately assumed both physical and fiscal responsibility for the daily care of more than 400 exotic and non-releasable wild animals, a monumentally expensive and daunting task for a state agency. At the request of the state, the New York-based non-profit Tigers in America (TIA) began finding appropriate placement for big cats and other animals within its network of sanctuaries. As of this writing, TIA has assisted in relocating 42 big cats into new homes in eight sanctuaries across the country.

Mungar, Czar and Tessa have made themselves right at home, and have settled in well. They are getting to know our staff and daily routine, as well as the other tigers who are housed nearby. Czar and Tessa are considered elderly, and Mungar has significant but manageable disabilities. PAWS' caregiving and veterinary staff excel at caring for older and "special needs" animals. Disability-friendly habitats, nutritious food, dedicated daily care, round-the-clock monitoring, and expert veterinary care tailored to the unique needs of each individual are the hallmarks that define PAWS' commitment to animal well-being.

Mungar (left) is 14 years old, and he is patient, strong, and quite unique. He was born with multiple physical challenges that were probably the result of genetic defects due to inbreeding, something all too common among tigers in captivity. He is blind in his left eye and has limited vision in his right. Malformed neck vertebrae pinch his spinal cord causing neurological symptoms such as urinary incontinence and difficulty using his rear legs. He also has a deformed jaw which makes it challenging to chew large pieces of food. We cut his meat into small strips to make it easier for him to chew and swallow. He takes multiple medications to help with his challenges, all of which he seems to take in stride. We immediately noticed his calm, trusting and positive attitude.

Mungar's enclosure includes a small pool and den area and is attached to his own disability-friendly habitat filled with shady oak trees, soft grass and soil. We've installed wooden platforms that have been built low to the ground so he can get on and off them with ease. He is a tiger who loves water. In fact, the first thing he did when he entered his new enclosure was to climb into his pool for a good soak. Mungar is a big, solid tiger with a calm and relaxed demeanor and a friendly personality. He and his new neighbor Apollo are mutually curious about each other and interactions through their shared fence have been cautious, but positive.

Czar (left) is 17 years old, active, inquisitive, and handsome. He also loves water and enjoys being given a cool bath with a water hose by his caregivers or submerging himself in the pool within his enclosure. He always greets people, and neighboring tigers, with a friendly "chuff." He even chuffs at his pool!

The first thing Czar did when released into his enclosure and den area at ARK 2000 was eat grass. All of our tiger enclosures and habitats have areas with filled with lush, green grass, a favorite treat for tigers. Tigers, like many domestic cats, love to eat grass. PAWS irrigates certain areas so that even during the hot summer months our tigers have access to green grass. Czar's enclosure is next door to Tessa's and they seem to enjoy each other's company. Caregivers report positive vocalizations (chuffing) back and forth.

Tessa ((left) is 17 years old, full of energy and beautiful. Overall she is friendly and curious, but also has a shy and reserved side. She especially loves lounging on the elevated wooden platform in her enclosure where she can watch all of the activity going on around her. She also enjoys rolling and pouncing on her big Boomer ball.

Tessa greets people and neighboring tigers alike with a friendly "chuff." She is very curious about her other neighbor, tiger Sawyer, and often makes friendly gestures towards her. Like all tigers at PAWS, Tessa's enclosure and den area is attached to a large habitat filled with trees, grass, soft soil and a pool.

Czar and Tessa will soon have access to larger habitats. They must first become acclimated to their individual enclosures and dens and learn the daily routine before we let them out into the bigger areas. This way they will know to come back in for feeding and medications.

We look forward to getting to know these tigers even more, and we're honored to provide them with room to roam, the peaceful sounds of nature, and the love and respect they deserve.

We estimate that it costs approximately $18,000 per year to care for ONE healthy tiger. Please consider making a special gift to PAWS in honor of Mungar, Tessa and Czar.

Donate here.

* * * *


PAWS' Innovative Outreach Program Welcomes Back College Students

PAWS is again offering Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife, a half-day learning experience for college professors and their classes. The program takes place at PAWS’ 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary in San Andreas, California, home to rescued or retired elephants, bears, and big cats.

The program explores the links between captivity, animal use, and larger wildlife issues. It is designed for, but not limited to, those interested in areas such as human-animal studies, animal welfare and behavior, biology, environmental studies, animal law, education, and conservation. The aim is to motivate students to think more deeply about the interface of humans and nature as defined by our interactions with wild animals in circuses, zoos, private menageries, and when kept as exotic pets – and inspire them to make a difference. To date, the response from students and professors has been enthusiastic.

Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife is offered through December; dates are limited. The course will take place again from February through June 2020. Professors are invited to bring interested students, free of charge.

For more information, contact PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle at

* * * *



Beloved Bear Sampson Passes Away

Sampson, an American black bear, was born on February 12, 1994. He arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in July of 2003, along with three other black bears, Cinnamon, Oma and Scarface (all since deceased) and a tiger (Nelson Redford, also deceased). The bears and tiger had been confiscated by authorities from conditions of severe neglect in a small, drive-through roadside zoo in Texas. The owner of the dilapidated facility was cited for numerous animal welfare violations, and the animals were taken into protective custody by the Houston SPCA until they were transported to their new, permanent home with PAWS.

Sampson lived in our Galt sanctuary until construction of the Bob Barker Bear Habitat was completed at ARK 2000. He had his very own large habitat filled with native grasses, mature oak trees, a large pool, and soft earth beneath his paws. He was especially fond of acorns and every Fall he would enthusiastically forage under the oak trees to pick up the fallen delicacies. Sampson was known for his very expressive eyebrows, and for sleeping on his back with his legs up in the air. He had a calm and gentle nature, and he was well-loved by his caregivers.

In late October, Sampson's appetite and energy level suddenly decreased and it was obvious that he wasn't feeling well. PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Gai, called in experts from UC Davis to assist with an abdominal ultrasound examination to look for a possible cause for his illness. They discovered evidence of an inoperable tumor in his stomach. Veterinary and caregiving staff provided extra TLC, including a special diet and supportive medications. Sampson seemed to feel better for a few days after the exam, but his condition soon declined. When it was apparent that his cancer was aggressively spreading, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to humanely euthanize him to prevent suffering.

Sampson passed peacefully from this life on November 11th, surrounded by many who loved him dearly. He will forever remain in our hearts, a gentle and expressive soul, and a very special bear indeed.


* * * *


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.

Pat Derby: A Life Dedicated

to Protecting Captive Wildlife

Pat Derby, co-founder of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, was a champion for captive wild and exotic animals, particularly those used in “entertainment.” Working side by side with her partner, current PAWS’ president and co-founder Ed Stewart, they set a new standard of care for captive wildlife, including establishing the first elephant sanctuary in the U.S. Sadly, Pat lost a long battle with cancer and passed away on February 15, 2013. But her spirit continues to live in PAWS’ rescue, sanctuary, and advocacy work.

Pat’s bravery and vision for a better life for captive wildlife helped lay the groundwork for the profound changes we are seeing today, including the public’s increasing rejection of the use of wild animals in entertainment, whether elephants and tigers in circuses or orcas in marine parks, and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus coming to an end. Her battle against the use of cruel elephhant bullhooks has resulted in statewide bans in California and Rhode Island, with PAWS playing an integral role in their passage.

Pat remains an inspiration to everyone at PAWS and to the greater animal protection community. Her determination and fighting spirit continue to drive PAWS’ efforts to create a more just and humane world for captive wild animals, each and every day.


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 »





* * * *


Above: Ben the Bear arrived at PAWS in August 2012. Rescued from a roadside zoo in North Carolina, this is Ben today in his habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. Thanks to generous friends who went shopping on PAWS' Amazon Wish List, he now has a big, new, bright red, heavy-duty Boomer Ball to play with!


Working Together to Help Captive Wildlife: The Story of Ben the Bear

Often, it takes a team of people to help captive wild animals in need. The rescue of Ben, an 18-year-old bear living in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary, is the perfect example. It took concerned citizens, attorneys from leading animal protection organizations, a judge, and FedEx to deliver Ben to his forever home at PAWS seven years ago.

A life of deprivation

To see Ben today, you wouldn’t begin to guess the horrors of his previous life as a roadside attraction. Identified only as “Attraction no. 2”, for six years he was confined in a 12x22-foot chain link “kennel” (left) with only a concrete floor to walk on. His meals usually consisted of dry dog food, and they were dumped on the very same floor where he urinated and defecated. Ben spent hours repeatedly pacing back and forth, the result of living in utterly deprived conditions. His only distractions were occasional passers-by, a bowling ball, and a few pieces of rotting wood.

The legal team
Fortunately, two local citizens and attorneys from PETA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund came to Ben’s aid. In 2012, they filed suit against the facility holding Ben, Jambbas Ranch Tours in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The facility already had numerous citations for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Cumberland County District Judge Kimbrell Tucker heard the case and wisely recognized that Ben’s most basic needs were not being met. The judge issued a preliminary injunction that allowed Ben’s transfer to PAWS and later made it permanent. (Jambbas Ranch Tours shut down after additional legal action resulted in suspension of its exhibition license.)

The transport team
The transport team, including PAWS President Ed Stewart and the late Dr. Mel Richardson, DVM, traveled to North Carolina to retrieve Ben and safely bring him to our sanctuary. That’s where another very important member of Ben’s team – FedEx – came in. PAWS is forever grateful to the company for transporting him to California on a plane the flight crew happily dubbed “Bear Force One.”

The sanctuary team
As we’ve said so many times, the rescue of a captive wild animal is just the beginning. It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since Ben first stepped into his new habitat – possibly walking on grass for the very first time in his life. Thanks to legendary animal activist and television star Bob Barker, today Ben spends his days immersed in nature (above), walking among shady trees and vegetation, foraging throughout the day, napping when he pleases, and exploring the spacious Bob Barker Bear Habitat. A team of PAWS caregivers sees to it that Ben has everything he needs: a nutritious diet, daily attention, an enriched environment, a visit from the veterinarian when necessary, 24/7 monitoring, and the love and respect he deserves.

Thanks to your support, PAWS stands ready to assemble our team once again to rescue a wild animal in need – animals like Ben, who need and deserve so much better.

* * * *



The Importance of True Sanctuary

By Catherine Doyle

PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy

I recently heard about a comment made by a zoo employee, who said that PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary is “just a bigger zoo.” My immediate response was: How superficial! That person really doesn’t understand what a sanctuary is all about. Obviously, space is important, especially when you’re caring for the planet’s largest land mammal. Elephants need room to move and stay healthy. But there are many factors that distinguish PAWS from other captive institutions.

Animals come first

We are here to serve the wild animals in our care; their welfare is our primary concern. PAWS holds the highest standards of care for the animals, provided by a dedicated caregiver staff and veterinary team. The animals are cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and treated with the respect they deserve.

Different role of confinement

At ARK 2000 we use confinement to protect and better serve the animals, rather than control and display them for human amusement. PAWS openly acknowledges that even the greatly improved conditions we provide are still not enough to meet the needs of wild animals. As PAWS President Ed Stewart has said, "The only “state of the art” place for elephants, bears, big cats and other animals is the wild."

Safe haven for life

A true captive wildlife sanctuary does not breed, buy, trade, sell or otherwise exploit animals. The animals who come to ARK 2000 will remain in our care for the rest of their lives. Important social bonds are respected and will remain undisturbed.

Focus on the individual

Our animals do not perform, and the public is never in direct contact with them – no selfies, feeding, or other so-called “educational” encounters. PAWS' focus is on the individual for the sake of that animal only. They are not ambassadors for their species nor are they on display to send a message. If there is any message, it is that the situations these animals were rescued from, and the abuse and deprivations some of them suffered, should not be allowed to exist.

Dynamic spaces

Larger spaces allow for more environmental complexity and more choice for the animals, whether it is engaging in self-directed activities or choosing to be closer to or farther from companions. At ARK 2000 the animals are immersed in complex natural areas that change with the seasons, effecting different behavioral opportunities and sensory experiences.

Quiet of nature

A large, natural habitat sanctuary offers subtle benefits: the quiet of living in nature, more intrusion-free lives, the relaxation that comes from no longer being exposed to the pressures of close confinement and social stress, privacy, and expanded visual, auditory and olfactory experiences.

Emphasis on rehabilitation

PAWS strives to help elephants be elephants, tigers be tigers, and bears be bears. Natural environments filled with grass, shady trees, bushes and lakes allow the animals to actively engage in instinctive behaviors such as foraging, swimming, exploring, climbing, socializing, or simply napping in the sun. Our patient and caring staff is there to support the animals and enable their remarkable transformation to the vibrant and thriving animals they are today.

View of captivity

PAWS seeks to create a deeper understanding of the problematic nature of captivity for wild animals and works to end the systems of abuse and exploitation that have created the need for sanctuaries to begin with. Captivity is not normal and we should not idealize it, even with the best of conditions. Wild animals belong in the wild, protected and respected.

As you can see, PAWS is much, much more than just a “bigger zoo.” It is a place that offers a new lease on life for the elephants, big cats, bears and other wild animals currently in our care – and those yet to come. It is also a place where each animal is respected as an individual with her or his own inherent value, and whose welfare and needs will always come first.

* * * *


Thank you Amazon "Wish List" Donors

OCTOBER DONORS - Saul Cervantes: one 25 lb. bag of peanuts in the shell. Carole Bognar: one bottle CosequinDS, 132#. Ben Sun: one Probiocin. Debbie Kelly: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one 25 lb. bag of peanuts in the shell. Linda Starr: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Thomas C. Dickson: two 25 lb. bags of peanuts in the shell. Martha Lawler, Kim Marie Campbell: two 24-packs of AA batteries. Patricia D. Adler Cartozian: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one Probiocin; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link. Ryan and Lynn Coplen: one CranAnidin, 75#; two Presto Pop Lite popcorn poppers; two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link. Anonymous Donors: two 25 lb. bags of peanuts in the shell; 10 bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol.

NOVEMBER DONORS - Carole Bognar: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one Probiocin. Nancy Gordon: six bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Linda Starr: one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium. Joy L. Holman: one five lb. tub of Psyllium. Joy Parker Lee: one five lb. tub of Psyllium. Leslie Hafemeister: one Probiocin. Ryan Coplen: two 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Anonymous Donors: two boxes of Denamarin, 30#; one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat.



View wish list items that are needed, but not included on our Amazon list 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