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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.

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 »




PAWS President Ed Stewart talks about the Netflix docuseries "Tiger King"

and what you REALLY need to know about captive big cats!

Read Ed's statement here.

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PAWS Featured in Kevin Nealon's

"Hiking with Kevin" Series on YouTube

The newest “Hiking with Kevin” episode – a weekly YouTube feature created by comedian and actor Kevin Nealon – was filmed at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary in February and includes PAWS friend and Oscar Award-winning actress Kim Basinger and PAWS President Ed Stewart. In each “Hiking with Kevin” episode Nealon interviews celebrities while hiking with them, talking about a range of subjects and often providing entertaining insights. You not only get to learn more about the talented Kim Basinger, you’ll see some stunning images of ARK 2000 and the animals we care for.

PAWS thanks Kevin Nealon, a great friend to animals and a long-time friend and supporter of PAWS, for choosing ARK 2000 as the site for this episode. We also thank Kim Basinger, a cherished friend and long-time PAWS supporter, for all that she’s done for us. We also want to recognize actor and filmmaker Matthew Modine, the other man behind the cameras!

Click here to watch PART 1!

View PART 2 here!

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PAWS' March 2020 newsletter featured an update on rescued tigers Czar (above), Tessa and Mungar.

Read their story and more here.

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PAWS' February 2020 newsletter featured African Elephant Toka who

turns 50 this year.

Read her story and more here.

You can read more PAWS newsletters here:


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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.

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 »




For the Wild Animals at PAWS:

Peace and Quiet Prevails

You’ve probably read recent stories about wild animals venturing back into towns and cities since the coronavirus shut down much of the world and emptied busy streets. Wild goats regularly enter a seaside town in Wales and munch on windowsill flowers. A mountain lion was spotted asleep in a tree in a normally bustling area of Denver, Colorado. Even in natural settings like Yosemite National Park in California, numerous bears, bobcats and coyotes have come out of hiding. (Typically, more than 300,000 people would visit the park in April.) With the stillness, animals are at least temporarily reclaiming what was once theirs.

At the ARK 2000 sanctuary, we understand that quietness is essential for captive wild animals too, especially those who once suffered terribly in circuses, roadside zoos, and the captive wildlife trade. The tranquility of nature that now surrounds them is an important benefit of the sanctuary that aids in the animals’ rehabilitation. ARK 2000’s truly natural setting and the peace that comes with it allows the animals to relax and engage in more natural and varied activities. They can play, explore, search for food, socialize, splash in a pool, or nap in the sun. The choices are there for them. The animals are also more in tune with the complexities of their surroundings as the seasons change, bringing different sights, sounds, and smells.

An important part of our work is to make the animals’ lives as intrusion-free as possible. This is why we choose to remain closed to visitors, except for a limited number of educational events at ARK 2000. Many of the animals we care for were once on public display: Asian elephant Gypsy was forced to perform in circuses for nearly 40 years. Asian bull elephants Nicholas and Prince came from circuses as well. Ben the bear paced in a tiny, barren cage at a roadside attraction. African elephants Lulu, Thika, Toka, and Maggie spent most of their lives in zoos. African lion Camba traveled in a circus, and the Colorado tigers were exploited at a roadside zoo. At the sanctuary, they now have a safe space and privacy.

Free from the stress of close confinement, cruel training and forced performances, and the numbing tedium that comes from being deprived of all that is natural to a wild animal, the animals at PAWS can unwind. With time, each new rescued animal blossoms, revealing the individual they truly are. Most recently we’ve seen this with the Waystation Three tigers, Mungar, Czar, and Tessa (read more about them here.

Thankfully, ARK 2000 remains tranquil, and the animals are blissfully unaware of the pandemic that surges outside. That’s as it should be. While we face some challenges – as many of you do at this time – our dedicated staff continue to care for the animals and keep the sanctuary operating smoothly. As ever, our priority is the health and welfare of the animals. Part of that is providing the most natural – and quiet – conditions possible in captivity. Shhhhh. . .

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A Message from PAWS President

Ed Stewart on Caring for Our Animals During COVID-19 Pandemic

At this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one assurance PAWS can give you: The animals at our three sanctuaries are continuing to receive the highest level of care by our dedicated caregivers and veterinary team.

While many around the world are experiencing serious disruptions in their everyday lives, we are doing our best to ensure that the elephants, bears, big cats and other wild animals we care for remain unaffected. Thisincludes purchasing extra food, hay and produce, as well as edical necessities to prepare for the weeks ahead. At the same time, we are taking all necessary precautions to protect our caregiving team, who are so important to the welfare of our animals.

As always, we are thankful to you, our supporters. Because of your generosity and caring, captive wild nimals who once suffered in circuses, roadside zoos, and the exotic pet trade are now safe and in the best of hands. They continue to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature as they go about their daily routines in their spacious habitats.

When things get better – and I know they will – I hope

you will remember the deserving animals at PAWS. Until that time we hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.


Ed Stewart

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Please Support the

Big Cat Public Safety Act

Please contact your legislators in Washington, DC, and urge them to co-sponsor the Big Cat Public Safety Act. This important bill would prohibit the private ownership of captive big cats and stop pubic contact with these animals – ending cruel cub petting operations and the never-ending breeding on which they depend.

The Big Cat Public Safety Act has been introduced in the House (bill H.R.1380) by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in September 2019 – the first time it has advanced the bill. Click here to see the list of co-sponsors.

The bill has been introduced in the Senate (bill S.2561) by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Pressure is needed to move it forward. Click here to see the list of co-sponsors.

Click here to locate your representative and senators. If your legislator is already a co-sponsor, please send a message thanking them for their support.

Thank you for taking action!


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Thank you

Amazon "Wish List" Donors


MARCH DONORS - Patricia A. Chisum: one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Carole Bognar (Happy B-Day Toka!): three 13 oz. cans of raisins. Marisa Landsberg: two 2 lb. boxes of raisins. Robyn Pierce: one 12.5 lb. bag of popcorn kernels; one 13 oz. can of raisins; one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#. Dan Brinkman: four packs of AA batteries, 48#. Tracey: four 2 lb. boxes of raisins; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Michael A Strobel: 10 bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol. Jan Nelson: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Claire Osborne: two packs of Laxatone; one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132 #; one Probiocin. Michele Smith: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Anonymous Donors: one case of copy paper, 8.5 x 14; two 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium; one 24 pack of AA batteries.

APRIL DONORS - Jaci Inama: one Probiocin; one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Tricia Downey: one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#; one Probiocin. Suzi Brooks: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one Crananidin, 75#. Geraldine Hayward: one Probiocin; one bottle of Azodyl, 90#; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one Crananidin, 75#; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one 2-pack of Laxatone, 4.2 oz. one pack of AA Batteries, 24#; one pack of AA Batteries, 48#. Julie: one 64 oz. box of Raisins. Kimberly A. Schmidt: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one box of Denanarin, 30#. Susan: one 64 oz. box of Raisins. Mary Nelson: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Craig and Azadeh Morrison: one pack of AA Batteries, 24#. Anonymous Donors: four boxes of Denamarin, 30#.


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

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