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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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PAWS Remembers

African Elephant Maggie

We were very sad to announce in early August that our beloved African elephant Maggie had passed away at age 41. She was beneath her favorite shady oak tree and near her best loved mudhole in the sanctuary’s largest habitat.

Read PAWS' tribute to Maggie in our August newsletter here.


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Above: Rescued bear Ben in his habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 Sanctuary.


Seeing Tigers and Bears

For Who They Really Are

By Catherine Doyle

PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy

The way we see wild animals displayed in captivity, including in sanctuaries, shapes our overall perception of them. Inferences are often drawn about behaviors, particularly their social natures. When people see bears or tigers together in a captive situation, they assume the animals are naturally social when in fact that is not the case at all.

Black bears and tigers are mostly solitary animals, except when mating or rearing their young. Both are territorial. Bear cubs remain with their mothers for about 16-17 months. During that time, they learn important survival skills they will later use when they establish their own territories. Tiger cubs stay with their mothers until they learn to hunt successfully, usually at about 18 to 24 months old. Once they reach full independence, they will disperse to find their own territory.

In captive situations, you may see a single bear or tiger, or you may see more than one animal living together. In zoos, it is not unusual for one tiger to be on display while another is kept indoors, and they are then rotated. Tigers are also transferred from one zoo to another for breeding. Tragically, some introductions of tigers for mating have gone horribly wrong, with one killing the other. In circuses, tigers housed together have fought, injured and killed other tigers. Recently, a male polar bear at a zoo killed a female bear after they were put in the same enclosure to mate. Despite being born and reared in captivity (in most cases), these animals retain their wild instincts. When something goes wrong in a crampled captive environment there is no means of escape for the unfortunate victim.

At PAWS, an animal’s age and individual life history determine their housing. For example, captive-born tigers who previously lived together can usually remain together. This is the case with brothers Nimmo (above) and Wilhelm, who came from a defunct roadside zoo that constantly bred animals so they could sell cub handling and photo ops to the public. Siblings Claire and Kim, who until recently lived with their late brother Roy, were rescued together when they were cubs. They came from a breeding facility that sold animals to roadside zoos or to be exotic “pets.” (All three were spayed or neutered.) Other tigers, like Czar, lived in their own enclosures before and continue to be given their own space.

Black bear Boo Boo (left) arrived in December 1994 when he was about a year old, having been a “pet” who was cruelly chained by the neck in a person’s backyard. Winston, who also had been a “pet”, joined him a month later at PAWS. Both bears were captive born and still very young, so they were housed together. These companions of 26 years continued to live together in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000 until Winston's death in July 2021 at the age of 28. Ben, on the other hand, was captive born and lived on his own for years in a rundown roadside zoo. Today, he roams among the oak trees, bushes and native vegetation of his own spacious habitat. (PAWS is one of only six Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries-accredited organizations in the U.S. that rescues and cares for captive bears. In contrast, there are 15 accredited organizations that care for tigers.)

So why don’t we house bears and tigers in individual habitats, as they would live in the wild? For one, housing more than one animal together in a large, natural area allows us to rescue and care for more animals in need. And, for animals born in captivity where instinctive behaviors are often suppressed (though not eliminated), those who are caged together may form relationships, as unnatural as that may be. We would not want to sever bonds between those animals.

The lesson here is to be aware of the perceptions you form when viewing wild animals in captivity – even at a sanctuary. At PAWS, we strive to inform the public about the natural biology and behavior of wild animals, not only for the sake of education but to illustrate how captive situations cannot meet their complex needs. The real focus must remain on protecting wild animals where they naturally live and the habitats in which they thrive.

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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

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.

Pat originally was a well-known Hollywood animal trainer. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wild animals for film, TV and advertising, she wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976), revealing a world the public never saw. This was the launch of her life’s work to educate the public about the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to realize that vision. In 1986, they established the first elephant sanctuary in the United States.

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 »




Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting

and the Big Cat Pet Trade

PAWS continues to support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R.263/S. 1210). The bill would ban the private ownership of big cats such as lions and tigers and restrict public contact with these animals, putting an end to cub petting operations and their enless breeding of big cats for profit.

Click here for more information and to see what you can do to help.


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Above: Former circus elephant Gypsy in her habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 Sanctuary.

So You Think Circuses with

Wild Animal Acts Are Over?

Think Again!

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus folded its big top forever in May 2017, many people believed it was the end of circuses with wild animal acts. We only wish that were true. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be subsiding, circuses are going back on the road with elephants, big cats and other animals.

Read more in our May 2021 newsletter here.


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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.

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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Thank you Amazon

"Wish List" Donors


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

JULY DONORS - Christine Casner: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Sue Lynch: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one 32 oz. EicosaDerm; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one Probiocin; one box of gloves. Beverly Archer: $50 Amazon Giftcard. Kelly Nolan: one Gatorade. H. Merolta: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Leona Heraty: one Gatorade. Laura Hill and all the Hills' cats and dogs: one DeWalt drill; one DeWalt circular saw. Barbara Reinhold: one package of vanilla beans; one box Newton fig chews; one lb. bag of pumpkin seeds. Anonymous Donors: seven bottles 32 oz. EicosaDerm; four containers of Gatorade; one Probiocin; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#.

JUNE DONORS - Kirk C. Gudenau: one bottle AminAvast, 60#; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#; one Probiocin. Peggy Buckner: one package of brown paper bags; one box of raisins. Debbie Pilafas: one Probiocin. N. Pecoraro: one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Genevieve Dominguez: two Probiocin; one 10 lb. box of raisins. Gayla Reuter-Alm: five gallons of Epsom Salt. Marisa Landsberg: two Rubbermaid Cabinets. Ben Sun: one Probiocin. Tracey Scoledes: one package of masking tape (6 rolls). Marcia Pelka: two Probiocin; two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm. Bette Bonfluer: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one Probiocin; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Paula Johansen: one Probiocin; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Robyn Pierce: one box of gloves; one Probiocin; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Jan Nelson: two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; three Probiocin; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Kimberly Stroup: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; two Probiocin. Jill Rivera: three bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Anonymous Donors: two Cobra Walkie Talkie radios; four boxes of gloves; five 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; five Probiocin; 10 bottles of Renal Essentials.




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

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

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