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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 »



132kW Solar Energy System

Installed at ARK 2000

Above: Workmen install solar panels on top of the 20,000 sq. ft. Asian elephant barn at ARK 2000.

Solar panels line the rooftop of an 8,000 sq. ft. bull elephant barn at ARK 2000.


PAWS Goes Green!

PAWS is proud to announce that our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas is now powered by solar energy. Clean, renewable energy supplies 97% of the electricity to our elephant barns, big cat and bear facilities, offices, and soon to be opened Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. Not only are we helping the environment and encouraging clean air and water, we will save nearly $1.5 million in electricity costs over 25 years. This means that even more of your generous donations go directly to animal care and rescue.

PAWS contracted with SUNWorks, one of the fastest growing solar energy system providers in California, to install the 132kW system. There is an array of 420 solar panels on the rooftops of the Asian elephant barn and Prince's bull barn, which produce enough pollution-free electricity to power more than 25 homes for a year. Of course, our California climate is ideal for solar energy, with plenty of sunshine year round.

PAWS is committed to saving captive wild animals, as well as conserving our planet and its wildlife. For example, an entire tree-covered mountainside on the ARK 2000 property has been set aside to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. With our conversion to solar power, we further dedicate ourselves to creating a sustainable world.

Solar power has no associated air pollution emissions, so it does not contribute to global warming which is negatively affecting the world's wildlife on land and in our oceans. In its first month of operation alone, PAWS' solar power system has avoided the production of 25 tons of CO2 and carbon pollution equivalent to burning over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. This important renewable energy also requires no water to operate, so it does not pollute water resources or compete with agriculture or other important water needs.


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Above: Mara by the African lake at ARK 2000.


Spotlight on African Elephant Mara

Like all elephants, Mara has a story to tell. Hers began in Africa, where she was born around 1980. She lived with her extended family, as baby elephants do, doted on by loving aunts and older female siblings. Her mother would have been fiercely protective, as Mara explored the rich and complex natural world that was her home.

Then disaster struck. Mara's mother was killed in a cull - the unconscionable government slaughter of elephants to reduce the size of a population. Mara surely saw her mother and other family members executed. The traumatized two-year-old calf was captured as part of the operation and sent to the Catskill Game Farm in New York. There she was sold to a European animal dealer who also happened to own the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California, where he sent Mara. The lone elephant at the zoo, Mara "entertained" visitors during the day. But behind the scenes, she was immobilized in chains and trained with a bullhook.

It didn't take long before Mara's life was to change again. The zoo threatened to sell her to a circus in Mexico, but a kindly group called "Friends of Mara" took up her cause, determined to stop the transfer. Fortunately, a very generous mother and daughter donated the funds needed to purchase Mara from the zoo. (This family is still helping Mara and PAWS all these years later, and we cannot thank them enough for their support!) Friends of Mara sent the young elephant to Florida where she lived with 80 other imported elephant orphans on a 600-acre estate owned by Nautilus exercise machine inventor Arthur Jones. After a few years, Jones began selling all the elephants, and Mara was yet again slated for sale to a circus.

That's when PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby stepped in. They had previously rescued a sickly baby elephant named "71" from the same Florida estate. When they heard about Mara's fate, they alerted Friends of Mara and quickly moved to rescue her from a life of misery in the circus. Ed Stewart enlisted the help of a local truck driver and the two men headed out on the 6,000-mile, round-trip journey to Florida to pick up the young elephant and bring her back to PAWS. Mara (shown above with 71, circa 1993) arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in January 1990, and shared a habitat with 71. The two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.

Today, Mara is known for her mischievous spirit, athleticism, high energy, and love of large, leafy branches that she skillfully removes from the sanctuary's trees. She has come a long way from her real home and family in Africa - a life we can never give back to her. What we can do is give her and all of our elephants the best life possible in captivity, for the entirety of their lives.

As elephants have a natural life span of 65-70 years (though their lives in captivity are often tragically cut short due to decades spent in unnatural conditions), it takes real commitment to care for them. We are proud that we have been able to provide our elephants with stability, a spacious and enriching natural environment, and a life of peace and dignity. And it is you, our readers and donors, who make it all possible. Thank you.


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Agove: Pictured in front of the newly-installed Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center sign are (L-R): Ned Waters of Vet Rocket; PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM; PAWS part-time Associate Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Curtis, DVM; PAWS Registered Veterinary Technician Lynn Dowling; and Andy Fu of Vet Rocket.


Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center

Nears Completion

Construction on the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000 is almost complete. Cabinets, countertops, overhead lighting, and other fixtures are being installed, which will be followed by a number of finishing touches necessary to enable us to move in and begin using this amazing new facility.

One special feature is an X-ray system developed by Vet Rocket that is durable and portable, allowing us to take high quality, digital images of elephant feet and leg joints that are immediately available for diagnosis. Images can be electronically sent to veterinary specialists when second opinions are needed on special cases. We can also take the unit to our Galt and Amanda Blake sanctuaries for use with other animals. We are excited to integrate this cutting-edge technology into our comprehensive program of veterinary care.

The Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center has been made possible by two generous donors who wish to remain anonymous, and will provide a complete range of veterinary support to the animals at PAWS, greatly enhancing the excellent care we already provide. We are grateful to our major donors, as well as to Dr. Julia N. Allen, PhD, DVM, for underwriting the specialty veterinary equipment, and to Dr. Kristina Wiley, DDS, who last year hosted a special Pat Derby Celebratory Tea to benefit the Wellness Center.

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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 Cofounder Pat Derby:

Forever Our Inspiration

PAWS Co-founder Pat Derby would have celebrated another birthday on June 7th. Sadly, the world lost this fearless leader for the animals to cancer in 2013. Pat was a former Hollywood animal trainer who first championed the cause of performing wild animals nearly 40 years ago when she published a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger. She exposed the behind-the-scenes abuse of wild animals used in entertainment, which, not surprisingly, brought her Hollywood career to end. But it marked the beginning of her heart's work of rescuing and caring for captive wildlife, and advocating for an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in entertainment.

Each and every day we think about Pat and all that she, together with her partner, PAWS Co-founder and President Ed Stewart, have accomplished for captive wildlife. Her legacy lives on in the 2,300-acre, natural habitat ARK 2000 sanctuary, where, today, wild animals like elephants, bears and tigers live in dignity and peace.

This year, PAWS will be opening the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center, a comprehensive veterinary facility that will better serve the animals we care for at the sanctuary. It is a fitting and vital tribute to Pat and her unending love for animals.

Ed Stewart continues to lead PAWS into the future, building on the work for captive wildlife that he and Pat started more than 30 years ago. We thank you, our supporters - whether a new friend or longtime partner - for making this work possible.

Read Ed Stewart's 2013 tribute to Pat Derby here.


The following videos were created in honor of Pat Derby and shown during the PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala and the International Captive Wildlife Conference in November 2014.

The early years. (click on the picture to play video.)

It had to begin with elephants. (click on the picture to play video.)


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 »




Conference Registration

Is Now Open!

Registration is now being taken for the PAWS 2016 International Captive Wildlife Conference, November 11-13, 2016. This premier global summit will address the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals - with a special focus on elephants, bears and big cats - and features exceptional speakers from the fields of scientific research, conservation, law, and animal welfare, care and policy.

This year's conference will be held at a venue in San Andreas, California, home to PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. Attendees will be invited to tour the sanctuary on Sunday, November 13. The tour will be led by PAWS' President Ed Stewart.

PAWS has been presenting outstanding conferences since 1992, attracting people from around the world. Our aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.

Visit the PAWS Calendar of Events page and follow the link to registration information, list of featured speakers, and conference program. Be sure to register early — this conference is sure to fill up quickly!

We hope to see you in San Andreas in November!


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SB 1062 Passes Senate and Assembly!

August 11, 2016 - SB 1062, the bill introduced by state senator Ricardo Lara to ban the use of cruel bullhooks on elephants, has passed the Assembly and today passed the Senate on concurrence and will now be sent to Governor Brown for his signature.

Thank you to Senator Lara, every representative who voted AYE, and every Californian who took action to pass this important elephant protection bill. The bill now goes back to the Senate for a concurrence vote before being sent to Governor Brown for his signature.

The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. Handlers use the bullhook to forcefully strike, prod, and hook elephants on sensitive parts of their bodies, controlling these very intelligent and sensitive animals through pain and fear. Today there is a safer and more humane way of managing elephants that uses positive reinforcement training, food treats and praise. With this method, keepers provide a full range of husbandry and veterinary care without the use of intimidation and painful punishment. No AZA-accredited zoo in California uses bullhooks, and we have never used a bullhook at PAWS. The cities of Los Angeles and Oakland have banned the bullhook, and San Francisco has prohibited the use of all performing wild animals.

For more information, please contact Catherine Doyle, PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy,

Read Senator Lara's SB 1062 press release here.


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Meet Jack the Bear

In 2007 PAWS received a request for help from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which contacted us seeking a permanent home for a recently captured American Black Bear. The bear had been deemed non-releasable due to problematic interactions with humans and was scheduled to be euthanized within a week if a suitable home could not be found. PAWS' co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby agreed to take the bear who would later be named Jack.

Because Jack's need for placement was urgent, Ed and a crew made up of staff and volunteers immediately got to work remodeling a large habitat for him at our Galt sanctuary. The project included building a swimming pool for the bear. Jack, who was estimated to be around seven years old, arrived at PAWS and began to settle into his new home. As is common with so many wild animals forced into captivity, he never seemed completely content or satisfied in his Galt sanctuary home. Pat and Ed dreamed of giving him more room to roam, in a habitat that would provide him more of what he was missing from his former life in the wild. That dream became reality when construction on the Bob Barker Bear Habitat was completed at ARK 2000 in the summer of 2011.

In October, Jack was moved from our Galt sanctuary to his new California foothills home in San Andreas. Jack's two-acre habitat was built in an oak forest - full of grass and natural vegetation, fallen logs, rocks and a custom pool - providing him with opportunities to express natural bear behaviors such as exploration, foraging, digging, and climbing. Jack enjoys the natural foods available to him which vary with the seasons. When acorns are plentiful he shakes the oak trees to make the tasty nuts fall down to the ground where they are eagerly devoured. In early spring, when the tender green grass sprouts, Jack grazes to his heart's content. (Yes, bears eat grass!)

In addition to the abundant, naturally-available foods in his habitat, PAWS' dedicated staff of animal caregivers also provide Jack with a variety of protein, vegetables, and fruits each day. Part of his diet is cleverly hidden in multiple locations throughout the spacious enclosure so he can use his keen sense of smell to forage and find these hidden treats.

On hot summer days Jack, like all the bears living at ARK 2000, swims and splashes in his pool. After a satisfying swim in the cool water he can usually be found napping on a thick bed of leaves in the shade of a large oak tree. At night Jack can choose to sleep indoors in his cozy den or remain outside under the stars.

Jack's neighbors at ARK 2000 are Boo Boo and Winston (read about them here), two rescued, captive-born male black bears purchased as babies by individuals who tried to keep them as pets.

Human-wildlife conflicts frequently end in the death of an animal. Fortunately, Jack's life was spared. Unfortunately, he will never again be able to roam freely in the wild where he belongs. The best we can do is to provide him with as much of a natural life as is possible in captivity.

You make our work of providing a better life for Jack and all our rescued and retired wild animals possible. Thank you.


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Thank you July Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

Carole Bognar: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Patricia L Connelly: three boxes of Nitrile gloves (S,M,L). Laury Falter: three 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium; three 20 lb. tubs of Psyllium; three gallons of Optima 365; three 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat; three gallons of Chlorhexidine solution; three bottles of CosequinDS 132#; two bags of 10 lb. Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat; three bottles of AminAvast 60#; three bottles of Azodyl 90#. Lisa Mabie: one box Nitrile gloves (L). William Fedun: one box of Nitrile gloves; one case of unsalted, in-shell peanuts; one case of popcorn kernels. Agostino Ippolito: one case of unsalted, in-shell peanuts. Alyson Rossi: two gallons Chlorhexidine solution; two bottles of 32 oz. wheat germ oil.Peggy Buckner: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. A.D.S.: one case of unsalted/in-shell peanuts. Michele Smith: one tub of 5 lb. Psyllium; one bottle CosequinDS 132#. James C. Cooper: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors:one scoop shovel, three gallons of Red Cell, one quart of Red Cell, one metal rake, two 24" Libman push brooms, one box of Nitrile gloves (S), one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. 



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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