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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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Early giving has started. . .

Donations matched to $52,500!


At PAWS #GivingTuesday

Is All About Elephants!

Did you know that it costs more than $44,000 each month to feed and care for the seven rescued and retired elephants at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary? That’s why we're asking you to give BIG for #GivingTuesday on November 28th. Help us meet our goal of raising $88,000 (or more!) by making a generous donation today.

Double Your Donation! Thanks to generous friends of PAWS, all #GivingTuesday contributions will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $52,500! Your donation will go twice as far for the elephants!

#GivingTuesday starts at 12:01 a.m. on November 28th and ends at 11:59 p.m. but you can make your contribution now! Donations made between November 14th and November 28th count towards our #GivingTuesday total and will be added to the leader board on the day of the event.

Two Ways to Give: Click here to donate, which takes you to PAWS' #GivingTuesday site on Mightycause, or call PAWS' office at 209-745-2606, Mon.-Fri., between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (Pacific Time) to charge your donation. Be sure to tell our staff that your donation is for #GivingTuesday.

Thank you from everyone at PAWS!

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2023 Is the Year of the Bear!

At PAWS, we care for bears every day. (One of our bears, Ben, is pictured above.) Bears get far less notice than exotic animals like elephants and tigers – although once you learn more about bears, they’re just as fascinating.

As part of our Year of the Bear campaign, PAWS is drawing attention to an animal that deserves more of our respect and protection in the wild and in captivity. Each month in our newsletter we will provide interesting and sometimes little-known facts about bears – their intelligence, agility, and complex behaviors.

Read our 2023 newsletters here.

Take the Pledge for Bears!

Captive bears are overlooked animals – and they suffer more than you know. YOU can make a difference!

Click here to learn more, sign our petition, and take the pledge for bears!

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Celebrating Tigers Rosemary and Morris

Tigers Morris and Rosemary (pictured above) turned 11 years old this year. The two were rescued from a defunct roadside zoo that exploited big cats for profit, selling cruel cub petting sessions and photo ops to the public. They arrived at PAWS in 2017, part of the “Colorado Eight” group of tigers. The siblings (who are spayed and neutered) share a spacious habitat at ARK 2000 filled with trees and native vegetation – yet they couldn’t be more different.

Rosemary is our smallest tiger – with a big personality. Her caregivers describe her as energetic and playful, and report that she loves to spend time in her pool. She also has a knack for annoying her brother.

Morris, on the other hand, is very mellow and laid back, preferring to spend his days lounging in the sun or playing with his large enrichment ball. He is also inquisitive, quietly watching the comings and goings of PAWS staff.

Despite their differences, Rosemary and Morris are very fond of one another. We are proud to provide a lifetime home and loving care for these two special tigers.


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You Can Help Captive Tigers!

By far, the largest number of animals rescued by PAWS are tigers – making them one of the animals most desperately in need of your help. We have rescued tigers from cub petting operations, circuses, roadside zoos, and private owners.

Caring for tigers is expensive. It costs $20,000 to care for one healthy tiger for a year – about $400 a week per big cat. That’s why we need your help.

Your donation to PAWS works in two important ways:

You provide rescued tigers with large habitats filled with trees, grass, pools, and native vegetation. Our expert staff provides daily care, veterinary attention, nutritious food, and 24/7 monitoring.

You support PAWS’ efforts to end the exploitation of tigers for entertainment. Click here to learn more.


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Attention Gunsmoke Fans:

Ongoing Amanda Blake ("Miss Kitty")

Sale to Benefit PAWS

Following the closing of PAWS' Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge (see article in our January 2023 newsletter here), we began selling items from Amanda's estate, as well as the museum, on eBay. New treasures were listed weekly. We paused the auction for the last half of 2023, but will once again begin listing items from her estate in 2024.

Amanda Blake played "Miss Kitty" on the popular TV series Gunsmoke that ran from 1955-1975, though we knew her best as a cherished friend. The series and Miss Kitty have continued to find new fans through re-runs on regular and cable television.

Starting on January 7, 2024, you can once again click here to view the items currently up for bid on PAWS' eBay site. All proceeds go to the care of the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary. Thank you Amanda!


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PAWS Co-Founder Pat Derby:

Remembering a Legendary Figure for Captive Wildlife

On February 15, 2013, we mourned the passing of Pat Derby, who co-founded PAWS with partner and PAWS President Ed Stewart. Pat truly was legendary, known for her ferocity in the battle against animal abusers and her relentless drive to end the exploitation of captive wild animals used for entertainment – whether in circuses, film and TV, the exotic “pet” trade, or zoos.

Pat’s early career as a well-known Hollywood animal trainer planted the seeds for her later rescue and advocacy work. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wildlife used for film, TV and advertising, Pat wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976). For the first time, the public got an inside look at a shocking world they never even knew existed. This launched her life’s work to educate the public about the suffering of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to fully realize that vision.

PAWS continues this important work under Ed’s able leadership, always working harder and reaching higher in order to change the world for captive wildlife. While she may not have considered herself to be a legend, no one who met Pat could ever forget her and her great passion for animals. She left an indelible mark on the world and our hearts – and she will never be forgotten.


At PAWS ARK 2000 Sanctuary 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 »



African elephants Mara (left) and Thika use their trunks to grab leaves high up in trees. Thika uses the fence to increase her reach.

The Powerful, Multi-Use

Elephant Trunk

Caring for our seven Asian and African elephants – Lulu, Toka, Gypsy, Thika, Mara, Prince, and Nicholas – we are reminded of just how amazing these animals are. We see the evidence of it each and every day, including when it comes to the wonder that is the elephant’s trunk.

Elephants use their powerful trunks – the fusion of the elephant’s upper lip and nose – for everything from drinking water, foraging, bathing, smelling, exploring, tossing dust and mud onto their bodies, picking up and manipulating objects, blowing objects away or sniffing them in, signaling aggression, producing sounds, tactile contact with other elephants, and other behaviors.

At the ARK 2000 sanctuary, we have witnessed the incredible physical strength of an elephant, who can pull down huge tree limbs and move them around with ease (we’re thinking about you, Mara!). That’s no surprise when you consider that an elephant’s trunk is capable of lifting over 700 pounds.

The trunk itself can weigh up to 300 pounds, and its musculature makes it extraordinarily flexible. There are eight major muscles on either side of the trunk (which does not have bones), and one central muscle between nasal passages. However, there are about 150,000 fascicles (bundles of muscle fibers surrounded by connective tissue) that work together with the major muscles and give the trunk its great flexibility.

One of the differences between Asian and African elephants – which are two different species – is the number of “fingers” at the end of the trunk. These fingers allow for great dexterity.

Asian elephants have one “finger” that can be used to curl around and scoop up food, whereas African elephants have “two fingers” that allow them to firmly grasp items such as blades of grass. The skin of the trunk tip actually differs from that of the surrounding skin, with a high density of nerve endings, making it very sensitive.

Elephant trunks also have numerous whiskers, with the most found near the sensitive tip. Elephant whiskers do not actually “whisk” (quickly and repeatedly sweep back and forth) like a rat, nor are they as exquisitely sensitive. The flexibility of the trunk allows the whiskers to do their job of providing sensory input, although their role is more for sensing coarse tactile stimuli.

The trunk gives elephants great reach. We often see the elephants at PAWS extend their trunks high up into the trees in their habitats to grab leaves or acorns. Elephants can extend their trunks quite far – about six to 6.5 feet or even longer. That’s why we always take serious precautions around our elephants in order to protect caregivers.

Water is essential for an elephant – for drinking and bathing – which is why our elephants always have access to fresh water. Elephants drink water by sucking it into their trunk and spraying it into the mouth. Researchers found that an elephant can suck up three liters of water per second – a speed 30 times faster than a human sneeze. They also can dilate their nostrils to create more space in their trunks and hold up to 5.5 liters of water.

The trunk’s multifaceted use and flexibility are truly a wonder and part of what makes elephants such interesting and exceptional animals.

Do you have a question about elephants, tigers, or bears? Send it to us and we may write a newsletter item based on your question. Send your questions to PAWS Director of Science, Research and Public Policy Catherine Doyle at

Article references include: The functional anatomy of elephant trunk whiskers, Deiringer et al. (2023); Suction feeding by elephants, Schulz et al. (2021); Frequently Asked Questions About Elephants, Shoshani & Foley (2000).

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Lulu Turns 57!

Earlier this year PAWS held a special celebration for African elephant Lulu’s 57th birthday. She is the oldest African elephant in North America. The event was held at the ARK 2000 sanctuary and attended by a small group of local volunteers, board members, and PAWS staff.

Of course, there was cake! Lulu was presented with a healthy, specially made cake (pictured) containing bran and flour, apple sauce, fruit, vegetables, and a drizzle of molasses. Not to be left out, Lulu’s companion, Toka, also received a cake.

Lulu arrived at PAWS in March 2005 from the San Francisco Zoo. She originally had come from Africa as a two-year-old calf. When Lulu first came to PAWS, her behavior reflected the trauma she had experienced in her life, from capture in the wild to living alongside an overly dominant elephant at the zoo. Whenever she saw the sanctuary's other elephants, she would drop to the ground and crawl on her knees.

PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, worked intensively with Lulu. She helped build her confidence and made her feel safe. Since that time, Lulu has socialized with many other elephants and today spends her days in the company of Toka.

Lulu's age is exceptional for an African elephant in captivity. The stresses and unnatural conditions of their confinement mean that elephants tend to live much shorter lives in captivity than in the wild.

During the birthday event, PAWS presented a $20,000 check to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE), in Lulu’s name. The Trust’s work includes the longest-running study of wild elephants ever undertaken, documenting the lives of more than 3,500 elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. PAWS’ donation will support ATE’s important work to ensure the long-term conservation of African elephants.

All of us at PAWS are honored to care for this very special elephant, who has found a more natural and truly peaceful life at the ARK 2000 sanctuary.


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Have You Taken the Pledge

to Help Elephants?

PAWS has launched a new campaign called Take the Pledge! to bring attention to the use of elephants for tourism and elephant “encounters” overseas and in the U.S. The only way to stop this form of exploitation is through education and by decreasing demand for these attractions. Read more about PAWS' "Take the Pledge" campaign here.


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Thank you Amazon "Wish List" Donors

OCTOBER - Cindy Klein Anderson: one Floor Cleaning System plus supplies for Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. N. Gordon: two 8 lb. tubs of flax seed. Ellie Bryant: one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. M. Reese (In memory of Mary McDonald: one 8 lb. tub of flax seed. Louis Boitano: one set of Midland Radios. Cindy Wines: one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Marissa and Tim Eng: one 5 lb. tub of Biotin 100. Darlene Murchison: three 3 lb. bags of walnuts; six Probiocin; four 2.5 lb. tubs of Biotin 100. Janice Bartlett: one bottle of EicosaDerm. DeAnna Burke: one 3 lb. bag of walnuts; one 1 lb. bag of blueberries; one 2.5 lb. tub of Biotin 100. Barbara Cross: one 8 lb. tub of flax seed; one 2.5 lb. tub of Biotin 100. Joyce E. Hodel: one set of Midland radios; one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Anonymous Donors: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#; one 8 lb. tub of flax seed.

SEPTEMBER - Aimie Takata: one 3 lb. bag of Brazil nuts; one 2 lb. bag of banana chips. Amanda Walker: one 2 lb. bag of pecans. Beverly Archer: one box of oranges. Becky Kirchner: one 5 lb. bag of cashews. Curt Pearlman: two 2 lb. bags of dried blueberries. Deborah Bryant: one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one 3 lb. bag of Brazil nuts; one 2 lb. bag of banana chips; one 2 lb. bag of pecans. Elyse Bayer: one 2.5 lb. tub of Biotin powder. Kristen R. Urguhart: one 2 lb. bag of banana chips; one 2 lb. bag of pecans. Lynn Pechet Bruser: one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Nancy Gordon: two 2.5 lb. tubs of Biotin powder. Wendy Herbold: one 2 lb. bag of banana chips; one 2 lb. bag of pecans; one 1 lb. bag of dried blueberries. Susan Rendina: one 3 lb. bag of Brazil nuts. Lynn Taylor: one 3 lb. bag of Brazil nuts. Anonymous Donors: three 20 lb. boxes of oranges.






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

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

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