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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 provides 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 — 30 Years of Rescue,

Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy

This is a very special year for PAWS, and we invite you to join us in celebrating our 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, advocacy and education for captive exotic wildlife and performing animals. It is you, our friends and supporters, who have helped realize our great strides on important issues affecting animals, and ensured that the bears, lions, elephants, tigers, eland, Canadian lynx, and many more animals at PAWS continue to live in peace. With your help we will continue to accept animals in need, including elephants, and provide the refuge and rehabilitation they so desperately need.


Pat Derby and Ed Stewart with baby elephant 71, shortly after her arrival in 1986. "Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71, and all our programs were developed from our experience with her. Without 71, there would be no PAWS." (Pat Derby, 2009)

We look forward to sharing an exciting future with you, as we fulfill our vision of creating a better life for captive wild animals. Our vision includes continuing the process of creating habitats at ARK 2000 for the animals still living at our original sanctuary in Galt, Calif., building a veterinary clinic at ARK 2000, creating an additional facility for female Asian elephants, building additional barn space for African elephants (our 20,000-square-foot African barn is now at capacity), and completing the expansion of Bull Mountain (PAWS is the only sanctuary to take male elephants).

As always, it is you, our supporters, who really make a difference for the animals. For that we are forever grateful.

Please make a donation to PAWS today, as a way to help us celebrate this very special and hopeful 30th anniversary year. Your gift of $30 - one dollar for each year that PAWS has existed - goes directly to caring for the many animals at PAWS, helps educate more people about important animal issues, and ensures our advocacy efforts will be as effective as possible.


PAWS 30th Anniversary Celebration:

Two BIG events!



PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference — Register Today!

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) presents the 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference on Nov. 8-10, in Burbank, Calif. This is a premier global summit that focuses on the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals, especially those used in entertainment. Its aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.

PAWS conferences are highly anticipated events that attract people from around the world and feature exciting speakers who are leaders in their fields, including scientific research, ethics, law, animal care and welfare, and conservation. Register here>>

Day 1 of the conference is devoted to elephants and investigates questions surrounding their captivity and conservation; the war on elephant sanctuaries; the zoo-circus connection; the ethics of keeping elephants in captivity; and Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner discuss their groundbreaking documentary, An Apology to Elephants (tentative). The renowned Dr. Joyce Poole, co-founder of ElephantVoices and a pioneer in the study of elephant behavior and communication is a featured speaker.

Day 2 includes in-depth panels on big cats, marine mammals, and nonhuman primates in entertainment and kept as "pets"; animal law and the protection of wild animals in zoos, circuses, and roadside zoos; new technologies and the use of animals in film and TV; and a presentation by Stephen Wise on the Nonhuman Rights Project. David Hancocks, former zoo director, architect and author, is a featured speaker.

Day 3 delves into campaigns and advocacy for captive wildlife. Leaders representing major animal protection organizations talk about campaigns involving circuses, zoos, and roadside zoos. A special panel features inspiring grassroots leaders discussing how they, as individuals, are leading campaigns that make a difference for captive wild animals.

PAWS has been presenting conferences since 1992, and this year's event is a special one: PAWS is celebrating its 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy for captive exotic and performing animals. To celebrate this important milestone, we will be presenting a special 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday night. We hope you will join us for this exceptional weekend!

Registration, both online and phone-in, is now open.A link to our Conference site has been provided on ourcalendar of events page, along with a program, list of featured speakers and event sponsorship opportunities.



Lights, Cameras,

Celebrities & Auctions:

PAWS' 30th Anniversary Gala

November 8!

PAWS invites you to join us as we celebrate a very special milestone: 30 years of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy. On Saturday, November 8, in Burbank, California, PAWS' friends and supporters from around the world will come together for an extraordinary evening of gourmet vegan food, entertainment, awards and a celebration of the important work of PAWS. Share with us our 30-year journey - and an exciting future - in changing the way the world cares about captive wildlife.

Highlights of this gala event include:

Celebrity Guests! 
Celebrity supporters who will be joining us for this special evening include Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, actress Kristin Bauer van Straten of HBO's "True Blood", actress Jorja Fox of the television show "CSI", actor Ross McCall of HBO's "Band of Brothers", "White Collar" and "24: Live Another Day", actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin and others. (Celebrity guests are subject to change.) You can even sponsor a special table and have a celebrity guest seated with you! Click here for more information. (These tables are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


PAWS' guests will be treated to a special performance by Nathalie Gaulthier's award-winning Le PeTiT CiRqUe, an all-kid humanitarian cirque company that includes pro-level children ages 7-14 who rank among the top in the world in aerial arts, juggling, trapeze, hoops, silks, acrobatics, stilts, skateboards, contortionists and martial arts. Kat Kramer, actress, singer and founder of Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World, will also perform. Read more about our entertainers here>>

A Specially Created Menu!

The Gala evening begins with a reception, followed by a sumptuous vegan buffet dinner. The menu has been created by animal-loving Executive Chef and Culinary Consultant Mary Jane Espiritu-Gerometta, and Master Chef Roberto Gerometta, who are donating their considerable talents to give our guests a singular culinary experience. View the Gala menu here >>


The live auction might just be the highlight of the evening, with many exclusive items donated by wonderful PAWS supporters, including a $10,000 necklace by designer Kimberly McDonald, whose jewelry is worn by celebrities such as Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lopez and Michelle Obama. You can also bid to win a private brunch with Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger and the elephants at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. And there's so much more!

Our silent auction will also offer a range of exciting items - all in support of PAWS' life-saving work for performing and captive wild animals.

Special Program & Presentations!

The evening will include a tribute to PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and an awards presentation. Most important, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about PAWS' and the elephants, tigers, lions, and other exotic animals for whom we care.

All proceeds directly benefit PAWS and the many animals for whom we provide sanctuary and lifetime care. Make plans today to attend. Click here to buy your tickets or for more information about this special event.


August 22, 2014

Above: African elephant Watoto walks out into the Woodland Park Zoo elephant enclosure after getting washed down in the elephant barn. (Photo by Steve Ringman, The Seattle Times, 2012)

Elephant Watoto Dies

At Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo

PAWS was saddened to learn of the death of African elephant Watoto at the Woodland Park Zoo. She was 45 years old. All of us at PAWS extend our most heartfelt condolences to the people of Seattle. Our thoughts are with everyone who cared for and about her.

The Woodland Park Zoo announced earlier this year that it was planning to relocate Watoto. Following the news, many of you asked about the possibility of PAWS offering sanctuary to her. In May PAWS sent a letter inviting the Zoo to visit ARK 2000, our 2300-acre natural habitat sanctuary for captive wildlife. Unfortunately, our invitation was refused (read the Zoo's response below). The Zoo made it very clear that it would only consider another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility.

Hopefully, Watoto's death may serve to help other captive elephants. Seattle Mayor Edward Murray released a statement about her death, concluding: "...I do believe that today's news should reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants."

This is a powerful sign of the changing public attitude toward the confinement of highly intelligent, socially complex and self-aware animals, from orcas in marine parks to elephants in zoo. This dialogue is taking place worldwide and it is a step toward real change.

Read PAWS' letter here. Read the Zoo's response here.


Above: Elephant Tyke, RIP - Honolulu 1994


Moscow International Circus Pledges

To Go Animal Free In Hawaii

No circuses have performed with wild animals at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu since the death of the elephant Tyke 20 years ago this month (August). Tyke is an elephant who performed with Circus International. During a performance at the Center in 1994, Tyke finally could take no more abuse. She killed her trainer, injured her groomer and bolted from the Center, running through the streets for more than 30 minutes before police killed her. It took 86 bullets before Tyke pitifully collapsed and died from her wounds.

Tyke has become emblematic of the tragedy of using wild animals in circuses, so animal advocates were understandably outraged when the Moscow International Circus announced that it was going to use animals once again at the Center (though not elephants). In an outpouring of opposition, nearly 70,000 people contacted the Center, leading the circus to pledge not to use any animals in the upcoming performances.

Tyke's death inspired legislation to protect elephants in traveling shows. PAWS worked closely with Senator Sam Farr on the Captive Elephant Accident Prevention Act that would have banned the use of elephants in traveling shows and for rides. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, testified in Washington in 2000 before a House subcommittee, alongside PAWS friend and supporter Bob Barker in support of the act.

Today, Tyke and Pat continue to inspire all of us at PAWS to continue our legislative and advocacy work and to reach even higher to protect the welfare of performing and captive exotic animals.


"The Ethics of Captivity"

New Book Includes Chapter By PAWS'

Director of Science, Research and Advocacy

PAWS is proud to announce publication of a new book, "The Ethics of Captivity," edited by Lori Gruen, that features a chapter on captive elephants written by our own Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, Catherine Doyle.

Published by the Oxford University Press, the book contains chapters authored by an array of knowledgeable writers, including Lori Marino (captive cetaceans) and Steve Ross (captive nonhuman primates), who, along with Catherine, will be speaking at the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference.

The book is available for purchase at

Read a review of "The Ethics of Captivity" by Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Marc is a speaker at PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference in November.


The Toronto Elephants

Visit our Facebook page for photos and updates on Toronto elephants Iringa, Toka and Thika. You do not need to have a Facebook account to view photos. Click on the Facebook icon under "follow us."

View our latest videos of the Toronto Elephants:

Toka | Climbing Hills, Browsing In Trees; Thika | Fun In

The Mud; Iringa | Exploring The African Habitat


Above: African elephant Thika





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 »



Two Years Later —

Ben the Bear At ARK 2000

Our happiest anniversary wishes to Ben, a hybrid black bear who arrived at ARK 2000 in August 2012. Ben spent six years at Jambbas Ranch Tours in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Despite bears being naturally intelligent, active and inquisitive animals, he was confined in a barren 12' by 22' chain link and cement-floored enclosure with no opportunity to dig, climb or explore, like bears naturally would in the wild.

Ben lived a miserable life. His only source of enrichment was an old bowling ball and some decrepit stumps of wood. The hard and inescapable concrete floor was damaging to his footpads, and confinement in a small enclosure led to Ben spending his waking hours repetitively pacing his cage - a sign of chronic distress.

After a long and hard-fought battle by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and concerned citizens, Ben was rescued from his wretched cage and transferred to ARK 2000. Little did this bear know that he was going to be transported in style! After hearing his story FedEx agreed to fly Ben across the country, dubbing his plane "Bear Force One." His transport team included PAWS' president Ed Stewart, the late wildlife veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, and Carney Anne Nasser, formerly with PETA and who is now working with Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Read more about Ben's new life at PAWS here>>


L-R: Ross McCall, Fernanda Andrade and Ed Stewart


A Special Day At ARK 2000

PAWS was honored to welcome film and television actor Ross McCall, known for his roles in HBO's Band of Brothers, White Collar, Luther, 24: Live Another Day and Crash, and actress Fernanda Andrade (The Devil Inside, Law & Order, NCIS) to ARK 2000 earlier this month. McCall first became aware of PAWS after watching the HBO documentary An Apology To Elephants in which PAWS and our elephants are featured. PAWS' president and co-founder Ed Stewart spent the morning taking the couple on a tour of the sanctuary, introducing them to the animals and sharing their stories. You can follow McCall (and his visit to PAWS) on Twitter. 


Will You March Against Extinction?

Join PAWS In San Francisco

Or Los Angeles On October 4

Make plans now to join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on Saturday, October 4, and help bring global attention to the annihilation of wild elephants and rhinos for the international wildlife trade. Last year marches took place in over 40 cities and more than 15 countries. This year more than 100 cities around the world have marches planned.

PAWS staff and employees will be participating in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles marches. PAWS president and co-founder, Ed Stewart, will be a featured speaker at a rally in United Nation's Square following the San Francisco march; PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, will be speaking at the Los Angeles march.

Poachers kill an estimated 35,000 elephants each year across Africa - just so their tusks can be carved into trinkets and expensive figurines. That's nearly 100 elephants a day, or one every 15 minutes. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are used for traditional medicinal purposes in Asia, even though the horns are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up hair and fingernails. Of the five rhino species, Sumatran and Javan rhinos are closest to extinction with populations numbering 100 or less, and Africa's black rhinos are critically endangered. While Asia's one-horned rhinos and Africa's white rhinos are greater in number, they are still at tremendous risk. Unless urgent action is taken to end the slaughter, elephants and rhinos could disappear during our lifetime.

Please join PAWS in St. Mary's Square Park in San Francisco's Chinatown district no later than 10:15 a.m. (March begins at 10:30), or by 10:45 a.m. at the La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles (March begins at 11). If you can't be at either location, please join a march near you. Click here for a list of cities worldwide where marches are being organized (Consider organizing a march in your city if one is not already planned!) Find information on the San Francisco march here, and the Los Angeles march here.



Urgent! Take Action Today!

Forces in Washington are trying to interfere with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) efforts to control the commercial trade in elephant ivory with the Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014 (S. 2587/H.R. 5052). Despite its benign title, this bill undermines the ability of the FWS to establish regulations that prohibit or restrict the possession, sale or transport of elephant ivory within the U.S., as long as that ivory was lawfully imported. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to distinguish "legal" ivory from ivory that has been illegally imported. This bill could preempt existing and future efforts of state governments to combat ivory trafficking. It's wrong to handcuff the FWS at a time when elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of nearly 100 a day.

What can you do?

Contact your Senator and Representative by email and by phone, and urge them to reject this dangerous bill that threatens the very future of elephants on our planet. To find your Representative and Senator, click here and enter your zip code. Select your senator or a representative (click on the name) and this will take you to their information page. Select "Contact Webform" In the column to the right to send a message. You will also find phone numbers there. Born Free USA provides an informative fact sheet that you can use when creating a message or making a phone call.


Good News For Animals

New Jersey bans the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns: Governor Christie signed into law legislation that makes New Jersey the first U.S. state to prohibit individuals from importing, selling or purchasing any ivory or rhino horn product. The law includes strict penalties for those caught dealing in the black market of this industry.

New York State follows New Jersey, banning the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, with limited exceptions: The bill targets the illegal ivory trade by strengthening criminal and civil penalties for those who buy and sell ivory. New York is known to be a gateway for the illegal wildlife trade in the U.S., which is the second-largest market for ivory behind China.

New York State bans public contact with captive big cats: Fairs, circuses and other exhibitors can no longer allow their customers to come into direct contact with lions, tigers and other big cats through photo or petting sessions, helping to protect both the public and captive big cats. These cruel businesses require a constant influx of cubs to make a profit, creating a cycle of misery as older, unwanted cubs are discarded, only to be replaced by more cubs.

PAWS is proud to have actively supported each of these successful bans that help protect elephants, rhinos and big cats!  



Pat Derby out for a walk with 71. This was her favorite photo.


PAWS Marks The Passing

Of Co-Founder Pat Derby

It's hard to believe that more than a year has passed since the loss of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who was a leader, an inspiration, visionary and dear friend. Pat died on February 15, 2013, after battling throat cancer. Not a day goes by that we don't think about Pat - her great accomplishments, her wisdom and experience, her sense of humor, and her special way with the animals at PAWS.

Following Pat's passing, it was no surprise that she would be recognized internationally for her life's work, and that she would be honored from city halls in Los Angeles and Toronto, to the California State Assembly, to the U.S. Congress, including having a flag flown over the nation's capitol in Washington, D.C., in her honor.

On March 29, 2013, Pat's partner and PAWS' co-founder

Ed Stewart, along with PAWS' staff, long-time friends and celebrities - including Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Tony LaRussa, and Kevin Nealon - gathered together with hundreds of PAWS' supporters at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento. Through tears and laughter, Pat's life and legacy was celebrated. A commemorative DVD of this special evening is available from our giftshop.


Early 1990s at PAWS' sanctuary in Galt, Calif.

Pat with her beloved cougar Christopher, once the star of the "Sign of the Cat" car commercials for Lincoln Mercury. From the time he was a baby he would suck on Pat's thumb and purr.


Pat was the first to champion the cause of performing

wild animals, and she put her heart and soul into their rescue, care and protection. She was full of dreams, but unlike many people, she realized hers with a vengeance! Pat's cherished dream of creating a spacious refuge

where performing animals could express their wild

natures in an enriching, natural habitat became what is now ARK 2000 in San Andreas, Calif. - a thriving

2,300-acre sanctuary where we currently care for

11 elephants, 21 tigers, 3 lions, 7 bears and one black leopard.

Pat fearlessly advocated (below) for captive wildlife and performing animals. Together, she and Ed set the pace

for the legislative work that we continue today. Always

at the forefront, they inspired and passed milestone legislation in California, and stormed the halls in Washington, D.C., bringing the suffering of elephants

in circuses and traveling shows to light with moving testimony before members of Congress.

Firm believers in education, Pat and Ed began presenting conferences intended to bring together disparate factions in the captive wildlife field, in order to understand, learn, and, yes, to disagree - but always with respect and with the goal of advancing the welfare of captive animals. On November 8-10, 2014, in Los Angeles, PAWS will again bring together the best and most progressive minds to discuss the welfare of elephants and other species held

in captivity for human convenience and entertainment.

What was most important to Pat was that PAWS

continues to thrive and to grow, and to help even more captive wildlife in need through rescue, education and advocacy. And we have. In 2013, PAWS did Pat proud, achieving landmark victories, like the ban on bullhooks in Los Angeles, welcoming three African elephants from Canada to ARK 2000, and helping to educate the public through our appearances in the media, including the acclaimed HBO documentary, An Apology To Elephants, narrated by PAWS' friend Lily Tomlin who won an Emmy Award for work (below with PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart).

In this, PAWS' 30th year of work for captive wild animals and those still performing and held in intolerable conditions, we will strive for even greater achievements and to inspire compassion and change.

All the while, we will feel Pat's presence with us - her determination, her fire, her fearless nature - urging

us to reach even higher than before, because the

animals need us, and they need you, our dedicated supporters, to stand up for them and to be their voice.

Together we are changing their world.


Thank You August "Wish List" Donors!

Lori Swenson: 1 Black and Decker electric trimmer for the Galt sanctuary. Nancy Gordon: 6 mesh safari hats - sun protection for PAWS keepers. Linda McNall: 1 bottle, CosequinDS 250#, 1 bottle RenAvast. Jack Butler: 1 box nitrile gloves, small; 1 box nitrile gloves, medium. Natalie U. Gray: 1 box Frosted Flakes for the elephants, 1 box nitrile gloves, small. Anonymous: 1 40 lb. box of oranges.


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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