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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 »




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Registration is now open!

PAWS 2018 International

Captive Wildlife Conference

Register now for PAWS' 2018 International Captive Wildlife Conference, Nov. 9-11, at the Pickwick Gardens Conference Center in Burbank, California, with the theme of "Confronting Captivity." This three-day conference will address the confinement and use of wild animals, and features outstanding speakers from the fields of scientific research, conservation, law, and animal protection, care and policy.
PAWS has been presenting outstanding conferences since 1992, attracting speakers and attendees from around the world. Our aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion, and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife. 
Click here for more information and to register.

Individual, business and corporate sponsorship opportunities are available; please send inquiries to PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle at


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Spotlight on African Elephant Toka

You can easily identify African elephant Toka as she navigates the grass-covered hills at ARK 2000, together with Maggie and Lulu. Her long tusks make her stand out from the other elephants. The 48-year-old elephant came to PAWS in October 2013 from the Toronto Zoo, with Thika and Iringa. Iringa was humanely euthanized in July 2015 following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease, the leading reasons for euthanizing elephants in captivity.

Toka was only four years old when she arrived in Toronto – one of seven wild-caught elephants imported from Mozambique in 1974 (she is the only surviving member of the group). She likely was the victim of a cull, meaning that she witnessed the massacre of her protective mother and aunts, before being thrust into a crate and shipped across the world. Toka would spend the next 39 years at the zoo, living in close quarters amid a number of elephants and the ever-shifting alliances between them. She gave birth to a female calf named Toronto, who died at age 10. By 2010 only Toka, Thika and Iringa remained, the Toronto Zoo having lost four elephants in as many years and others before that. After the zoo decided to end its elephant program, the Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants to PAWS.

Today Toka spends her days immersed in nature, foraging throughout the day on grass, trees and other fresh vegetation. She loves being close to friends Lulu and Maggie, as the group moves together throughout their habitat. If there is one thing Toka adores, it’s a good mud bath (click on the photo below to view a video of Toka). She can often be found stomping, splashing and rolling in the mud, which serves to protect her skin from insects and the sun. Toka’s caregivers report that she is relaxed and calm during husbandry care and training, and that bananas send her into a blissful state as she savors this special treat.

Some people think that all elephants get along because they are a social species, but this isn’t always the case. Female elephants naturally would only live with their mothers, daughters, other female family members and their offspring – and not with unrelated elephants. In captivity, elephants are haphazardly brought together. Not only are they not from the same family, they aren’t even from the same locale. Home countries for the African elephants at PAWS include Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa.

At PAWS we let the elephants tell us what social situation works best for them. Their individual life histories generally dictate these choices. For example, an in-depth story by Toronto Life magazine (2010) on the elephants at the zoo reported that “Thika, despite being more than a decade younger than the other two [Toka and Iringa], had taken over as matriarch, and she was using her new-found power to antagonize Toka.” The keepers tried to teach the two to get along by “forcing them to spend time with one another in short ‘compatibility sessions.’”

These days Thika (the only captive born elephant among the Africans) spends her time with long-time PAWS resident Mara. She can often be seen following Mara around like a little sister follows a big sister. Toka is most relaxed with Maggie and Lulu and is never far from them. PAWS’ first priority is always the health and welfare of our animals. By closely monitoring the elephants’ behaviors and honoring their choices, they have the most stress-free and comfortable lives possible – which is how it should be.

You can adopt Toka, or any of the elephants at PAWS, for a year by clicking here. Your adoption provides the animals with a full range of care, including plenty of TLC!


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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.

Taking Action for Performing Wild Animals

In the 1960s and 70s, Pat was best known for her work as an animal trainer on Hollywood film and television productions, including “Gunsmoke”, “Lassie”, “Daktari”, and “Flipper.” She was the trainer for cougars Chauncey and Christopher, who graced the Lincoln Mercury “Sign of the Cat” ad campaign, and were the most recognized advertising symbols in the country at the time. Behind the scenes, Pat witnessed the pervasive neglect and abuse of performing wild animals and decided to take action. She wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, exposing the inhumane treatment and calling for better standards of animal care and handling. The book went on to win an American Library Association Award and was a Book of the Month Club selection. With this bold action, Pat became the first to champion the cause of performing wild animals – and later campaigned for those in circuses and other “entertainment” – and inspired modern animal protection organizations to take up this important cause.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society is Born

Pat met Ed Stewart in 1976, and the two spent the next few years promoting The Lady & Her Tiger with television appearances on the “Today Show”, the “Tonight Show”, “The Merv Griffin Show” and other national media outlets. They also toured extensively, educating people about the serious welfare problems suffered by performing animals. In 1984 Pat and Ed established the Performing Animal Welfare Society to formalize their captive wildlife protection work. Their first effort was to create standards for the care of captive wildlife in California, which they achieved that same year with the enactment of Assembly Bill 1620. They also began investigating, protesting and exposing the abuse of wild animals in circuses. In 1986, Pat and Ed established their first sanctuary in Galt, California, to care for abused and abandoned captive wildlife. Today, under Ed’s leadership, PAWS operates three sanctuaries in California for captive wild and exotic animals, including the 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge in San Andreas that is home to elephants, big cats and bears. It is the only accredited sanctuary in the country to house male elephants.

Leadership in Animal Care and Advocacy

Pat remained an outspoken advocate for captive wild animals until the end. As a recognized expert on the care of captive wildlife, she testified twice before Congress on efforts to end the use of elephants in traveling shows. She also served on several state committees to set standards for the care and handling of captive wildlife, including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director’s Advisory Committee on the Humane Care and Treatment of Wild Animals, a position now filled by Ed.

Pat’s Legacy for the Animals

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 »




Above: Roy takes a dip in "Paula's Pool", named after one of the generous donors who made the pool possible. Thank you to Paula and Kim Eggleston.


PAWS' Tiger Trio Turns 15:

Happy Birthday Roy, Kim and Claire!

It feels like it was just yesterday when tiger siblings Roy (pictured left, being examined by Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM), Kim and Claire – only four months old at the time – arrived at PAWS in June 2003. The small cubs were the product of a roadside zoo’s breeding venture that sold innocent babies into lives of misery as exhibits at disreputable zoos, exotic pets, or photo props in pay-to-play operations.

Today the siblings share a spacious, natural enclosure at the ARK 2000 sanctuary, where we are dedicated to providing them with the best care possible and where their unique personalities can flourish. . .

Roy (above) is relaxed and easy going. He enjoys napping in the soft, green grass, with his sisters close by. Weighing more than 500 pounds, and standing over four feet tall at his shoulder, Roy is the largest tiger PAWS has ever rescued.

Kim (abofve) may be the smallest of the siblings, but she is the most outgoing and eagerly explores their habitat.

Claire (above) is the cautious one. She stays close to Roy, and the two tigers can often be seen lounging in the grass together.

Won’t you commemorate this special birthday by making a $15 donation todayone for each year of Roy, Kim and Claire’s lives — or $45 for all three?

It costs $30,000 a month to feed and furnish round-the-clock care for our 17 tigers and other big cats.

Your donation ensures that Roy, Kim and Claire continue to thrive in a safe haven, immersed in nature, where they can engage in natural behaviors.

Click here to make a special birthday donation of $15 or more for Roy, Kim and Claire. You can also make a monthly donation to provide year-round care for the tigers at PAWS and support the rescue of more captive tigers in need.

To adopt Roy, Kim or Claire (or all three!) for one year,click here.

Thank you!

Read more about Roy and the specialized care provided to him by PAWS' veterinary team during a health challenge in 2017.


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How You Can Help PAWS Animals

PAWS provides lifetime care to the tigers, bears, elephants, and other animals that call our sanctuaries home. As animals age, their needs change and they may develop arthritis, kidney disease, and other conditions that are readily treatable with proper care. PAWS expert animal care and veterinary staff provide specialized nutritional and medical support, tailored to the individual needs of each animal. Your generous donations make this excellent care possible. Donate


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Thank you June Amazon

"Wish List" Donors

Valerie M. Smith: one qt., one gal. Red Cell. Patricia D. Adler Cartozian: one Renal Essentials, 60#; one 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Cristen Esquibel: two EicosaDerm, 8 fl. oz. Cara L. Gregorio: one gal. Red Cell; one 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Sammarye Lewis: one gal. Red Cell. Yanina: one Renal Essentials, 60#; one 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Carole Bognar: one 32 oz. EicosaDerm. Cindy Guillett Beytin: one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium. Nancy Gordon: two sets of Motorola radios. Marisa Landsberg: one 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Linda Khym: two 32 oz. EicosaDerm. Nathan W: one bottle Azodyl, 90#. Shannon Russell: one gallon Red Cell; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#; two 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Stirling Fraser: one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#; one 8 oz. EicosaDerm. Anonymous Donors: one EicosaDerm, 32 fl. oz.; two 10 lb. tubs Psyllium; one qt. Red Cell; one bottle AminiVast, 60#; 10 bottles Emcelle Tocopherol.



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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