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Leaving a Legacy, PAWS’ Beloved Elephant Passes Away

(San Andreas, CA)  71, one of PAWS’ cherished African elephants, peacefully passed away this weekend.  Her PAWS family was with her.  She was 26 years old.

71 was born in Africa and shipped to the United States after her mother was killed in a cull. Assigned and tagged #71, and slated to be sold as a baby circus elephant, she and a few others in the group ended up being purchased by a man in Florida who owned a large estate. Without her mother’s care she was malnourished, chronically sick and nearly died.  In an attempt to save her young life, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, founders of PAWS, offered to give her sanctuary. 

“71 was the cornerstone of PAWS.  She was the reason for everything that guides PAWS’ founding mission.  She leaves a legacy for the other African elephants, Mara, Ruby, Lulu and Maggie, whom she led.  ARK 2000 was truly hers,” Pat Derby said.

When 71 first arrived at PAWS her veterinarian said she would never be a healthy elephant.  But Pat and Ed committed themselves to giving her a chance. They slept with her for months, and bottle fed her until she was strong enough to eat on her own.  They gave her love and encouragement.  They gave her a family. 

“When 71 first arrived and walked out of her crate,” Derby recalls, “we immediately cut the chains from around her neck.  We promised her right then she would never again be chained.  She would never be beaten.  She would never have to do anything she didn’t want to do.  We kept that promise to her.”

Captivity, and the practice of capturing elephants—tearing them away from their families, forcing them to live in confined spaces, often cruelly trained—is ultimately what destroys them.

“I hope everyone who hears 71’s story will remember her when they see elephants languishing in small spaces, rocking and swaying, deprived of their freedom and their families,” Derby said.

A necropsy will be performed this week.

Please see 71's photo gallery HERE »


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

(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax

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