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The recent tragic tiger incident at San Francisco Zoo graphically demonstrates PAWS philosophy that no wild animal should live in a captive setting.  In the wild, tigers have a purpose, they are predators who maintain nature’s balance; they have evolved over millions of years as efficient eradicators of smaller mammals who flee in terror from the prowling tiger.  That is their role in nature.  To assume that placing them in a confined space where they are no longer compelled to hunt and kill for food somehow neutralizes their inherent biological instincts is incredibly naïve.  Captive tigers are sedentary and bored, but single actions from humans can trigger responses that we perceive as unnatural, like stalking and killing prey; however, they are actually normal behaviors that are seldom seen in captive animals.

Captive animals are frequently depicted as ambassadors for their species; indeed, they are victims, often teased and tormented by visitors who consider the animals to be entertainment.  The educational value of displaying an animal in a confined space and an unnatural setting cannot be of any great significance, and conservation is not achieved by captive breeding, so the price the animal pays to entertain the public is unnecessary.

Reports that the tiger may have been teased by her victims makes sense based on information which we have compiled over the years.  When tigers escape from a circus, they are usually found hiding under a vehicle or a building, and there are reports of performing tigers which, after escaping their cages, have stalked and killed their cruel trainers; but the incident in San Francisco is quite inexplicable unless the tiger was enraged.  Another tiger who escaped from an animal compound in Los Angeles a few years ago, was loose in a heavily populated area for some time before she was killed by police.

Surely it is time to reevaluate the archaic practice of keeping wild animals in captivity and focus on the critical need to protect wild species and their habitat.


We have received many calls from the public and the media asking about the height of our fences and the care of our tigers.

5 tigers reside at the Galt sanctuary.  Their enclosures are heavy gauge chain link with chain link tops.  The 30 acre sanctuary is surrounded by an 8 foot high perimeter fence to keep public and other animals outside. We employ round the clock keeping staff whose duties include inspecting all enclosures, locks, gates and the perimeter fence during hourly rounds.

PAWS is not open to the public. We conduct three or four Open Houses a year for donors and members of the public who are interested in the animals and the sanctuary. The events are never longer than three hours and visitors are closely monitored by a team of volunteers who provide information and prevent harassment of the animals.

33 tigers reside at ARK 2000 in a 10 acre area with dens that are completely covered by heavy duty chain link fencing.  The large open habitat is enclosed by an 18 foot wall of heavy duty chain link, and the last three feet of the wall is a specially constructed 45 degree angle overhang. Five keepers care for the animals and make hourly rounds inspecting locks, gates and fences. ARK 2000 is not open to the public except for carefully monitored events which last a few hours.

The tigers at the PAWS sanctuaries were bred in captivity to be sold as pets or performing animals. Many have physical and mental problems due to inbreeding, poor diet, lack of veterinary care and inadequate housing; all of the tigers at the PAWS sanctuaries were seized by regulatory agents before they found refuge at PAWS.

Donate to the Tigers at PAWS


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

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

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