JULY 20, 2011


Gypsy and Wanda:

Dining Among the Reeds


For the past few weeks, Gypsy and Wanda have been wandering over to a reed patch left behind from a pond flooded by winter rains. Each time they seemed to be checking to see if the reeds were ripe enough for eating, much like a gourmet chef testing a dish for seasoning.


One morning last week, the two portly pachyderms left the barn and it was obvious they were on a mission! They moved quickly to the reed patch and began a hilarious non-stop eating contest which Gypsy won.


Wanda declared "ENOUGH, I must watch my figure" and began dusting as Wanda tore and chewed her way through the reeds. (Watch a video of the pair below.)


Gypsy's noisy repast lasted for hours until the exhausted pair returned to the barn for a welcome rest.


Asian Elephants: Gypsy & Wanda
Asian Elephants: Gypsy & Wanda "Eating Reeds"


Nicholas, the Extrovert,
Will Nap Anywhere


Nicholas, our young and playful bull elephant, will nap anywhere after a day of swimming and pushing stumps into his pond. A pile of fresh dirt was too enticing to ignore as he lowered his great hulk onto the soft earth and immediately fell asleep against a fence at the far corner of his habitat. Not even trucks and heavy equipment passing by could disturb his slumber.


Nicholas: Swimming With Tree Stump
Nicholas: Swimming With Tree Stump
Waiting For Prince


The third Bob Barker Bull Barn is complete and we are preparing for the arrival of bull elephant, Prince, who will be the third bull to occupy ARK 2000's Bull Mountain and the spacious bull elephant habitat. The barns were funded by incredibly generous donations from Bob Barker and his DJ&T Foundation, and another great friend to PAWS, Patty Shenker.


Another very generous donation from an anonymous donor was used to augment donations from hundreds of Bucks For Bulls supporters who contributed dollars for fencing to complete the thousands of feet of fencing necessary to give the three bulls space to roam.


With initial construction complete, our skilled elephant staff, led by elephant supervisor Brian Busta, and our elephant consultant, Margaret Whittaker from Active Environments, began a game of "musical elephants" to prepare for the arrival of Prince.


Last week, Brian and Margaret, assisted by Ed Stewart and Pat Derby, moved Nicholas to the new bull barn which adjoins his habitat. Nicholas, who loves any new adventure, was thrilled with his new digs and adapted immediately.


Pat, Ed and Margaret watched with great amusement as Nicholas rolled in his new dirt stall and fell asleep!


Dirt, for all elephants, is the best enrichment, and no elephant should live without fresh supplies of this miracle ingredient for maximum elephant fun. The night keepers reported that the party continued throughout the night, as Nicholas moved from the barn to his habitat and back to the dirt stall where he finally laid down for a few hours rest.


The next step involved moving Sabu to Nicholas' former barn. Since Sabu is much more timid and hesitant about new situations, everyone expected to spend a few days slowly coaxing him into the new territory. To the delight and amazement of all involved, Sabu followed Pat, Ed and Margaret and a trail of bananas, past his pool and into Nicholas' barn with little hesitation.


Once inside the barn, Sabu explored every inch of space, smelling and testing the unmistakable odor of another male. We wondered if Sabu recognized family in his half brother, Nicholas.


Like Nicholas, Sabu thoroughly enjoyed the transition to a new barn, covering Margaret, Pat and Ed with the enticing substance as he dug his massive tusks into the magic elixir and showered his great hulk with clouds of wonderful DIRT!


Prince will arrive soon to join Nicholas and Sabu on top of Bull Mountain and will occupy the barn where Sabu has been living.


Thank you Bob Barker and the DJ&T Foundation, Patty Shenker and all of our Bucks For Bulls donors. If you would like to know more about our "Bucks For Bulls" campaign, click here .



Musical Elephants I: Moving Sabu to a New Barn
Musical Elephants I: Moving Sabu to a New Barn
Musical Elephants II: Moving Nicholas to a New Barn
Musical Elephants II: Moving Nicholas to a New Barn
NICHOLAS: New Barn. Fresh Dirt.
NICHOLAS: New Barn. Fresh Dirt.


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In Memoriam 



Bengal Tiger




Erica was one of the most beautiful, and one of the largest, of the Colton tigers  who arrived at ARK 2000 in 2004. She was in Ravi and Ray Charles' group, the first eight tigers to arrive.


Erica has enjoyed good health and the company of Ravi, Ray, Amelia and Sunita for the past seven years in their spacious, grassy habitat, until her health began to decline this past month. An examination by PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, revealed kidney failure and other complications related to advanced age.


Our dedicated tiger keepers were carefully monitoring her condition, and the night keeper, Kayla, noticed a change in her breathing around 8:30 Saturday evening. Kayla immediately alerted PAWS' directors Pat Derby and Ed Stewart and Dr. Gai, who traveled back to San Andreas with her veterinary technician Tammy.


Pat, Ed, Dr. Gai and her assistant were joined by elephant supervisor, Brian Busta, and 

elephant consultant, Margaret Whittaker, who came to assist Dr. Gai and the devoted tiger keepers. Tiger supervisor Renae Smith also returned to ARK 2000 to be with Erica.


The dedication of PAWS' incredible staff and their devotion to the animals in their care is a striking example of the sanctuary philosophy. Sadly, there was little that could be done for Erica who was in renal failure. Erica was euthanized at 11:30 p.m. that evening with Dr. Gai and the PAWS' crew beside her.

Thank you to Kayla, tiger keeper, whose quick action and good judgment allowed us to provide Erica with the best of care in her final hours, and to Dr. Gai, Tammy, Margaret, Renae and all the tiger keepers who loved and cared for Erica. Happily, Erica enjoyed many years of peace and dignity with her tiger companions at ARK 2000.


Rest in peace, beautiful Erica. 


Pat Derby 








On the day construction was set to start on a new sprinkling system for the African elephant habitat, we were worried about how the elephants would react to all the noise and activity. This video shows Lulu's reaction.


Lulu: What Construction?

Lulu: What Construction?


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