Performing Animal Welfare SocietyAUGUST 30, 2011

 Victory For Captive Elephants!


The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) board of directors has approved new standards that will maximize occupational safety of elephant care professionals at AZA-accredited and AZA-certified facilities. The recent release of this new policy by AZA is a giant first step toward maximizing the physical and psychological health of the elephants as well.


The new policy states: "As soon as possible, and no later than September 1, 2014, elephant care providers at AZA facilities with elephants shall not share the same unrestricted space with elephants. . . and by September 1, 2013. . . train their elephant care professionals to manage and care for elephants with barriers and/or restraints in place that provide employee safety."


The archaic management of elephants by zoos that have been using the Free Contact system, has been the focus of controversy between AZA and animal welfare organizations, as well as many zoo professionals who advocate the use of Protected Contact management, a safer and kinder approach to elephant management.


Free Contact allows elephant keepers and handlers to share the same space with the elephant while using the cruel weapon known as the bullhook, the ankus, or the "guide", to control the animal and to protect the handler. This system has caused injury and death to keepers and considerable suffering to elephants. Protected Contact requires that keepers work with the animal behind barriers and eliminates the use of any weapon or punishment for the elephant. It is a system that ensures the safety of the keeper and the welfare and comfort of the elephant.


Since PAWS' inception 27 years ago, we have advocated eliminating the use of bullhooks, and other weapons, in the care and handling of all captive elephants. Ed and I have never allowed bullhooks near the elephants in our care, and PAWS' elephants have been managed with no punishment since the arrival of our first elephant, 71, in 1986.


When the Protected Contact program was developed in the early 1990s as an alternative to Free Contact management, Ed and I were elated and became staunch advocates of the new system, urging all AZA facilities to switch. The intransigence of the advocates of Free Contact within AZA facilities has been a constant source of friction between PAWS and many zoos. In the past decade, the collaborative efforts of almost all animal welfare organizations and individual activists too numerous to mention, has informed the public and the media about the cruelty inherent in the use of bullhooks in elephant management.


AZA's decision is a remarkable testament to the efficacy of cooperation among all who strive for better conditions for captive wildlife, particularly elephants. Kudos to AZA for this controversial, but progressive, decision!


Congratulations to Oakland Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Detroit Zoo, North Carolina Zoo and the many other AZA facilities who advocated for this necessary, and long-awaited, step toward enhanced animal welfare and safety for dedicated elephant care professionals.


Pat Derby, PAWS President



Detroit Zoo Honors PAWS Directors








Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director, Ron Kagan (left),

presents Ed Stewart and Pat Derby with the Bärle Award.

On August 6 and 7, PAWS' directors and founders, Ed Stewart and Pat Derby, attended a symposium on zoo animal welfare hosted by the Detroit Zoo and its Center for Zoo Animal Welfare, a resource center for captive animal welfare knowledge, research and best practices. The Center has established two annual animal welfare awards. One, the Bärle Award, named after a female polar bear rescued by the Detroit Zoo from a circus in 2002, recognizes significant advancement of captive exotic animal welfare science, practice or policy. Ed and Pat were surprised and greatly honored to receive this year's Bärle from one of the most progressive zoos in the country. To learn more about the Center for Zoo Animal Welfare, click here.


The Detroit symposium, entitled "From Good Care to Great Welfare", featured speakers from zoos, AZA, universities and animal welfare organizations dedicated to ensuring that "captive animals are provided with a full range of opportunities, choices and control." The speakers, papers and panels contributed important information on zoo animal welfare, and

provided attendees with a forum for discussion and dialogue on captive animal welfare.


While in Detroit, Pat and Ed had the opportunity to share stories of Wanda, one of the Asian elephants at ARK 2000, who is the mischievous, delightful darling of our Asian group. Wanda arrived on April 8, 2005, from the Detroit Zoo after director Ron Kagan made the unprecedented decision to send her to a warmer climate. Her beloved ex-keepers and docents from the zoo make frequent visits to see her and are always eager to hear of her latest adventures with BFF Gypsy.


To learn more about Wanda and Gypsy, click here.

The Boys Of Summer

Pat Derby reports that Prince (above) is in and out of his pool 6-10 times per day!


Bull Mountain is a beehive of activity these days as heavy equipment rolls in and out constructing another pool. The bulls love the water, and we are seeking matching funds for Bob Barker's generous donation to keep the boys afloat!


Construction continues on

another pool for bull mountain.

Nicholas, who loves all activity, stands at the fence and sometimes follows the trucks; Prince alternates trips down the hill, with almost hourly dips in his pool which was formerly used by Sabu. Sabu now occupies the barn where Nicholas used to live; Nicholas has been moved to the new bull barn where he still has access to his big pond. Sabu is now without a pool until his new one is completed.


Sabu, the biggest of the three bulls is also the most timid, remaining inside his barn during the day, and venturing out late in the afternoon when the trucks are long gone. He seems to be monitoring the progress of the construction, peering over the fence at the big hole which will soon be filled with refreshing water for daily swims. The three bulls have established their own routine, enjoying the warm sun and the cool water.


Life is good on Bull Mountain.


We are hoping to expand the top of the mountain to a larger habitat for Sabu. To donate to our "Bucks for Bulls" campaign for Sabu's fencing project, click here.


Prince: I Love My Pool!
Prince: I Love My Pool!


Oma Will Soon Be Moving To ARK 2000

Oma, our cute little female black bear, who arrived in July of 2003, along with Sampson and Cinnamon, will soon be joining her old friends from Galt at ARK 2000. She is one of the last bears to move from the Galt facility to the new Bob Barker Bear Habitat. Winston and BooBoo, and Sampson and Cinnamon, are enjoying the forest of trees and grass and the beautiful pools in their new habitats. Oma will soon join them.


Across the road from the bears, the Colton tigers bask belly up in the sun, lying on the grass, occasionally stalking one another or an imaginary prey, savouring the life they so richly deserve.


The Bolivia Lions continue to thrive. Camba received a thorough checkup by our veterinarian, Dr. Gai, and a contraceptive implant to stop her cycling which causes mild skirmishes among the boys.



It is very peaceful among the group now, and Dr. Gai reported that Camba is in very good condition, but a bit chubby. What a welcome change from the thin, frightened Camba who confronted Animal Defenders International (ADI) during the rescue of the five lions from the circus in Bolivia.


ADI is responsible for a ban on the use of live animals in circuses in Bolivia, which was enacted into law in June of 2009. A similar ban was enacted in Peru on July 22 of this year, and other countries considering similar moves include the UK, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. ADI is currently asking everyone to sign a petition to end circuses in Brazil. Sign here.


To learn more about ADI and the Bolivia lions circus campaign, click here.


Silent Auction Items Needed

Please Help Us Make Our Silent Auction "Grape!"


Please help us make this year's one and only Elephant Grape Stomp, An Afternoon In Tuskany great, by donating an item for our silent auction. All proceeds from this auction benefit the elephants at ARK 2000.


Tickets are now on sale!

Auction ideas include, but are not limited to: trips to exotic places; B&B getaways; cruises and vacations; animal and environmental art; pet-related gifts; gift cards for restaurants, salons, shopping, etc.; wine; limousine rides; hot air balloon rides, gift baskets, health club memberships, etc. Use your imagination!


This event is our biggest fundraiser for the elephants, and is held each year on the third Saturday in October. This year's event happens October 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is an adults only event featuring wine tasting courtesy of Calaveras County and Amador County wineries, a vegetarian buffet presented by Il Fornaio, silent auction and the crowning of the 2011 Ms./Mr. TUSKany. Tickets are $100 per person and must be purchased in advance.


If you would like to donate an auction item, please contact Kim Gardner at (916) 488-3991 or, or drop off or mail your donation to, Kim Gardner, c/o PAWS, 11435 Simmerhorn Road, Galt, CA 95632. Thank you!


Tickets for the Elephant Grape Stomp: An Afternoon In Tuskany are now on sale. For more information, click here.


The Circus Is Coming To Town

As you all know, PAWS is opposed to the use of live animals in any form of entertainment, particularly in circuses, since the rigors of travel cause unnecessary stress and discomfort to the animals. During the summer, all across the country, in big cities and small towns, traveling shows carry menageries of performing animals.


Although we support circuses which use talented, willing human performers, we hope that animal lovers will avoid patronizing entertainment that exploits live animals and support shows like Circus Vargas, a non-animal circus.


We receive many letters from concerned citizens who ask what they can do to stop the use of live animals in entertainment. Most importantly, SPEAK OUT. Write to your local, state and federal government if an ordinance or legislation is introduced that will alleviate the situation, and support non-animal entertainment.


Animal shows should not go on. The animals thank you!


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P. O. Box 849

Galt, CA 95632