OCTOBER 31, 2011



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Toronto Zoo Elephants Will Be Coming To PAWS!


Late in the evening on Tuesday, Oct. 25, Ed and I learned the Toronto City Council had voted 31-4 (view story here) to send their three African elephants, Toka, Thika and Iringa, to ARK 2000, where we have the space and three other well socialized African elephants for companions.


The news was both exciting and sobering at first. Moving any animal, even a short distance, is challenging; moving an elephant is daunting. But we are prepared to use the same caution and careful planning that made all of our previous elephant moves successful, including Maggie from Alaska Zoo, Mara from San Jose Zoo, Lulu from San Francisco Zoo, Wanda and Winky from Detroit Zoo, and Ruby from Los Angeles Zoo.


November 2, 2011, marks the fourth anniversary of the famous airlift of Maggie, one of PAWS three African elephants, who was flown from Anchorage, Alaska, by the United States Air Force to her new home at ARK 2000. That was certainly one of the most harrowing moves in our experience, but all went well, and Maggie is enjoying the California sunshine with her African elephant buddies, Mara and Lulu.


The reaction of the Toronto zookeepers to the news has been disheartening and disappointing to all of us. We are once again insulted by misrepresentation from individuals who have never seen our facility or even bothered to read about us. Disparaging comments that we do not have experienced staff, don't perform foot care, trunk washes and blood draws are not only false, they are unnecessary and inflammatory.


We treasure the relationships we have developed with the former keepers of Lulu, Maggie, Wanda, Mara and even the former circus elephants. These relationships are critical to the safe relocation of the elephants and their future welfare, and we strive to develop a rapport with everyone who is involved and who obviously cares deeply about their elephants. This may be difficult in Toronto.


We are, as always, committed to the welfare of the elephants and to ensuring their safety and peaceful retirement. We hope the acrimony which has been expressed so violently will subside and we can all begin to plan a happy ending for these three elephants. At present, we are facing a very scary beginning.


Ed Stewart, and our veterinarian, Dr. Gai, will be traveling to Toronto in the very near future, to begin making arrangements for the transfer of the three elephants.


We look forward to welcoming these beautiful girls to live with Maggie, Mara and Lulu, as soon as plans are finalized for their safe transport.


Pat Derby
View latest news report, here 



Happy 4th Anniversary, Maggie!


On November 2, 2007, Maggie, an African elephant from Alaska Zoo, arrived at ARK 2000. Maggie made the trip aboard a United States Air Force C17 cargo plane. She was accompanied by Alaska Zoo Director, Pat Lampi, and some of her favorite keepers, as well as PAWS cofounder Ed Stewart, Margaret Whittaker from Active Environments, and PAWS veterinarian, Dr. Mel Richardson. Throughout the trip, Maggie behaved like a seasoned traveler.


One of Maggie's former keepers in Alaska, Michelle Harvey, who had moved to California and was now working at ARK 2000, was on hand to welcome her, along with PAWS cofounder, Pat Derby, the rest of ARK's elephant team, and a crowd of media. Maggie accepted the attention with the grace and dignity of a princess.


After a few weeks of adjusting to the physical activity involved in navigating the large habitat, Maggie joined our other African elephants, and instantly became the darling of the group, vocalizing and accepting the attention with obvious delight and enthusiasm. She still maintains the special status, adored by elephants and keepers, and was recently crowned "Ms. TUSKany", for the second time, at this year's Elephant Grape Stomp.


Happy anniversary Maggie! We love you.


Maggie's Migration to PAWS
Maggie's Migration to PAWS


Lulu's good friends, and her former keepers from the San Francisco Zoo,
stopped by for a visit earlier this month. Pictured with Pat Derby are
Ingrid (standing behind Pat Derby), Jim and Julie.





Don't miss

Pat's latest blogs!


October 19

"Catastrophe In Ohio"

Pat discusses how the tragedy in Ohio is just the tip of the iceberg.


October 18

"Elephant Grape Stomp"

Pat talks about when she first discovered an elephant's love of "anything grape."


To read Pat's blogs, click here.



A message

from Pat Derby


One dangerous lesson learned from the Ohio Exotic Animal Farm tragedy last week, was how vulnerable a community can be when chaos is unleashed.


To expect our first responders to be able to deal with dangerous wild animals at large is not only naive, but puts an unnecessary burden on their already overworked, and under-budgeted public safety departments.


Traveling shows come to our towns and park their transport cages and trailers in areas of close proximity to schools, shopping centers, churches and community parks.


We must ask ourselves: How realistic is it to expect these traveling shows to conduct regular psychological evaluations on each of their animal handlers and workers who have access to locks, cages and chains?


The PAWS sanctuary houses a number of animals whose former owners were involved in criminal activities.













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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606

E-mail: info@pawsweb.org


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Show Biz Is

No Biz For Animals!



"We should have realized by now that the animals in the circus are not ambassadors for their species, but rather sideshow victims in an industry that probably doesn't need them anyway. This is a common sense issue more than an animal rights issue." California Senator Dan McCorquodale made this statement more than 15 years ago.


"I hated circuses. . . I hated the way their keepers and trainers treated the elephants - the other animals too, but the elephants most of all. Elephants bring out a fury in many men as no other creature does; a rage to dominate and to hurt." I made this statement in 1976 in my book, "The Lady & Her Tiger."


"Circuses have a limited ability to make improvements, such as increased space, environmental enrichment and appropriate social housing. . . We conclude that the species of non-domesticated animals currently kept in circuses appear the least suited to a circus life." This was a conclusion reached in a study conducted at the University of Bristol, School of Biological Sciences, UK, in 2009.


"The idea that it is funny to see wild animals coerced into acting like clumsy humans, or thrilling to see powerful beasts reduced to cringing cowards by a whip-cracking trainer is primitive and medieval." From Desmond Morris, former Director of London Zoo and noted animal behaviorist.


PAWS has been studying circuses for more than 25 years, tracking the smaller mud shows like King Royal Circus run by the Davenport family to the bigger, more lavish productions. We have documented the painful and inhumane conditions in which the animals are forced to travel and to live. Ed and I have appeared on numerous national television shows and documentaries with data regarding the constant suffering of animals who are forced to perform in circuses.


PAWS and Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) introduced a bill to ban elephants from traveling shows and elephant rides during the 1999 federal legislative session. The bill was defeated by the powerful circus lobby, and, surprisingly, the American Association of Zoos, although Dr. Parrott from Oakland Zoo testified in support of the bill. Many other zoo directors also supported the federal legislation.


Since that time, many circuses have eliminated animal acts and every animal welfare organization in the country has campaigned against the use of live animals in the circus.





At ARK 2000, some of the animals we filmed in circuses 20 years ago have finally found a peaceful retirement. Sadly, some of the animals which we struggled to save did not find peace, and some are still living in horrendous conditions.


Isn't it time to stop the show?


A list of progressive countries around the world that have already taken action to ban wild animals from traveling circuses, include Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Costa Rica, Singapore, Peru, and Bolivia. A similar measure is being discussed right now in the United Kingdom.


The time has come for the United States to be added to this impressive list!


Join our "The Show Must Not Go On" campaign to ban the use of live animals in circuses. Demand federal legislation. Call or fax a letter to your Congressional representative today.















wildlife sos
Pictured, from left to right: Kate Schnepel, communications director for Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, and board member of the United States branch of Wildlife SOS; Brian Busta, ARK 2000 sanctuary manager; Pat Derby, PAWS co-founder/director; Wildlife SOS India co-founders, Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani;
and Ed Stewart, PAWS co-founder/director.


Wildlife SOS India Visits ARK 2000


On October 20, 2011, PAWS had the honor of welcoming visitors from Wildlife SOS India to ARK 2000.


Wildlife SOS was established in 1995 by two individuals inspired to make lasting change to protect and conserve India's natural heritage, forests and wildlife. Today, the organization has evolved into one of the leading conservation organizations on the Indian subcontinent, working to protect wildlife, conserve habitat, study biodiversity, conduct research and create alternative and sustainable livelihoods for poacher communities.


Wildlife SOS rescues, rehabilitates and provides sanctuary to bears, elephants, primates, reptiles and leopards at its numerous sanctuaries located throughout India.


The organization was co-founded by Geeta Seshamani, an English Literature lecturer at the Delhi university who had been running Friendicoes SECA (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) for nearly 30 years, and her cousin, Kartick Satyanarayan, a business/commerce major who had been working as a tiger ecological status surveyor for the Wildlife Conservation Society.


When Geeta approached Kartick about a project to study the "dancing bears" of India, he accepted the challenge and made Wildlife SOS the platform to bring an end to this brutal, centuries old practice that was endangering India's wild sloth bears. This project went on to become the flagship project for the organization, and has successfully brought an end to the cruel practice of dancing bears. In December of 2009, the last dancing bear was rescued from the streets of India!


We encourage you to visit www.wildlifesos.org to learn more about this organization's extraordinary work.




Kartick Satyanarayan: How we rescued the
Kartick Satyanarayan: How we rescued the "dancing" bears



Floods In Thailand Displace Thousands of Animals

Elephant Nature Park Reports "Everybody OK"


October 27: Lek (above)

helps rescue two dogs in flood

ravaged Thailand. Thankfully, all of

her elephants are safe.

The worst flooding in modern times has occurred during the 2011 monsoon season in Thailand. Flooding has caused 307 deaths, affected more than 2.3 million people and displaced thousands of animals across the country. Animal rescue groups continue to work around the clock to rescue dogs, cats, birds, livestock and monkeys floating in the water, abandoned on rooftops and in buildings, left inside automobiles and stranded in trees.


Sangduen Chailert (Lek), founder of Elephant Nature Park sanctuary in Thailand, reports the park has been operating normally during this time, and she is happy that the herd, staff and volunteers have not been affected by the floods.


Lek, her veterinarians and volunteers, are doing what they can to assist with animal flood rescue and medical treatment, and have included a list of items that are currently needed on the Park's website. Please consider making a donation, large or small, to help the animal flood victims of Thailand.


The Elephant Nature Park's current herd of 35 includes disabled, orphaned, blind and rescued elephants of all ages.


Saturday, December 10

Holiday Open House

ARK 2000 Sanctuary

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.  

$50 per adult/$25 kids under 12/seniors 62 and over.
Pre-paid reservations required.

Call (209) 745-2606.