New Year Greetings From PAWS

The new year arrived with crisp, starry nights and bright, sunny days. December's rain has turned everything green, and we stop to marvel at the beauty around us. The distinctive, celebratory calls of Sandhill cranes can still be heard high amongst the clouds, as the last flocks complete their long migration to over-winter in the Central Valley.


The elephants find their own special joys in the winter. Lulu, Mara, and Maggie explore new mud wallows created by the rains. Wanda, who seems to enjoy the cooler weather, has been taking long walks in the habitat, venturing out to discover new areas to graze and new spots to nap. On rainy days, Nicholas will take a swim in his lake and Prince may be seen splashing in his pool.



Winter is a time of invigoration for many animals. Jack, and the other bears, enjoy foraging for savory acorns which are plentiful now. Ben the bear spends his afternoons sun grazing on the tender, new grass - particularly poignant after his previous life of confinement on concrete. The Bolivian lions - Simba, Bambek, and Camba - soak up every ray of sunlight and at night retreat to warm, cozy dens bedded with deep nests of hay.


Winter is also a time of transformation. Rufus and Misha lynx, Robert bobcat, and Jackie coyote all grow extra thick and lustrous fur. Tigers' coats are also thicker, and many gain a few extra pounds of winter weight which will be lost again in the spring. Keepers increase the diets of many animals to supply extra calories during the winter.


Winter is also a time of contemplation and inspiration. It is a time when we reflect on events of the past year, and we recharge and rejuvenate for both the challenges, and the accomplishments, that lie ahead. All of us at PAWS look forward to 2013 with hope, and with heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for you, our supporters. We wish you and yours the very best this new year.



Nicholas in his habitat.


BELOW: PAWS co-founder and director, Ed Stewart, shot the following video of Mara, Maggie and Lulu, on December 26, from a hilltop overlooking ARK 2000.







PAWS Drives Momentum in Elephant Advocacy



Since joining the PAWS team in November, as Director of Science, Research & Advocacy, I quickly learned there's never a dull moment, whether it's the rescue of more captive wildlife, caring for those individuals fortunate enough to be enjoying life at our sanctuaries, or advocating for wild animals suffering in inadequate facilities, circuses and other forms of "entertainment." In the advocacy area, we've seen non-stop action and some important advances for elephants.


In November, PAWS was featured in the Fifth Estate's "The Elephant In The Room", a no-holds-barred look at the controversy over keeping elephants in Canadian zoos. The Fifth Estate is Canada's premier investigative documentary show, and the response to the program was overwhelmingly favorable. Later in the month, the Toronto City Council demonstrated its confidence in PAWS by voting 32-8 to send elephants Thika, Toka and Iringa to a new, and more natural life, at ARK 2000. This was the second, and final, vote by the Council. The elephants are expected to arrive in the Spring.


The Seattle Times rocked the zoo world in December with an investigative report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Michael Berens titled "Glamour Beasts: The dark side of elephant captivity." PAWS played a major role in the report, which concluded that elephants are not thriving in zoos and that some zoos will stop at nothing to breed more crowd-pleasing calves.


It wasn't long after Berens' report that we saw just how far some zoos will go. Shortly after the birth of a female calf at the Oregon Zoo, the Times ignited a firestorm by exposing a breeding contract between the zoo and the animal entertainment company Have Trunk Will Travel, giving ownership of the calf to the company. Have Trunk Will Travel rents out elephants for rides, circuses and films, and was caught on video striking elephants with bullhooks and using an electric shock device during training.


Public condemnation of the zoo was swift and the message was clear: People do not support zoos sending elephants to circuses or striking deals with animal entertainment enterprises like Have Trunk Will Travel. The Oregon Zoo reportedly is negotiating the purchase of the calf, and the price is likely to be astronomical. PAWS uncovered yet another contract between Have Trunk Will Travel and the Houston Zoo, showing that the zoo committed to pay half a million dollars for the adult female Tess. These contracts clearly reveal the clandestine relationships between some zoos and those who exploit elephants purely for profit.


PAWS has also played a leading role in advocating for an ordinance that would ban the use of elephants and bullhooks in traveling circuses that visit Los Angeles. We hope to see the ordinance voted on early in 2013; its passage would make Los Angeles the largest U.S. city with such a restriction. We will continue to support similar efforts in other cities as well. The latest city to ban the use of bullhooks is Hallandale Beach, Florida, which also outlawed the use of whips on tigers. Hallandale Beach joins Pompano Beach, Hollywood, and Margate in Florida, Fulton County in Georgia, and other municipalities nationwide in prohibiting the use of bullhooks.


This year promises to bring even more breakthroughs for elephants and other wild animals used for entertainment, and PAWS will be leading the way. We predict that we will see even more restrictions on the use of wild animals in circuses and more media expos�s of the suffering of elephants in zoos, as well as an uncovering of the behind-the-scenes ties that exist between many zoos and circuses.


There is no question that the public's attitude toward the treatment of animals is changing. Through education, outreach and determined advocacy -- and with your continued support -- we can bring about that change even faster.




We need your financial support in order to put a stop to cruelty to animals in entertainment. Together, we can make a difference.



To watch the Fifth Estate documentary, or read reporter Michael Berens' report in The Seattle Times, please refer to our December 4, 2012, e-newsletter. Read here. 


Nicholas' Habitat On Bull Mountain
Guests at our events tour ARK 2000 by shuttle, stopping at designated
viewing areas during their visits. More than 400 visitors of all ages
attended this year's Holiday Open House. 
Holiday Open House
On the morning of our annual ARK 2000 Holiday Open House, held on December 8, African elephant Mara had traveled to the far side of the African habitat, out of view of Maggie, Lulu and guests attending our celebration. There were, afterall, tree branches to be torn down. About an hour into the day's event, she suddenly appeared on the ridge behind the elephant barn and began to make her way down the hill to be reunited with Maggie and Lulu. The elephant greeting that ensued reminded us once again of why we built ARK 2000.
The elephants' reunion caught us by surprise, but we still managed to run for the camera and capture part of it on video. Watch below. . . Our holiday open house is held each year on the second Saturday of December. Thank you to everyone who attended this year's event. 
African Elephants: PAWS Open House

African Elephants:

ARK 2000 Open House

Black bears Winston and Boo Boo
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