"An Apology To Elephants"
HBO Documentary Debuts April 22 

Narrated by Lily Tomlin, "An Apology To Elephants" examines their abuse and chronicles efforts to provide more humane treatment, when the documentary debuts April 22, exclusively on HBO. 

HBO PRESS RELEASE: An Apology To Elephants


Few animals hold more fascination for humans than elephants. For centuries they've been adored, inspired great works of art, and even been revered as gods, yet they have also been treated with cruelty. "An Apology To Elephants" explores the abuse of these ancient and intelligent animals and shows how some people are reversing the trend. Narrated and executive produced by Lily Tomlin and directed by Emmy® winner Amy Schatz, with narration written by Jane Wagner, the film debuts on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, 7:00-7:45 ET/PT, exclusively on HBO.


As a keystone species, elephants promote biodiversity, helping trees, plants and animals flourish; as highly intelligent, empathetic and social animals, they are unique and remarkable creatures. But humans have poached elephants, chained and trained them in captivity, and destroyed their natural habitats. "The first thing we need to know is that the elephants need our help," says Lily Tomlin.


Lily Tomlin and Pat Derby.

Lily visited ARK 2000 in October of 2011.

Filming at ARK 2000 for HBO's "An Apology To Elephants" had  already been completed by October. Sadly, Pat did not live to see the final documentary.

"An Apology To Elephants" spotlights elephants' importance to global ecology and the environment. Known as the "gardeners of the forest," they clear large trees and branches for food, which makes way for smaller plants and animals to thrive. However, due to the ivory trade and habitat destruction, elephant species are considered either vulnerable or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and are at risk of extinction within the next ten years. "Extinction is part of the pattern of life on the planet, but we're amping up the rate at which extinctions occur," says paleontologist Dr. Ross MacPhee.


In America, elephants have been big business ever since the first animal arrived on U.S. shores in 1796. "An Apology To Elephants" describes the often-brutal treatment elephants undergo when they are trained to perform, the psychological trauma they suffer and the physical damage done by inadequate living conditions in some zoos and circuses.


"The elephants live in fear their whole lives," says Jeff Kinzley, elephant manager at California's Oakland Zoo, which is pioneering a more humane approach to managing captive elephants. After an elephant keeper was killed in 1991, the zoo changed to a "protected contact" approach, which employs a barrier between the keepers and the animal. Elephants are managed by reward and positive reinforcement, rather than force, and these large migratory animals are given the space required to exercise their bodies.


The Performing Animal Welfare Society's (PAWS) elephant sanctuary, ARK 2000, in California provides hundreds of acres of land for rescued and retired elephants to heal and live out the rest of their lives in peace. One resident, Lulu, was captured as a baby and became so mentally disturbed after years in captivity that she was prone to throw things at people. One of Pat Derby's "special projects," Lulu is now seen extending an affectionate foot through the bars of her spacious enclosure inside her barn. "If there's a dream, this is the dream," says Derby of the sanctuary and her hopes for healing elephants.


In addition to footage of elephants in the wild and in captivity, "An Apology To Elephants" includes interviews with elephant biologists, scientists and activists, including PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby; Dr. Joyce Poole, director of the conservation group Elephant Voices; Colleen Kinzley, curator at Oakland Zoo; Dr. Joel Parrott, director of Oakland Zoo; Dr. Mel Richardson, a captive wildlife veterinarian; Katy Payne, founder of the Elephant Listening Project; Dr. Cynthia Moss, director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants; and Dr. Raman Sukumar, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science.


Emmy winner Amy Schatz has produced and directed numerous HBO specials, including "A Child's Garden of Poetry," "Classical Baby," "Through a Child's Eyes: September 11, 2001" and "Goodnight Moon & Other Sleepytime Tales." She has won four DGA Awards and her films have received seven Primetime Emmy Awards® in the Outstanding Children's Program category.


For more information on the documentary, visit: Facebook:; and Twitter: @HBODocs #ApologyToElephants.


Other HBO playdates: April 25 (8:45 a.m., 5:25 a.m.), 27 (4:15 p.m.) and 30 (10:15 a.m.), and May 5 (10:15 a.m.), 9 (1:15 p.m.) and 13 (5:30 p.m.)


HBO Family playdates: April 28 (9:15 p.m.) and May 4 (11:35 p.m.), 7 (1:30 a.m.), 12 (3:40 a.m.), 16 (10:30 p.m.), 24 (12:25 a.m.), 29 (9:00 p.m.) and 31 (3:10 a.m.)


"An Apology To Elephants" is executive produced by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner; directed and produced by Amy Schatz; narrated by Lily Tomlin; producer, Beth Aala; narration written by Jane Wagner; editor, Tom Patterson. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.


Lily Tomlin, Ed Stewart, Pat Derby and Mara.


 Click to read the synopsis and view the trailer for the HBO documentary, "An Apology To Elephants" 





Boston Marathon Runner

Making Mad Dash For Elephants


When 2013 Boston Marathon participant David Sarich runs on April 15, he will be running for a unique cause: rescued elephants at PAWS. Sarich has been raising awareness of the plight of elephants in captivity, and he is using his marathon bid to solicit funds for the care of PAWS' eight elephants - Mara, Lulu, Maggie, Annie, Gypsy, Wanda, Nicholas and Prince.


David Sarich runs for PAWS' elephants!

"PAWS is grateful that David Sarich is using his skill as a runner and his compassion for elephants to bring attention to the plight of these animals in captivity," said PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart. "We believe that once the public is educated about the suffering of elephants in circuses and other types of entertainment, they will stop supporting those businesses and help end this inhumane use of elephants."


Sarich, who heads a run-coaching company in Atlanta, Georgia, has launched a Facebook campaign called "Mad Dash for PAWS," and is urging everyone to make a contribution for the elephants. As stated on his Facebook page, "David will be putting his legs where his heart is and run for the animals who are being cruelly treated in the name of entertainment." His goal is to raise $5,000, with all donations going directly to the care of PAWS' elephants.


David had this to say in an April 9 posting to his Facebook page: "We raised $919.19 for PAWS through a poker tournament I hosted. Now I taper and get ready to leave for Boston on Thursday with the race being Monday. Time to get into the right head space. At least I know the animals are being taken care of!"


You can visit David's "Mad Dash For PAWS" on Facebook. Donations can be made directly to PAWS, here. Please indicate "Boston Marathon" on your check, or under "Message to PAWS" if you choose to donate through PayPal, or tell the PAWS office if you chose to phone in your donation of support.


Thank you to everyone who donates on behalf of David and the elephants. And special thanks, and best wishes, to David.



Ravi: In Memoriam


Nine years ago, Ravi was one of the first tigers to come to PAWS from a life of severe neglect and cruelty at the Colton "Tiger Rescue" facility. The conditions there were horrific - tigers were starving, sick, and fighting constantly. Many had open, untreated wounds. When we first met Ravi, his entire right hind leg was swollen, his footpads were cracked, his coat was dull, and he had a deep wound in his paw.

After giving Ravi time to settle in to his new home at PAWS, our veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai examined Ravi and took x-rays of his swollen paw and leg. A deep, longstanding infection was found and despite intensive efforts to treat it, the infection had spread to the bone. His toe was amputated at UC Davis, and he recovered quickly with the pain and infection gone. On a balanced diet, and no longer having to fight for his food, Ravi's coat grew radiant, his footpads supple, and his calm, regal personality emerged. Ravi's transformation from a state of illness and fear to one of health and confidence was amazing to watch.

Ravi could often be seen lounging in the tall green grass at ARK 2000, strolling under the oaks, and snuggling up to Amelia, who absolutely adored him. Ravi lived a wonderful, enriched nine years with us until finally losing his battle with chronic kidney failure on April 8th, at the estimated age of 20 years old. He was a big presence, a survivor, and a gentle soul. He will be missed by all.


View Colton Tiger rescue video, below.








PAWS Condemns Drive-By Shooting

of Circus Elephant and Offers Reward


PAWS condemned the brutal act against a traveling circus elephant Wednesday morning in Tupelo, Mississippi.


Carol, an eight thousand pound Asian elephant, was being housed at an outdoor arena while Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey workers set up for a four-day circus run when she was shot. Early reports indicate that the bullet or bullets struck her in the neck. According to a veterinarian, the bullet(s) did not damage any major blood vessels or nerves.


"This inhumane act of violence against Carol is reprehensible," stated PAWS President Ed Stewart. "Circus elephants are normally restricted to small spaces or chained by their legs. This was a cowardly act with complete disregard for life."


Stewart added, "We understand from reports that Carol has been a circus elephant her entire life. We certainly hope that Carol recovers fully from her wounds and is now offered a permanent retirement from performing and travel.


"If PAWS can be of any immediate assistance we are extending our offer to help Carol. In addition," pledged Stewart, "PAWS is offering a $2,500 reward for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of this callous, senseless act."


View news report from Mississippi, here. 



Ben, one of seven bears living in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000.
ARK 2000 Open House | May 11, 2013
PAWS' first open house of 2013 happens Mother's Day weekend, Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at ARK 2000 in San Andreas.
Visitors to ARK 2000 are driven by shuttle to elephant, tiger, lion and bear habitats. Upon arrival at each designated stop, visitors exit the shuttles and walk to animal viewing areas via dirt or gravel roads and paths. We advise you to wear comfortable shoes.
Advance tickets are required and can be purchased by calling our office at (209) 745-2606, Monday thru Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST. Admission is $50 for adults, $25 for seniors 60 and older, and $25 for children 12 and under. Event happens rain or shine. No smoking on PAWS property. NO PETS ALLOWED on PAWS property. Cameras are encouraged. Please remember to bring your hats and sunscreen!
Thank you from everyone at PAWS!
The following items have been donated to PAWS from our Wish List.


"A great man who loved animals, especially elephants."

Our condolences to Mary, Margie, Greg and Joanee.

Donated, in Dick's memory, by Joan Quirk: 2 RASP files used for elephant pedicures, 1 24" push broom for the elephant barns, 3 bottles of hand sanitizers (split between San Andreas and Galt sanctuaries), 4 wet mops for use in San Andreas and Galt, 2 Presto Popcorn poppers for elephants and bears, 9x12 brown clasp envelopes for Galt office.



Anonymous:2, 40-lb. boxes of oranges, and 1 20-lb. box of oranges (2 boxes sent to elephants; 1 box for Arthur the bear, and the monkeys living in Galt. Anonymous: Refractometer going to Dr. Gai. Cynthia Kendall: 6 boxes of Frosted Flakes for the elephants, 1 book "Merch Veterinary Manual" for Dr. Gai. Connie Jo Gilmore: 100' garden hose for the elephant barns, 1 pistol grip nozzle and 1 high pressure fire hose style nozzle both for the elephant barns, and 1 bag of rubber washers. Gail Wilhelm and Susan: 1 bottle - Renal Essential for the tigers. Mary Nelson: 2 bottles - Renal Essentials for the big cats. Stephanie Ferneyhough: 1 bottle - Cosequin, 132 count. Elizabeth Allen:1 box nitrile gloves. Karen A. Mosley: 2 boxes nitrile gloves. Alyssa Altshuler: 1 24" heavy duty broom for elephant barns. Cindy Rice-Meenahan: 50 lb. Mazuri elephant supplements.


Other Ways You Can Help
Adopt A PAWS Animal
If you would like to help our animals, one of the best ways is to become an "adoptive parent," or give a PAWS adoption as a gift to an animal lover in your life. PAWS adoptions are symbolic adoptions only. No animal will be sent!
PAWS Partnerships

Help us change the life of a victim of captivity by becoming a PAWS Partner.

PAWS partnerships help support our sanctuary operations and the day-to-day care of the animals.

Estates/Planned Giving
You can help us make sure captive wildlife in need of shelter will always have a PAWS sanctuary to call home!
Donate To PAWS
Three ways to give and every donation matters.
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606