We are pleased to report that Alexander has settled in nicely in his beautiful new home. If you missed our report about Alexander's move from Galt, you can read about it here.
Ed Stewart Joins Center for Zoo Animal Welfare Advisory Committee


PAWS' president, Ed Stewart, has accepted an invitation to join the Detroit Zoological Society's Center for Zoo Animal Welfare (CZAW) Advisory Committee. CZAW was created to bring resources and attention to the advancement of captive exotic animal welfare.


The Committee is composed of zoo and aquarium professionals, scientists, sociologists and animal advocacy leaders. Members help with the formulation and review of the Center's work. Membership on the CZAW Advisory Committee is by invitation only.


Ed is sure to enrich the already diverse and dynamic Committee with his knowledge, expertise and experience in advocating and caring for captive wildlife.


PAWS is honored to be a part of this progressive project, led by Detroit Zoo director Ron Kagan, who has been a courageous leader in the area of zoo animal welfare. Ron has been a speaker at PAWS' Summit for the Elephants, and in 2005 the Detroit Zoo relocated elephants Wanda and Winky to ARK 2000, based solely on ethical grounds.


Nicholas and Annie: Water and Mud
Two New PAWS Elephant Videos

Water (and mud) For Elephants
Water (and mud) For Elephants

Annie Goes Swimming

PAWS Fights Elephant Rides

at Nevada County Fair


The Nevada County Fair, located in Grass Valley, California, may offer elephant rides for the first time in its more than 100 year history, depending on the outcome of an upcoming meeting on Tuesday, July 16. The Fair's board of directors will revisit the issue at that time, and hopefully do the right thing and cancel its contract for the rides. If you live in the area, we need your support! (See details below.)


Training for rides involves violently breaking and training elephants, and controlling them through dominance and fear of pain for the rest of their lives. Handlers use the bullhook, a steel rod resembling a sharpened fireplace poker, to routinely prod, hook and strike elephants so they comply with every command. 


At a previous meeting, the board upheld its contract with Have Trunk will Travel, the controversial company providing the rides. PAWS blasted that decision in a letter to the editor of the Union of Grass Valley. Local opposition to the rides has since swelled, and several news outlets have reported on the abusive treatment of elephants by Have Trunk Will Travel, captured on video by Animal Defenders International.


PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, viewed the disturbing video when it was originally released by ADI in 2011, and wrote a forceful statement describing the abuse she saw. She stated: "The elephants in this video are clearly fearful of their trainers and the bull hooks and shocking devices that are viciously applied as the elephants scramble to obey the commands." (Read Pat's entire message, here.)


PAWS warns of threat to public safety


PAWS has been diligently working with a coalition of animal protection organizations to stop the elephant rides. As part of this effort, we requested records from the Fair through the California Public Records Act, and found that the Fair lacks adequate information or an action plan to protect the public from the serious risks associated with elephant rides such as injury, elephant escape and attack, and transmission of infectious disease.


In a press release warning the public of this dangerous shortcoming, PAWS president, Ed Stewart, stated: "The Fair has been lulled into complacency by false assurances that elephant rides are safe, when that is the farthest thing from the truth. Our intention is not to discomfit the Fair board, but to inform the public that elephant rides pose a serious risk, and that there is insufficient preparation on the part of the Fair should an incident occur."


Please attend the July 16 meeting!



If you live in the area, we strongly urge you join us at the Nevada County Fair board of directors' meeting on Tuesday, July 16. We have a second chance to stop the rides, and we need everyone to speak out for the elephants!


What: Nevada County Fair, Meeting of the Board of Directors - discussion of elephant rides contract 


When: Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m.


Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, Ponderosa Hall, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley, Calif. 95945

(click here for directions)


If you would like to speak during the public comment period, please prepare a brief statement (no more than 3 minutes long). If you do not wish to speak, your presence is important to show the board that many people are opposed to the rides.


Please see our PAWS alert for other ways you can help stop the elephant rides, including sending emails and signing a petition.


We appreciate that so many of you are taking action on this important issue. Let's keep up the pressure!


For more information, please contact Catherine Doyle, PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, at



Delving Into the Minds of Elephants


Catherine Doyle

In June, PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, presented a poster on her thesis research at the second international symposium, "Zoo Animal Welfare: Innovations and Future Directions," organized by the Chicago Zoological Society's Center for the Science of Animal Welfare. The two-day symposium, held at the Brookfield Zoo, drew leading researchers from around the world to discuss directions in future research and new approaches and tools for monitoring and assessing the welfare of captive wild animals.


Catherine's research, which studied elephant preferences for their keepers through auditory and olfactory cues, was conducted this year in fulfillment of her master's degree in Anthrozoology at Canisius College. Her focus was on investigating the keeper-elephant relationship, particularly from the elephant's point of view. Catherine will continue to collect more data for this fascinating area of research, as well as launch new studies involving the elephants at ARK 2000.


Congratulations to Catherine on her master's degree, and for graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. We're honored to have her as part of the PAWS Team!


Humane Education instructor, Richard Chiger, teaching elephant awareness to students at Liberty Central School in New York.

Elephant Education, Chiger Style!


PAWS recently learned about an exciting education program presented in two New York state school districts during the last school year. Liberty Central School and New Paltz Central School each took part in an elephant awareness program designed to educate students and make them more sensitive to the plight of elephants in captivity and the wild. The program was developed and taught by long-time humane education teacher, Richard Chiger.


"Children see elephants in zoos, circuses and in movies, and still they have very little knowledge of what elephants' lives are really like," says Chiger. "I teach them about the intelligence of elephants, their beautiful family structure, and their sensitivity to each other. I try to show them how elephants can set a good example for humans to follow."


Chiger also touches on one of the most pressing issues for elephants today, their slaughter for the illegal ivory trade, where tusks are turned into trinkets and figurines. By teaching students that elephants are on the fast road to extinction to due human greed, Chiger motivates them to speak out for the protection of elephants. After participating in the program, students at the Liberty Central School in upstate New York decided that instead of playing for recess, they would write letters to President Obama and urge him to stop the trade in ivory because so many elephants are dying from it.


Another subject that captivates young students is the reality behind the lives of captive elephants, especially those made to perform for human entertainment. Chiger discovered that most students do not realize elephants don't stand on their heads or walk on their hind legs because they want to, but because they are forced to through cruel training methods. The students are typically shocked to hear that that baby elephants are taken from their mothers at young ages to be trained to perform. They learn that this is inhumane because female offspring naturally remain with their mothers for life.


Chiger's program includes information on elephant sanctuaries, like PAWS' ARK 2000, and he enjoys sharing stories about the individual elephants. As a result of his teachings, many classes have chosen to adopt PAWS' elephants. 


New Paltz school district second-graders created "Lulu Land", an elephant city where elephants live happily and peacefully.

The results of Chiger's program are impressive. Jodi Lieberman, a writing teacher, invited the elephant awareness program to Liberty Central School, which included seven second-grade classes. Since participating in Chiger's program, the students have developed an ongoing interest in elephants and even wrote their own "all about elephants" book. Their teachers were Chistine Williams, Mary Warren and Tracy Magie, whose classes also adopted PAWS elephants, and Kim Heinle, Joanne Smith, Erin Poley-Gorr and Robbie Philips.


Arielle Chiger brought the elephant program to the New Paltz School District in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Three second-grade classes each adopted a PAWS elephant. Michele Favale's and Eileen Brown's classes adopted Maggie and Prince. Arielle's class adopted Lulu, and then created an "elephant city" where elephants could live happily and peacefully. They called this city "Lulu Land."  Arielle's class also created a beautiful book filled with letters that each child had written to Lulu, telling Lulu how much they loved her and cared about her.


Chiger plans to continue his program this Fall, which can be geared to different age groups and class levels. He is already in contact with various schools in New York state and looking forward to inspiring more students to care about elephants.


If you would like more information on Richard Chiger's elephant education program, email him at



PAWS' elephant transport trailer was the grand finale in the City of Galt's 2013 Independence Day parade, and was met with loud cheers from the crowd as it approached. Once again, we would like to thank the residents of this special community who welcomed us in 1984, and who have continued to offer their friendship and support for nearly 30 years.

PAWS Celebrates Independence Day


The City of Galt, California, home to PAWS' first sanctuary, put on its third annual Independence Day Celebration on July 4.


The daylong celebration began with a 5K "Run for the Badge", honoring Galt Police officer Kevin Tonn who was killed in the line of duty earlier this year. Galt's Independence Day parade kicked off at 9:30 a.m. with more than 60 entries winding their way through downtown, before exiting under the American Flag that was prominently displayed across C Street, signaling the end of the parade route. A spectacular evening fireworks show marked the end of the day's events.


Bambek the lion, and Wanda and Gypsy the elephants, three of the stars of "Circus PAWS", wave to the crowd along the parade route in downtown Galt.
Bambek the lion is pictured here with PAWS volunteers who passed out open house coupons along the parade route, and helped him deliver the PAWS' message that "Elephants (and lions!) Don't Belong in the Circus! Bambek's helpers, from left to right, are Logan, Kellan, Baylee, Shelby and Blake, grandchildren of PAWS' Program Director, Kim Gardner, and her husband (and PAWS volunteer) Barry.


Meals On Wheels: The PAWS "Fleet"



The daily preparation of meals for bears, tigers, lions, and now Alexander, our black leopard, and the distribution of those diets from the nutrition center to the various areas of ARK 2000, is dependent on the use of pickup trucks. Keepers load the trucks with the prepared meals and drive several miles distributing them.


The hay, special pellets, produce and browse for the elephants is also driven to four separate barns, and keepers traverse the roads connecting them with daily deliveries of our "meals on wheels." PAWS literally depends on a "fleet" of old pickup trucks and vans for this important function. The huge expense of purchasing and maintaining new vehicles is one we have never been able to afford, so we are dependent on donated vehicles.

In Galt, donated produce is collected from Costco warehouses, and other supplies of feed and grain are purchased and brought to the ARK 2000 twice a week in our old blue Ford van. Deliveries of these supplies, as well as browse for the elephants, harvested from the hundreds of trees planted on the Galt property especially for pachyderm diets, is also a weekly trip in the old van.


We have been forced to retire a couple of the old trucks in recent months, so we are now in desperate need of replacementsIf you have a used pickup truck that is safe and mechanically reliable, please consider donating it to PAWS. Contact Elliott, at the PAWS office in Galt, at (209) 745-2606 to donate. Thank you.



Thank You To Our Amazon Wish List Donors!


David Geisler: 2 boxes of Frosted Flakes for the elephants, from their Newfoundland dog friends Gunnar, Bearne and Murre, in Texas! Carol Haft: Reciprocating saw for ARK 2000. Merry Ann Bartholemy: Husqvarna lawn mower for the Galt sanctuary. Glen and Carrie Schwartz: Dremel tool kit. Debbie Casey and Lonnie Jones: Husqvarna lawn mower for ARK 2000. Ruth Cassidy: 1 small safari mesh hat for the ARK 2000 keepers. Arlene Ketchum: Hitachi grass trimmer. Anonymous: 3 bottles of renal essentials for the big cats.


How can you 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 Amazon Wish List
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.

Donate Your Vehicle

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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606