A Landmark Month For Elephants
October has been a landmark month for elephants, from the arrival of elephants Toka, Iringa and Thika from Canada (above), to Los Angeles banning the bullhook, to an epic March for the Elephants that sent a message around the world that we must protect and conserve wild elephants. We are proud to share news of important PAWS achievements with you. Your compassion for captive wildlife and your generous support makes it all possible. Thank you. 

- Ed Stewart


Iringa, Toka and Thika in the grassy yard outside the barn on the morning after their arrival.

Iringa, Toka & Thika Arrive At PAWS


After more than two years of anticipation and preparation, three female African elephants from the Toronto Zoo in Ontario, Canada, arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, on Sunday evening, October 20. A crowd had gathered on the street outside the sanctuary to welcome Toka, Thika, and Iringa as the trucks carrying PAWS' custom-designed elephant crates rolled through the front gate.

Elephant team member, Jeff Kinzley, with Iringa. The caravan stopped at regular intervals to feed, water and check on the three elephants.


Throughout the cross-country journey, the elephants were under the attentive care of an expert crew assembled for this very special transport. California-based Active Environments coordinated the move, under the direction of Margaret Whittaker. Accompanying the elephants on their trip from Toronto to ARK 2000 were Dr. Joel Parrott, DVM, Executive Director, Oakland Zoo; Pat Lampi, Executive Director, Alaska Zoo; Dr. Andrea Goodnight, DVM, Associate Veterinarian, Oakland Zoo; Jeff Kinzley, Elephant Manager, Oakland Zoo; and Scott Blais, CEO and president, Global Sanctuary For Elephantsand co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.


The team followed the two elephant trucks in motorhomes, and each person shared driving duties while other members of the team rested. Iringa and Toka were transported in crates loaded onto the back of one truck; Thika was carried on a second truck. The caravan stopped at regular intervals to feed and water the elephants. The team even had a brief celebration of Thika's birthday on October 18 (she received a muffin and birthday wishes). Video cameras, donated by a PAWS supporter, were mounted in each elephant's crate so the transport team could watch the elephants 24/7 on computer screens from inside the motorhomes. Members of the team shared photos and updates on their progress via tweets, texts, emails and phone calls.

Inbetween rest stops, Margaret Whittaker (right) watches Toka, Iringa and Thika on her laptop. Each elephant crate was equipped with a camera allowing the crew to view the elephants 24/7. 


Immediately after the trucks arrived at ARK 2000, PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart, elephant manager Brian Busta, and our expert elephant crew went into action to unload the elephants. A large crane was used to carefully lift each crate off the truck and place it on the ground. Each crate was secured to a gate leading to an outdoor walkway that is connected to the African barn. The team then waited for each elephant to back out of her crate at her own chosen pace and step onto California soil. Elephant keepers from the Toronto Zoo then patiently and gently coaxed each elephant into the barn. Toka's first priority out of the crate was to take a vigorous dust bath, before following the keeper into the African barn where she was greeted by PAWS' resident elephants Mara, Maggie and Lulu, who erupted into a remarkable chorus of excited vocalizations. (View video of the arrival and Toka being unloaded, below.)


Iringa was the next elephant to be unloaded, followed by Thika. The Toronto Zoo keepers tried repeatedly to lead Thika into the barn, until everyone decided that we should let Thika remain outside as long as she wanted. Ed Stewart, who would remain in the barn for most of the night, put down fresh hay and vegetables for her. Thika entered the barn, on her own, at 2 a.m. For the rest of the morning, Thika walked in and out of the barn several times and laid down to rest in the sandy area adjacent to the barn.


As each elephant entered the barn after unloading, they were welcomed by plenty of elephant rumbles and trumpets. (Read Dr. Joyce Poole's description of the elephant greeting ceremony, below.) The rest of the night was calm and quiet as all of the elephants munched on treats and rested after the excitement of the day.

Bob Barker, who advocated for the elephants' relocation and generously funded their transport to PAWS, was there to greet the elephants when they arrived. Photo by Randy Pench, Sacramento Bee


The next day, Ed Stewart, elephant staff and PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Gai watched Toka, Thika and Iringa explore the grassy yard outside the barn. Bob Barker, who advocated for the elephants' relocation and generously funded their transport to PAWS, and United Activists for Animal Rights president Nancy Burnet, were also there to view the new elephant residents. Under the warm California sunshine, everyone watched the elephants wallow in a mud hole, dust bathe, and graze for the first time in their new home. (View video below.)


As Pat Derby always said, "we're on elephant time now." When any animal arrives at PAWS, we begin our medical and behavioral evaluations. A series of tests, including blood, fecal and urine samples will be taken and sent to labs for testing. 


The introduction process between Mara, Maggie and Lulu and the three new arrivals will take place gradually and with great care. Dominant issues between Iringa and Thika will be taken into account. PAWS' African elephant barn and habitat were designed to facilitate introductions between elephants in a controlled manner. All the elephants are currently able to see, hear, and smell each other, so they are already becoming familiar with one another. Because of their complex social structure and culture, the personality and dominance characteristics of each elephant is likely to change. As Ed Stewart said, "We aren't getting three new elephants, we're actually getting six new elephants!"

An elephant-sized thank you to W.S. Bell Cartage in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and their drivers.


We look forward to seeing new bonds form and personalities blossom.


Thank you to Bob Barker, Nancy Burnet, Julie Woodyer and ZooCheck Canada, the Toronto City Council, the people of Canada, especially the citizens of Toronto, and of course, Margaret Whittaker and her E-Team.


Welcome Iringa, Toka and Thika!


The Toronto Elephants: Arrival Day, Part 1
The Toronto Elephants:
Arrival Day, Part 1
Iringa, Toka & Thika: The day after their arrival at PAWS
Iringa, Toka & Thika:
The day after their arrival at PAWS


Monday morning, October 21, 2013
Featuring Ed Stewart, Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet
Watch the press conference: Ed Stewart, Part 1;  Ed Stewart, Part 2; and Bob Barker

A collection of photos from PAWS' photographer Lisa Worgan (who was
part of the caravan accompanying the elephants to California),
CBC's Fifth Estate, and members of the Elephant Crew.
Like us on Facebook where new photos are being added every few days.
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(May not be available in all locations.)
Many notepads and smart phones will not work for viewing.

Toka (above) is the first of the Toronto elephants to be unloaded after their arrival at ARK 2000 on October 20, and is the first to enter PAWS' African barn. In the photo above, Toka's Toronto Zoo keeper is gently coaxing her into the barn. Click on the video link below ("The Greeting") to watch and listen as Mara, Maggie and Lulu greet Toka. 

Toka Enters PAWS' African Barn

To An Elephantine Greeting


By Joyce Poole, Ph.D., ElephantVoices

October 27, 2013


PAWS president, Ed Stewart, asked for my comments on the PAWS video posted on YouTube entitled, "The Toronto Elephants: Arrival Day, Part 2, The Greeting" (watch below). It is not surprising to me that some people have interpreted the PAWS elephants as being aggressive and Toka as being frightened. Elephants are very emotional, expressive animals and they become easily excited by social events. The deep, throaty rumbles and roars that elephants produce during intensely social interactions can sound like a pride of lions roaring. They can also be intimidating, even feel threatening, if you haven't had the chance to experience them in a natural setting in the wild.


At ElephantVoices we have studied elephant social behavior and communication for decades and have put together online databases of their vocal signals and their postures and gestures so that other people can understand elephants better. I have gone through the video and written a brief comment about what I see and hear. All vocalizations and behaviors in italics or in bold can be found in ElephantVoices' fully searchable online databases: Calls Database and Gestures Database.


Click here to read Dr. Poole's observations. We suggest you print the PDF file before you watch the video, then follow along as she describes the elephants' reactions - trumpet by trumpet, rumble by rumble. We think you'll find it as fascinating and as educational as we did. Click on the arrow in the photo below to view the video.


The Toronto Elephants: Arrival Day, Part 2,
The Toronto Elephants:
Arrival Day, Part 2, "The Greeting"


Summary: The video demonstrates the intense social nature of elephants. The behavior is similar to that observed in the wild when members of a family are reunited, or when they jointly experience an event of great social significance. As far as we are aware this is the first meeting between Toka and any of the PAWS elephants. One might, therefore, ask why they would exhibit such behavior toward one another. It may be that the relative lack of

social network in captivity releases the extraordinary demonstrativeness in their interaction. I see no sign of aggression in their behavior.


Ed Stewart, with African elephant Lulu, this year's Ms. TUSKany

A Glorious Afternoon In TUSKany


PAWS' 9th annual "Elephant Grape Stomp - An Afternoon in TUSKany," which took place on Saturday, October 19, under sunny California skies, was a great success. This TUSKan-themed event features wine tasting courtesy of more than a dozen of the Gold Country's award-winning wineries and delicious vegetarian fare donated each year by Jeff Newland/Il Fornaio. This yearly event is a benefit for the PAWS elephants.


More than 500 people attended the event this year. After browsing the PAWS gift shop, bidding on silent auction items, and spinning a wheel for an animal-themed prize, guests were given shuttle tours of ARK 2000 and visited the elephants, tigers, bears, leopard, and lions living at our San Andreas, California captive wildlife sanctuary. PAWS' expert staff, and knowledgeable docents, educated guests about the different animals, the stories of how they came to PAWS, and the importance of protecting and caring for all wildlife.

Victor Reyes Umana, owner of the
Bodega Del Sur winery in Murphys, CA 


The event was memorable in many ways. Elephants Nicholas and Prince charmed guests shuttled to Bull Mountain. PAWS sanctuary manager Brian Busta answered questions and educated guests about male elephants (called "bulls").


Onward through TUSKany, guests passed by the Asian elephant habitat and caught glimpses of Annie, Wanda and Gypsy basking in the sun on the far side of the Asian habitat. The shuttles stopped at African Elephant Hill, where Mara, Maggie and Lulu displayed the magnificence of their species to all - and reminded them of the need to protect their wild cousins.


The highlight of the event was the 5th annual "crowning" of Ms. TUSKany. Prior to the Elephant Grape Stomp (no, the elephants do not actually stomp grapes), supporters cast their votes for a winner by donating $5 per vote. This year's "crowning" was made even more fun with the help of Ms. Calaveras County princesses who roamed through TUSKany, rallying donation votes. PAWS appreciates Ms. Calaveras pageant director, Lacey Neufeld, for recruiting the cheerful and beautiful contestants.

Miss Calaveras County contestants holding this year's Ms. TUSKany edible bouquets.


This was African elephant Lulu's year to be "crowned" Ms. TUSKany. PAWS president Ed Stewart presented Lulu with a unique edible bouquet made especially for elephants. Volunteers, Sylvia Aspire and Ruth Huffman created all of the beautiful edible "awards." African elephant Maggie, who has been "crowned" three out of the last four years, graciously conceded the title to Lulu, but still won first runner-up. Asian elephant Annie, was the second runner-up. All of the PAWS elephants received a special food treat later in the day.


PAWS events would not happen without the generosity of so many people and companies who donate their goods and services.


PAWS sincerely appreciates shuttle service provider, Devra Lewis and her efficient Blue Mountain Shuttle team, and we thank them for eight years of kind and accommodating service.


A special thank you goes to each of the regional wineries and to Jeff Newland and his Il Fornaio chefs. They have filled our plates with delectable offerings for many years. We deeply appreciate their continued generous and delightful support.


Thank you to our 2013 Wineries and Vendors:

Black Sheep, Bodega Del Sur, Bray Winery, Brice Station, Chatom Vineyards, Dessert Cart, Frog's Tooth, Hovey Wines, Irish Vineyards, Ironstone, Milliaire, Newsom Harlow Wines, Twisted Oak, Villa Bakery, Vina Moda Wines, Zucca Mountain Vineyards          


It takes dozens of committed volunteers to drive fund-raising spectaculars; PAWS volunteers are truly the backbone of our events. An extra special thank you to those who helped with event set-up, guest hospitality, shuttle gate and parking, security, docent duties, and even the Porta Potties. We sincerely appreciate each and every volunteer who gives so much of their time, love and support to PAWS.


And finally, thank you to everyone who donated to our silent auction, and to the hundreds of PAWS supporters who purchased tickets and "votes" for this year's event.




Carrying the PAWS banner, from left to right: PAWS president Ed Stewart; Catherine Doyle, PAWS director of science, research and advocacy; Barry Gardner, volunteer; and Chris Christensen, volunteer. Thank you to the dozens of PAWS supporters, as well as PAWS board members and employees, including ARK 2000 sanctuary manager Brian Busta and PAWS veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai, who made the trip to San Francisco to join in The March.


San Francisco Marches For The Elephants!


On an unusually hot and sunny day in San Francisco, PAWS marched with hundreds of other advocates to bring attention to the annihilation of wild elephants for the ivory trade. This San Francisco march was in conjunction with March for the Elephants, a worldwide event that took place on October 4, with people marching in over 40 cities in more than 15 countries.


An estimated 35,000 elephants were killed last year across Africa so their tusks can be carved into trinkets - that's about 100 elephants a day, or one every 15 minutes. Unless urgent action is taken to end the slaughter, conservationists are predicting that elephants could disappear in 10 years.


Joining the San Francisco march was a very special ambassador for wild elephants - Betsy Swart, the U.S. executive director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. Betsy brought with her the personal experience and sadness of having lost cherished elephants long studied by Dr. Cynthia Moss and the other scientists with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, the world's longest-running study of an elephant population.


The march kicked off at Portsmouth Square, with the crowd chanting in unison. Along the way, children waved in support, and adults joined the march. The first stop was Chinatown, in front of a store selling what we presume to be legal ivory. In a moving ceremony, officiated by a Buddhist priest, elephants poached for their tusks were memorialized. This included elephants at the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, who were recognized as individuals who had families, relationships, emotions and stories of their own to tell. A gong sounded to mark each elephant's name and memory.


The march continued to Union Square, ending with a rousing rally. Speakers included PAWS' president Ed Stewart, who also talked about the plight of captive wild animals. Afterwards, march participants clamored to sign petitions urging the U.S. government and the State of California to ban the sale of all ivory.


A special thank you to Betsy Swart for attending the San Francisco march, and to staff from the Oakland Zoo, who took part in the march and who actively advocate for elephants in the wild and in captivity.
View videos from the March below.

March For Elephants San Francisco: Rally In Union Square
March For Elephants San Francisco:
Ed Stewart speaks during
rally In Union Square
March For Elephants San Francisco: The March, plus Chinatown Memorial Service For Elephants
March For Elephants San Francisco:
The March, plus Chinatown Memorial Service For Elephants

L-R: Lonnie Jones, PAWS volunteer; Betsy Swart, executive director-US, Amboseli Trust For Elephants; Ed Stewart, PAWS president; Barry Gardner, PAWS volunteer.

In Memoriam

U.S. Representative

Bill Young


The animals recently lost a champion in U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (Florida) who died on October 18 at age 82. He served 43 years in the House, during which time he co-sponsored a range of animal protection bills and joined in bipartisan efforts aimed at better protecting horses, dogs in puppy mills, chimpanzees used in research, and many more animals. He powerfully spoke against the inhumane treatment of elephants in circuses. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for six years, he supported efforts to increase funding for the enforcement of critical animal protection laws.


PAWS especially appreciated Rep. Young's meaningful recognition of PAWS' co-founder, Pat Derby, following her death earlier this year. He arranged to have a flag flown over the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2013, in her honor.


All of us at PAWS offer our sincere condolences to the Young family, and we thank Rep. Young for his dedication to protecting animals.

Sophie and Babe with Niabi Zoo handlers. 
Photo Quad-City Times

Sophie & Babe: New Home In Little Rock

Beholden To Circus Interests


Over a period of months, PAWS received numerous emails and calls from concerned advocates regarding elephants Sophie and Babe at the Niabi Zoo in Illinois. At the time, the Forest Preserve Committee of the Rock Island County Board was discussing whether to end the county-run zoo's elephant program and relocate the elephants. Prior to the Board's vote, PAWS sent a letter to Niabi Zoo director Marc Heinzman inviting him to visit PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. The Niabi Zoo had indicated that zoos and sanctuaries would be considered as possible alternatives for Sophie and Babe.


PAWS never received an answer from Mr. Heinzman. We later resent the letter, and again received no reply. A final letter, sent on October 2, and copied to Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek, also was never acknowledged.


PAWS recently learned that Sophie and Babe were very quietly relocated to the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas which is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).


The Niabi Zoo lost its AZA accreditation a little more than year ago, in part because of its substandard elephant facility and for reportedly failing to meet modern "zoological philosophies." Apparently, the zoo was willing to send these two older elephants to a questionable elephant program that, to the best of our knowledge, still uses free contact management and bullhooks, in order to regain favor with the AZA and become re-accredited sometime in the future. After spending years in the circus, Sophie and Babe, at the very least, deserved to be sent to a zoo with a protected contact program where they would finally be free of domination and the threat of physical punishment. Instead they were transferred to a zoo that is unapologetically beholden to circus interests.


We often have advocates ask us if we are able to take elephants who are the subject of welfare campaigns. It is PAWS policy to consider potential candidate elephants on a case-by-case basis, but only after a facility has indicated that it is exploring potential options for relocation. PAWS is generally willing to enter into a discussion with those who wish to explore the unique facilities and expert care that we offer.


Los Angeles Becomes
Largest U.S. City To Ban The Bullhook!


In case you missed it. . . PAWS has long fought to "Ban the Bullhook!" so we are extremely pleased that on Wednesday, October 23, Los Angeles became the largest U.S. city to ban bullhooks and other implements used to inflict pain on elephants in circuses and traveling shows that come to the city. An unexpected last-minute amendment means the ban will be phased in over three years, however, that should not detract from this historic accomplishment that is sure to inspire counties and states across the country to enact bans of their own to protect elephants and other animals in circuses.


The bullhook is a menacing weapon commonly used in circuses, and is still used in some backward zoos. Resembling a fireplace poker, the bullhook is used to inflict pain and instill fear in elephants so they obey every command.


PAWS is proud to have played a key role in supporting the ban, along with other national and local organizations, and the elephant advocates who share our disgust for this cruel weapon. We thank all of our L.A.-based members who took action and all those who filled the Council chambers (more than 100 of you!). And we deeply appreciate the efforts of actor and PAWS friend, Lily Tomlin, who prominently sat front and center at the meeting to show her support.


What you can do to help animals in circuses:

  • Don't attend circuses that use animals.
  • Share what you've learned about the suffering of animals in circuses with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Initiate a ban in your area. Contact PAWS for assistance by emailing
  • Write a letter to the editor when the circus comes to your area.


Thank You Amazon Wish List Donors

Martha Cremer: 2 shovels for the elephant barns. Leanne Bonadio: 5 lb container of Psyllium, 1 box Frosted Flakes, both for the elephants. Danielle McDevitt: 5 lb container of Psyllium for the elephants. 1 Paula and Kim Eagleston: commercial trimmer line, Motorola walkie-talkies - for ARK 2000. Vida Khavar: 1 box nitrile gloves, 1 bottle Renal essentials, Motorola walkie-talkies - for Galt sanctuary. DeAnna Burke: 1 bottle Renal Essentials, 5 lb. container of Psyllium, 1 box Frosted Flakes - for ARK 2000. Anonymous Donor: two 5 lb. containers of Psyllium - for ARK 2000.
View wish list items that are not on the Amazon list, here.

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

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Donate To PAWS
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