Celebrating 30 Years
PAWS Kicks Off 30 Years Of Rescue, Sanctuary, Education & Advocacy
This is a very special year for PAWS, and we invite you to join us in celebrating our 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, advocacy and education for captive exotic wildlife and performing animals. It is you, our friends and supporters, who have helped realize our great strides on important issues affecting animals, and ensured that the bears, lions, elephants, tigers, eland, Canadian lynx, and many more animals at PAWS continue to live in peace. With your help we will continue to accept animals in need, including elephants, and provide the refuge and rehabilitation they so desperately need.

Pat Derby and Ed Stewart with
baby elephant 71, shortly
after her arrival in 1986.
Pat Derby, 2009:
"Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71,
and all our programs were
developed from our experiences
with her. Without 71, 
there would be no PAWS."

Started in 1984 as the dream of co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby, PAWS has become a vital and thriving organization. PAWS established the very first U.S. elephant sanctuary, and today we successfully operate the largest captive wildlife sanctuary in the U.S., home to rescued and retired animals. We value advocacy as a means of putting an end to the exploitation and suffering of captive wildlife, and we have made many advances, including introducing and passing laws that better protect the health and welfare of captive wildlife used for entertainment and as exotic pets.


In 2013 alone, PAWS played a leadership role in passing a bullhook ban in Los Angeles, making it the largest U.S. city with such a restriction on circuses (the bullhook is a weapon used by handlers to control elephants through painful punishment). And we welcomed three African elephants from Canada - Iringa, Thika and Toka - to their spacious natural-habitat home at ARK 2000, bringing the total number of elephants we care for up to 11.


PAWS looks forward to another exciting year in 2014, as we continue our battle against the exploitation of exotic animals used for circuses, elephant rides, and other forms of "entertainment," and the exotic pet industry. At the same time, we will be stepping up our efforts in the fight against the decimation of African elephants for the illegal ivory trade. And we will continue to educate the world about all these important issues.


And there is much more to come!


Marching for the elephants! 
PAWS staff and volunteers in San Francisco's Chinatown.


We look forward to sharing an exciting future with you, as we fulfill our vision of creating a better life for captive wild animals. Our vision includes continuing the process of creating habitats at ARK 2000 for the animals still living at our original sanctuary in Galt, Calif., creating an additional facility for female Asian elephants, building additional barn space for African elephants (our 20,000-square-foot African barn is now at capacity), and completing the expansion of Bull Mountain (PAWS is the only sanctuary to take male elephants).


In future newsletters we'll be providing more information on our campaigns, rescues, and ways you can help the animals. And don't forget to save the date for PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference in November, featuring some of the most progressive voices on key animal issues.


As always, it is you, our supporters, who really make a difference for the animals. For that we are forever grateful.


Please make a donation to PAWS today, as a way to help us kick off this very special and hopeful 30th anniversary year. Your gift of $30 - one dollar for each year that PAWS has existed - goes directly to caring for the many animals at PAWS, helps educate more people about important animal issues, and ensures our advocacy efforts will be as effective as possible.


Toronto elephant Toka heads over a hill
in her new natural-habitat home.

In Memoriam: Dr. Mel Richardson

Dr. Mel Richardson:
Early this month, PAWS,
and the animals, lost a great friend.


Dr. Mel Richardson, known as "Dr. Mel," passed away on January 2, 2014, at age 63. Everyone at PAWS deeply feels this loss of our good friend, determined animal advocate, and skilled veterinarian for captive wild animals.


In 2007, Dr. Mel accompanied African elephant Maggie when she was transported from the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage - via a US Air Force C-17 cargo plane - to California and her permanent home at ARK 2000. After the 2012 rescue of Ben the bear from a tiny cement enclosure at a North Carolina tourist attraction, Dr. Mel was part of the team that flew with Ben aboard the FedEx flight, dubbed "Bear Force One," that brought Ben to his new natural-habitat home at ARK 2000. 

November 2007:
"Dr. Mel" (bottom right) watches as crews
prepare to lift African elephant Maggie's crate
onto the trailer that will transport her
from the Alaska Zoo to Elmendorf AFB
for her flight to California.
Photo courtesy of the Alaska Zoo

It was in 2005 that Dr. Mel decided to dedicate his life to improving the welfare of captive wild animals, following a long career working with animals in zoos, wildlife parks and private facilities. His website states: "...From elephants, chimpanzees, lions, tigers, and bears in circuses, zoos, parks and the entertainment industry, I work to alleviate the suffering caused by captivity. I am their voice." Dr. Mel used his voice and veterinary skills to help animals from Canada to the U.S. to South America.

His unwavering commitment to animals meshed perfectly with PAWS' mission of education, advocacy, rescue and care. PAWS' co-founders, Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby, found a kindred spirit in Dr. Mel, and they often discussed the many issues surrounding the confinement of wild animals, including ethics, captivity-caused health issues, and ways to advance animal welfare.

Dr. Mel's friendly and relaxed manner made him a favorite with humans and animals alike - he had the gift of being able to calm even the most agitated and confused animal.


We will greatly miss Dr. Mel's friendship, warmth, humor, and his kind and giving spirit.

"An Apology To Elephants"

Receives More Critical Acclaim


PAWS congratulates Amy Schatz, director of the documentary "An Apology To Elephants," for winning a Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award. This is the second award for this must-see film that is educating young and old alike about the plight of elephants in captivity and in the wild. PAWS' friend Lily Tomlin won an Emmy for her narration of the documentary, and she touchingly dedicated her Emmy win to the late Pat Derby. 


Children Are The Future. . . For Animals, Too!


We would like to share something special with you that made our day at PAWS. We recently received an email from Jackie Dunn and her daughter, nine-year-old Carly Rae Dunn, who told us their wonderful story. One day, Carly told her mother that she wanted to see a circus that was soon coming to their town. Jackie had a heart-to-heart conversation with her daughter about the treatment of elephants and other animals in the circus. She told Carly that she would not feel good about taking her to the performance.

Carly Rae Dunn


By coincidence, Carly and her mother watched An Apology To Elephants that evening, which features PAWS and the elephants living at ARK 2000. (PAWS' friend Lily Tomlin narrated the film, for which she won an Emmy.) The documentary examines the abuse of elephants in captivity and advocates for more humane treatment. Carly was so moved by what she had just seen that, unbeknownst to her parents, she wrote a two-page report detailing what she learned from An Apology to Elephants and how she felt about it. 


Carly's well-written essay is titled "Elephants, It'll Make You Cry." In it, she expresses her feelings as only a child can - she is honest, heartfelt and passionate. Carly comes to the conclusion: "Never ever go to a circus with animals. Especially elephants."


When Carly gets older, she wants to be a voice for the elephants. We think she's off to a pretty good start! In the meantime, she is doing extra chores at home and saving the money to adopt a PAWS elephant.


Please click here to read Carly's touching report. We think you'll be as impressed with the report - and Carly - as we are.


Congressman Jim Moran To Retire 
Congressman Moran (left)
with Bob Barker
in Washington, D.C.


After more than 20 years in Congress, Congressman Moran, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, has announced he will retire. Rep. Moran has been a great friend to animals, favoring stronger prohibitions against animal fighting and an end the slaughter of horses for food. Ed Stewart, PAWS' friend and supporter Bob Barker, Jorja Fox, Mel Richardson, DVM, and Animal Defenders International joined with the Congressman in 2011 as he introduced the Traveling Exotic Animals Protection Act (TEAPA), a federal bill that would end the abuse of wild animals used in circuses and traveling shows. (The bill has not yet been re-introduced in Congress.)


PAWS expresses its most sincere thanks to Congressman Moran for his many years of service to our country.


Hong Kong officials have announced they will incinerate more than 28 tonnes of warehoused ivory. This shipment of 700 ivory tusks, worth over $1 million, was seized by customs in Hong Kong last year. Photo: Bobby Yip, Reuters 
Good News For Elephants!


India: The Dakshina Mookambika Temple in North Paravur, located in the Indian state of Kerala, will no longer use elephants for processions, setting an example for other temples to follow. Elephants used in these parades are often harassed and over-worked, and they sometimes kill bystanders. The temple will replace the elephants with chariots during festivals.


Africa: Three years of intensive anti-poaching strategies are paying off for elephants living the Zakouma National Park in Chad. Extensive poaching between 2005 and 2010 reduced the number of elephants from 4,000 to just 450. Surviving elephants were not regularly breeding and the calves who were born often died after being orphaned.  But the country's plan, that involved year-round poaching patrols, aerial support, and fitting elephants with GPS collars to track their location, appears to be working. During the past two years no elephant has been hunted, and just recently a survey of the park's elephants revealed 21 new calves. Hopefully this is the beginning of a full recovery. It also shows what a determined government can do to protect elephants.


China: Officials in Guangzhou, China, crushed 6.1 tonnes of confiscated elephant tusks and ivory carvings to bring attention to the issue of wildlife trafficking and the decimation of African elephants for the ivory trade. This is an important first step for the country, as it raises public awareness among Chinese citizens that can lead to a reduction in demand for ivory products. China remain the world's number one ivory consumer, and, unlike other countries, does not oppose international trade in ivory. China's action follows ivory crushes in the U.S. (6 tons) and the Philippines (5 tons).


Hong Kong: Officials in Hong Kong announced last week that 28 tonnes of warehoused ivory will be incinerated - making it the largest destruction of ivory in the world. The disposal of the ivory is expected to take one to two years, and future illegal ivory seizures will be regularly destroyed. Not only will this send a strong message and encourage the public to stop buying ivory, it prevents the ivory for ever re-entering the market.



Dolphins are highly intelligent and socially complex mammals who naturally swim great distances each day with their family groups. Here, captive dolphins perform in one of the "educational shows" presented at Attica Zoological Park in Greece.

Dolphins Need Our Help!

Protect The Performing Animal Ban In Greece


In 2012, Greece became the first country in Europe to ban the use of all animals in circuses and similar performances, including in zoos, dolphinariums and other venues. According to our friends at Voice for the Animals Foundation, it appears that Greek legislators may soon take action that would weaken this important ban by making an exception for zoos.


The Attica Zoological Park currently offers dolphin shows, even though these shows are prohibited under the 2012 law. The government is attempting to exempt the zoo by re-labeling its dolphin performances as "educational shows." The very presence of dolphins at this zoo is controversial. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the zoo imported bottlenose dolphins in 2010 without the proper permits or permission of the Greek government, and the zoo was never given permission to construct a dolphin facility, for which it was fined. In April 2011, a temporary court order prohibited dolphin shows and operation of the zoo's dolphin exhibit.


The Attica Zoological Park calls its shows "education presentations," but there is nothing educational about seeing trained dolphins or any other wild animal performing tricks for the "entertainment" of an audience, or seeing them confined in unnatural and inadequate concrete tanks. Dolphins are highly intelligent and socially complex mammals who naturally swim great distances each day with their family groups. In captivity, they live in small, impoverished concrete tanks in which they are unable to express normal behaviors, and they typically die prematurely.


Animal acts do not help conserve animals in the wild. In fact, they send the wrong message about the treatment of wildlife. Greece must enforce the law as it is written, rather than cater to an essentially illegal enterprise that uses dolphins for profit. Exempting the Attica Zoological Park will only undermine, and potentially lead to overturning, this important animal protection law.




Let Greek lawmakers know that the world is watching! Please send a polite message to the following officials (see sample letter below):


Mr. Athanasios Tsaftaris

Minister, Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food


Mr. Maximos Charakopoulos

Deputy Minister, Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food


Mr. Ioannis Maniatis

Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change 




Dear Minister:


Greece showed itself to be a leader in animal protection when it prohibited the use of animals in circuses and other types of performances. So I was very concerned to hear that the government is considering an exemption for zoos, particularly the dolphin shows at the Attica Zoological Park. I urge you to reject this exemption.


While the zoo may re-label the dolphin shows as "educational demonstrations," there is nothing educational about seeing trained dolphins performing tricks for the entertainment of an audience, or seeing them confined in unnatural and inadequate concrete tanks.


Dolphins are highly intelligent and socially complex mammals who naturally swim great distances each day with their family groups. In captivity, they live in small, impoverished concrete tanks in which they are unable to express normal behaviors, and they typically die prematurely.


The times are changing and a better-educated public is finding it unacceptable to use wild animals for "entertainment."


Please set an example for other European countries - and the world - by enforcing the law that bans performing animals. Any exemption will undermine this important and progressive legislation and may even lead to overturning it.


The world is watching what Greece will do. I urge you to do the right thing by maintaining and enforcing the prohibition on all performing animals.





For Massachusetts Residents:

Take Action to Ban Bullhooks in Your State!


The Massachusetts legislature's Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee has scheduled a hearing for "An Act Relating to the Treatment of Elephants" (S. 1626) on Monday, February 3rd, at 2 p.m. This bill would prohibit use of the bullhook and chains on elephants appearing in traveling shows.


The bullhook is a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharp steel tip and hook at the end. Trainers use the bullhook to dominate and control elephants through painful punishment and the fear of it.


At PAWS, even though we have worked with highly dangerous elephants, we have never once used a bullhook.


PAWS played a leading role in passing a bullhook ban in Los Angeles. We urge you to take action and help us pass a ban on bullhooks and chaining in Massachusetts.


What: Committee meeting on S. 1626 - ban on bullhooks and chaining

When: Monday, February 3, 2014, at 2 p.m.

Where: Massachusetts State House in Boston, Room A-1; Beacon and Park Street, Boston, Mass. 01233


What you can do: 

  1. Attend the meeting on Monday, February 3.
  2. Send an email message to members of the Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee, urging them to vote in favor of S. 1626.
  3. Follow up your email with a brief phone call.
  4. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about this important bill and urge them to take action.

Sample message:


Dear _________


As a citizen who is very concerned about elephants and their treatment in circuses, I am urging you to please support S. 1626, which would prohibit use of the bullhook and chaining on elephants appearing in traveling shows.


The bullhook is a steel-tipped weapon resembling a fireplace poker that trainers use to dominate and control elephants through painful punishment and the fear of it. Chained elephants are virtually immobilized - even though elephants are naturally active and far-ranging animals - which causes physical and psychological harm.


There is no humane way to use a bullhook, which is why progressive sanctuaries and zoos have rejected the bullhook in favor of a management method that uses positive reinforcement training and a protective barrier between keepers and elephants.


The writing is on the wall. Use of the bullhook and chaining are outdated and inhumane practices that have no place in a compassionate society. The city of Los Angeles recently banned bullhooks. Use of the bullhook and chaining must be prohibited in Massachusetts as well.


Thank you.





Massachusetts Joint Committee on
Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development


Senator Kathleen O'Connor Ives
Chair, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
Phone: (617) 722-1604


Representative Cory Atkins
Chair, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
Phone: (617) 722-2015




Senator Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield)
Phone: (617) 722-1625


Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)
Phone: (617) 722-1673


Senator Robert L. Hedlund (R-Weymouth)
Phone: (617) 722-1646


Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem)
Phone: (617) 722-1410


Senator Daniel A. Wolf (D-Harwich)
Phone: (617) 722-1570




Representative Denise Andrews (D-Orange)
Phone: (617) 722-2460


Representative Daniel M. Donahue (D-Worcester)
Phone: (617) 722-2006


Representative John V. Fernandes (D-Milford)
Phone: (617) 722-2220


Representative Michael Finn (D-West Springfield)
Phone: (617) 722-2637


Representative Steven S. Howitt (D-Seekonk)
Phone: (617) 722-2305


Representative Brian R. Mannal (D-Barnstable)
Phone: (617) 722-2582


Representative Paul W. Mark (D-Peru)
Phone: (617) 722-2013


Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lee)
Phone: (617) 722-2582


Representative Chris Walsh (D-Framingham)
Phone: (617) 722-2013



A BIG Thank You!
Look what happened when Alexander, PAWS' black leopard,
found a pile of fresh rosemary in his habitat!
January Amazon Wish List Donors
Pat Jr., one of the Colton tigers, enjoys fresh rosemary donated by Richard Newton.

Richard Newton: one 25 lb. Osteoform, five bottles Renal Essentials, fresh rosemary for the animals. Kurt and Debbie Buckheim: 40 lbs. oranges. Dawn Clark: one bottle Milk Thistle, one box nitrile gloves, one Irwin multi tool; 5-pk work gloves; Stanley all-in-one screwdriver; one box trash bags; Briggs motor oil; one safari hat for the keepers. Kelly Martin: one bottle Milk Thistle, one box Raisin Bran. Kristin Dodds: one 5 lbs. Psyllium. Linda S. Bollinger: two 100-ft hoses for the elephant barns. Jill Beverlin: 20 lb. Psyllium, one shovel for the elephant barn, one box handwarmers for the keepers, three 40 lb. boxes of oranges. Christine Neiburger: one 10 lb. tub of Vionate, one safari hat for the keepers. Ann Houstonnevarez: two boxes nitrile gloves. Marisa Landsberg: one bottle Cosequin DS 132 ct., one bottle Renal Essentials. Elise N. Zoli: one bottle Cosequin DS 800 ct., three bottles Azodyl, one gallon Optima 365. Victor and Laura Chakravarty: one bottle Renavast, one bottle Milk Thistle, one bottle Renal Essentials.


Anonymous Donors: two clear glass cutting boards, one set banker boxes for the Galt office, one gallon Chlorhexidine.


Other Donations
Kirk Tracy, owner of Tracy Trees, a Christmas tree farm in Oakdale, CA, donated 60 of his trees to the animals in early January. Elephants, bears, lions, tigers and a black leopard all enjoyed Kirk's donation. Mara had a fantastic time with her tree. Click here to open a PDF slide show of "Mara & Her Tree." Thank you Kirk! 
View wish list items that are needed, but not listed on the Amazon list, here.

Looking For That Special Valentine's Day Gift?

Honor your Valentine this year with a special gift from PAWS.
Our adoptions, partnerships and "Seeing the Elephant" getaways will warm the caring heart of your special Valentine.

Contact us today.
There are many ways you can 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
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