Celebrating 30 years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.
An Update On PAWS' Black Leopard

In December of 2012, Mrs. Audrey Steele Burnand and family surprised us with an extraordinary and generous donation that enabled us to build a new enclosure for black leopard Alexander at ARK 2000. Mrs. Burnand's daughter Alyson Rossi, son-in-law Cecil Rossi, her granddaughter Kristin Stewart and Kristin's husband Mike, made a special trip to ARK 2000 to present Mrs. Burnand's check to PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart. Moving Alexander from our Galt sanctuary to San Andreas was a dream of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, and she was able to hear the construction of his spacious new habitat from her bed before she passed away last February.


Alexander's new enclosure is situated on a hill overlooking the African elephant habitat. Like all leopards, Alex enjoys being up high, and this beautiful new habitat is well-designed for this. When a large tree fell on a remote part of ARK 2000 during a storm last year, we used some of its massive branches to build a ramp leading to the top of a tall platform where Alexander is often seen lounging as he surveys the scene from tree level. 


Recent rains have encouraged the grass to grow again, and Alex now enjoys crouching and hiding in it, then suddenly bounding out to surprise staff as they bring him breakfast. The hilly terrain has provided another benefit besides its commanding view - Alexander has strengthened and toned his muscles as he climbs and jumps.


With heartfelt appreciation, we once again thank Mrs. Burnand for her incredible donation and all of the wonderful things it has made possible for Alexander. We also remember and thank her family members who were at ARK 2000 to welcome Alexander to his new home when he arrived from Galt last May (view arrival story and video here; view new video of Alexander below).


ALEXANDER | Black Leopard
ALEXANDER | Black Leopard
Click here to adopt Alexander.

PAWS' Ed Stewart Featured In
Scientific American Article


Scientific American just released a fascinating article on elephant intelligence, "The Science Is In: Elephants Are Even Smarter Than We Realized," which describes the exceptional cognitive capabilities of elephants, such as empathy, a sense of self, cooperative problem solving, and mourning their dead. But more importantly, it questions how we can justify keeping these very complex beings in captivity.


PAWS president, Ed Stewart, weighs in on the issue, stating: "Elephants should not be in captivity - period. It doesn't matter if it's a zoo, a circus or a sanctuary. The social structure isn't correct, the space is not right, the climate is not right, the food is not right. You can never do enough to match the wild. They are unbelievably intelligent. With all of that brainpower - to be as limited as they are in captivity - it's a wonder they cope at all. In 20 years I hope we will look back and think, 'Can you believe we ever kept those animals in cages?'"


Ed is joined by internationally recognized scientists who believe in phasing out the confinement of elephants, including preeminent elephant researcher Cynthia Moss, director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.


While this article is on target in its overall discussion of elephant intelligence and the ways captivity harms elephants, it should be noted that it incorrectly suggests that most elephants in zoos were captive-born. This is not the case. The great majority of captive elephants were abducted from their families in the wild at young ages to be put on display in zoos and circuses. 


In Memoriam: Tiger Ray Charles


PAWS is saddened to report the passing of Ray Charles, one of 39 tigers rescued from deplorable conditions of abuse and neglect from a facility in Colton, California. These were the last of more than 50 big cats needing emergency placement after the defunct "Tiger Rescue" pseudo-sanctuary was closed down by authorities in 2003. Over 90 dead animals were found on the property, included dozens of tiger carcasses on the ground and 58 dead tiger and leopard cubs in freezers. Many of the living tigers were covered with wounds and in poor health. Two African lions, 11 leopards, two alligators, as well as numerous fallow deer and chickens were also rescued and found suitable homes at sanctuaries around  the country. The owner of "Tiger Rescue" was eventually found guilty of 56 felony counts and sentenced to two years in prison, five years of probation, and could never again possess animals, care for, or volunteer for, any place with animals.


To move them to PAWS, each tiger was coaxed into a spacious transport cage filled with a thick bed of straw. Each cage was loaded into an enclosed trailer, and groups of six to eight tigers at a time were transported to ARK 2000. Ray Charles was the very first tiger to enter a transport cage, on the first day of the first trip. PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, recalls vividly that day back in 2004: "All of the major media outlets were there to cover this historic rescue. Ray was the first to step into a cage, enticed by the comfortable bedding (something he had probably never had before) and the scent of a piece of meat. Once safely inside the transport cage, he slept peacefully through most of the trip north to ARK 2000."

Handsome, dignified and stoic, 
Ray Charles will be missed by all.


Ray was special in many ways. The first thing that we noticed about him was that he had crossed eyes and appeared to have poor eyesight. After allowing him several weeks to settle into his new home, Dr. Gai enlisted the help of ophthalmologists from the University of California, Davis (UCD), School of Veterinary Medicine, to perform a thorough examination of his eyes. He was diagnosed with a congenital birth defect, commonly seen in inbred cats, which affects the muscles behind the eyes and causes them to cross. He was also diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes, further compromising his eyesight. Crossed eyes are a common consequence of irresponsible inbreeding of cats, and occurs when people breed closely related tigers to enhance gene expression or to produce white tigers.


Ray thrived during his 10 years at PAWS, exploring his large habitat, lounging in the tall grass and swimming in his pool. Over the years he has enjoyed the companionship of several other tigers, most recently Amelia - another Colton tiger. Ray succumbed to renal failure at the estimated age of 20 years old. Since none of the tigers from this group came with any sort of medical record, their exact ages are unknown, so he may have been even older. Amelia has moved to a nearby enclosure, so that she can be close to Jake, Apollo and Zeus, and she seems to enjoy their company. Handsome, dignified and stoic, Ray Charles will be missed by all.


The biggest tiger rescue in U.S. History
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Colton tiger rescue. There will be more to come this summer as we remember this monumental project, including thoughts from PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart, stories from ARK 2000 tiger supervisor Renae Smith, and memories and photos from PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai who personally escorted each tiger to ARK 2000, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for all.
Our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of Ray Charles' adoptive parents. Many of you have donated for his care every year since his arrival at PAWS 10 years ago.
Click here to donate to PAWS in memory of Ray.

New Elephant Photos & Videos From ARK 2000 
We hope you enjoy these images of the elephants at ARK 2000. If you would like to see more, please visit the Performing Animal Welfare Society Facebook page, where we regularly post our latest photos and videos. In honor of PAWS' 30th anniversary, we want to reach 30,000 Facebook "likes" this year, and we need your help. Please share PAWS videos and photos with your Facebook friends, and invite them to "like" our page!
African elephants Maggie and Lulu walking in the rain. ARK 2000 sanctuary manager Brian Busta captured this amazing photo on February 9, 2014.
Mara, Maggie and Lulu napping.
TOKA | Climbing Hills & Browsing In Trees
TOKA | Climbing Hills & Browsing In Trees
THIKA | Fun In The Mud
January 2014 | Toronto Elephant Iringa Explores African Habitat
IRINGA | Explores African Habitat
PRINCE | PAWS' Asian Bull Elephant
PRINCE | Asian Bull Elephant
WANDA & THE TURKEYS | Strange Bedfellows
WANDA & TURKEYS | Strange Bedfellows


Rhode Island Proposes Bullhook Ban


Rhode Island is again proposing legislation to prohibit the inhumane treatment of elephants by banning the use of bullhooks and the prolonged chaining of elephants in circuses and traveling shows. PAWS testified in Rhode Island last year in support of this key bill, and we will be there again this year, and every year that this legislation is proposed, until this critical bill is passed.  


Elephants in circuses and traveling shows are controlled through cruel practices that include use of the bullhook and chaining. Handlers use the bullhook, a steel-spiked rod similar to a fireplace poker, to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. The bullhook is used to prod, hook and strike elephants so they comply with every command.


Chaining virtually immobilizes elephants, resulting in painful foot and joint disorders and abnormal repetitive swaying and rocking. In circuses, elephants are chained for at least 17 hours a day - and far longer when transported across the country in crowded train cars and semi-trailer trucks.


PAWS thanks Reps. Raymond Gallison and Patricia Serpa (RI House), and Sens. Archambault and Ruggiero (RI Senate) for introducing this important legislation that would better protect elephants and safeguard the public.


Stay tuned for more information on how Rhode Island residents can help ensure this bill is passed.


More news on legislation to ban bullhooks:


PAWS is supporting a similar bill to protect performing animals in Massachusetts where a hearing took place this month. PAWS president Ed Stewart submitted letters of support based on his decades of experience both with elephant training and management and his investigations into the inhumane treatment of elephants in circuses.



More Countries Destroy Ivory Stockpiles


The Republic of Chad in Africa burned 1.1 tons of ivory in February to combat the rampant elephant poaching that has decimated the country's once thriving elephant population. Fifty years ago, 50,000 elephants roamed the country. Today there are an estimated 1,500. 


France became the first European country to destroy its stockpile of illegal ivory when it crushed three tonnes of ivory at a location near the Eiffel Tower.


Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete announced that the country would destroy its 90 metric tonne stockpile of ivory, valued at about $50 million. The country has also launched an anti-poaching campaign. This is a key move by Tanzania which had previously sought to sell its stockpile. 




New U.S. Policy Will Ban

Most Commercial Trade Of Elephant Ivory


The U.S. Government has announced it will ban the commercial trade of elephant ivory by prohibiting its import, export and resale within the U.S., with some exceptions. The new measures will: 

  • Ban the import of antique African elephant ivory (other ivory imports are already banned)
  • Ban the export of all African elephant ivory, except antiques
  • Ban the resale of elephant ivory across state lines, except antiques
  • Prohibit antique ivory sales within states unless the seller can show an item was lawfully imported before 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants 

Items must be more than 100 years old to qualify as an antique and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act, criteria that sellers will have to demonstrate. For example, if an ivory item was imported before 1990, the seller will need to produce export permits from the country of origin and a U.S. import permit.


PAWS applauds this new policy, however, unscrupulous people will find ways to falsify documentation and to pass off new ivory as antique. Ivory items may be labeled as having come from other animals, such as walrus, sperm whale, narwhal, hippo teeth, warthog, and boar, or even extinct mammoths dug up from the frozen tundra in Alaska and Siberia. Sellers now bear the burden of proof for antique items, enforcement is still a concern. For these reasons, PAWS will continue to support a total ban on the sale of ivory. 



PAWS Supports Critical Legislation

To Combat Ivory Sales


PAWS has joined forces with animal protection and conservation organizations around the world, becoming a signatory to letters that were presented as testimony in support of legislation to ban the sale of ivory in Hawaii and New York. These bills have been passed unanimously out of the states' House Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, respectively.


The Hawaii bill may be up for a full House vote as early as next week. If you live in Hawaii, please contact your Representative and urge support for this important measure.


Good News For Performing Animals


Another city has adopted a ban on performing animals. The Mexican city of Culiacán is the latest international municipality to ban the use of performing animals in circuses. PETA reports that in recent months Mexico's Legislative Assembly of the Federal District approved a bill prohibiting animals in circuses in Mexico City, and the Congress of the state of Querétaro did the same, as did the municipality of Naucalpan.



A BIG Thank You!

February Amazon 
Wish List Donors

Tory Braden: 1 bottle Renal Essentials. Faye Anglin and David McNeil: 1 bottle Milk Thistle, 1 box Frosted Flakes, 40 lbs. oranges. Pamela C. Moucha: 1 box Raisin Bran, 1 bottle Renal Essentials. Cary L. Dier: 1 RenAvast, 2 bottles Milk Thistle. Carrie Lundberg: 1 bottle Milk Thistle, 1 bottle Renal Essentials, 2 boxes Frosted Flakes. 

View wish list items that are needed, but not listed on the Amazon list, here.
One of the items we've listed on our Amazon Wish List is RenAvast, a relatively new product that helps animals with kidney disease which is common in older cats. Robert (pictured), our resident bobcat, has shown remarkable improvement on this product. Our veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, would like to try it with other cats at PAWS, and we will therefore have an ongoing need. 

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

Learn more 

Pat Derby: A Memorial Celebration
2-Disk DVD $30.00 + $5.95 shipping and handling

A celebration of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby's life and legacy was held at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, California, on March 29, 2013. Pat passed away on February 15, 2013. The entire three-hour program is now available on DVD with the proceeds from its sale benefiting PAWS' animals. This two-disc set includes heartfelt tributes from Pat's partner and PAWS' co-founder Ed Stewart, as well as Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Lily Tomlin, Tony LaRussa, Kevin Nealon, Congressman Sam Farr, and many more.

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