Celebrating 30 years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.
A Report From The Field:
PAWS' Elephant Behavior Study

By Catherine Doyle

PAWS' Director of Science, Research and Advocacy 


In September 2013, I began a long-term behavioral study involving our African elephants, Mara, Maggie and Lulu. The study currently is investigating the daily activities of the elephants to determine exactly how they spend their time at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary.


Each day that I study the elephants, I focus on one particular elephant and follow her activities for five to six hours. The fun part of the job (as if watching elephants isn't enriching enough!) is getting to know each elephant's personality, watching their interactions, and observing the changes in behavior that come with different seasons as the elephants respond to changing environmental conditions.


In April and May, refreshing spring rains resulted in lush, green grass at ARK 2000 - which the elephants obviously relish. They spend their days mainly foraging, selecting the tastiest grasses. Lulu kicks at the ground a bit to dislodge the grass, and Mara likes to shake off the dirt before eating it. You often see the elephants with bright green clumps of grass hanging from their mouths as they chew on the sweet vegetation. 


This is also the time when the elephants will utilize the far reaches of their habitat. Contrary to critics who claim that elephants in sanctuaries don't fully use the space they're given, I've seen Mara, Maggie and Lulu use every bit of the habitat. I've observed them climbing the steepest hills with ease as they forage and explore. And it's often a challenge to keep the elephants in sight as they move deep into the habitat. Our elephants' behaviors should come as no surprise. In the wild, elephants spend most of their day moving and foraging widely.


During my study I've also learned that Lulu and Maggie (pictured above) generally prefer to remain close together. At times, Lulu will follow Maggie as she makes her way up a hill for preferred trees or green grass. While Mara may go off on her own, she's never too far away.


When it comes time for Maggie to take an afternoon nap, I've often observed Mara and Lulu remaining close by the entire time she sleeps - sometimes no more than a body length away. It isn't until Maggie gets up that Mara and Lulu will go about their business. While waiting for Maggie to wake up, they may stand and doze or dust themselves. 


One of the most important things I've learned during these months of observations is that you may be able to take elephants out of the wild, but you can't take their wild natures away from them - I'm reminded of this each and every time I study the elephants at ARK 2000. I'm also reminded of the urgent need to protect elephants where they live and to preserve their habitats in Africa and Asia. Although we provide more natural and spacious conditions for the elephants in our care, captivity will always be inherently limiting for them. No captive facility can truly replicate elephants' natural environments, social networks or life experiences. At PAWS, we do the best we can to give the elephants the most comfortable life possible in captivity, and we thank each and every supporter who helps us achieve this.


Stay tuned for more updates from the field when I talk about changes in the seasons and related behaviors.


L-R: Lulu, Maggie (napping) and Mara
Registration Is Now Open For PAWS' 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference


PAWS is celebrating its 30th year of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy with a very special three-day conference and anniversary gala. You don't want to miss these exciting events!


The 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference will take place on November 8-10 in Burbank, Calif. (adjacent to Los Angeles). This is a premier global summit that focuses on the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals, especially those used in entertainment. Its aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife. 


Saturday, November 8 | ELEPHANTS

Sunday, November 9 | CAPTIVE WILD ANIMALS

Monday, November 10 | CAMPAIGNS & ADVOCACY


PAWS conferences are highly anticipated events that attract people from around the world and feature exciting speakers who are leaders in their fields, including scientific research, ethics, law, animal care and welfare, and conservation.


To register for the conference online, see a partial list of conference speakers/participants, and to view information on travel, hotel accommodations and transportation, click here. To register by phone, call the PAWS office at 209-745-2606, M-F, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.

For information on event sponsorship opportunities, click here.


To mark PAWS' 30th anniversary, we are presenting a very special gala on Saturday, November 8. The evening will include a delicious vegan buffet dinner, live and silent auction, and a program featuring Hollywood celebrities and longtime PAWS supporters.


If you do not plan to attend the conference but would like to purchase a ticket for the gala, click here to see ticket and table prices and to purchase tickets.


We look forward to seeing you in November!




Meet Oma!


Oma is a female black bear who arrived at PAWS 12 years ago after the Houston SPCA confiscated her from a private owner in Texas where she had been kept in a situation of severe neglect. Black bears Cinnamon, Sampson, and Scarface (who passed away from cancer 10 years ago), and tiger Nelson were also rescued at the same time and brought to PAWS.

Oma is a 20-year-old black bear.


Oma's birth date is February 12, 1994, which makes her just over 20 years old. Like many animals at PAWS, Oma is considered elderly and has special needs because of her age. She has severe arthritis and walks with a "hitch" in her gait, and it sometimes takes a lot of effort for her to get up from lying down. PAWS' keepers give her soft bedding and make sure that she has many comfortable resting spots to choose from in her spacious habitat.


Oma receives special medications for arthritis, including Cosequin, which comes in capsules that are hidden in special food treats every day. Cosequin contains glucosamine and it can be helpful in supporting joint function in arthritic animals.


Oma has been in good health overall since she came to PAWS, but she did have a bout of stomach and digestive problems last year. She is now receiving a special diet that is tailored to her nutritional needs and one that she can easily digest. One of her favorite foods is salmon - an excellent source of protein and omega fatty acids.


Bears are omnivores and, like us, they enjoy variety in their diets. The bears at PAWS have the opportunity to eat acorns that fall from the trees, fresh green grass in the spring, and they are also fed a daily diet of meat or fish, seasonal vegetables and fruits. As an extra treat, small amounts of high quality dog kibble are hidden throughout the bears' habitats each day which encourages them to forage and explore.

Oma diet includes salmon.
One of Oma's favorite foods is salmon, an excellent source of protein and omega fatty acids.


You can help support the special medical needs of Oma and the many other elderly animals that call PAWS home. Please visit our Amazon Wish List here. With a few clicks of the mouse, your donation of a bottle of Cosequin can be sent to directly PAWS. It's an easy and a wonderful way to support the animals. We recognize all wish list donations and donors by name in our monthly newsletter (please check the box to send your donation as a "gift" - otherwise Amazon donations arrive as anonymous).


PAWS, and especially Oma and the other animals, thank you for your kindness and generosity!


Meet the rest of PAWS' bears here.




Janice Clark: In Memoriam


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend - animal welfare advocate, award-winning photographer, avid birder and 
Galt sanctuary manager - Janice Clark.
Janice died peacefully on the morning of May 9, surrounded by her loved ones in her cottage on the Galt sanctuary grounds - a home she often described as "Heaven on Earth." During her final days she was still comforted by the sounds of the PAWS animals calling each evening. 


"Janice was one of our first volunteers and first employees," said PAWS president Ed Stewart. "She was PAWS' biggest fan and Pat and I thought of her as family. She was always upbeat and optimistic - a perfect fit for PAWS."


For 28 years Janice photographed PAWS animals. In her spare time she photographed nature - birds in particular. Last year her photo of an eagle took second place in a national Canon photography contest. We were never more proud.


Throughout her long battle with cancer Janice turned to Facebook to inform friends and family of her progress and to share her latest photograph. Her postings were always funny and heartwarming - just like her. Not long ago she posted the following: "In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."


She was love, gentleness and grace personified.


Soar with the eagles dear friend.

L-R: PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart, Amboseli Elephant Research Project resident scientist Vicki Fishlock and Amboseli Trust for Elephants U.S. executive director, Betsy Swart. African elephant Thika is in the background.
Amboseli Trust For Elephants Visits PAWS

PAWS was pleased to welcome Vicki Fishlock, resident scientist for the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) in Kenya, and Betsy Swart the U.S. executive director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) to our ARK 2000 wildlife sanctuary this month. Vicki and Betsy work under world renowned scientist Dr. Cynthia Moss, founder and director of AERP and ATE, who heads the longest running study of wild elephants ever undertaken, documenting the lives of nearly 3,000 elephants.

L-R: Betsy Swart, Catherine Doyle and Vicki Fishlock at ARK 2000.


This was the first trip to PAWS for Vicki, who was delighted to see our elephants enjoying their large natural habitats. Sanctuary manager Brian Busta provided a training demonstration with Asian bull Nicholas, which ended with Nick's rumbling "purr" as he ate his favorite food, oat bran.


PAWS is proud of its longtime friendship with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and the wonderful people from that organization who do so much for elephants.



"The Ethics of Captivity"

New Book Includes Chapter By PAWS'

Director of Science, Research and Advocacy


PAWS is proud to announce publication of a new book, "The Ethics of Captivity," edited by Lori Gruen, that features a chapter on captive elephants written by our own Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, Catherine Doyle.


Published by the Oxford University Press, the book contains chapters authored by an array of knowledgeable writers, including Lori Marino (captive cetaceans) and Steve Ross (captive nonhuman primates), who, along with Catherine, will be speaking at the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference.


The book is available for purchase at


Read a review of "The Ethics of Captivity" by Marc Bekoff, former Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Marc is a speaker at PAWS' International Captive Wildlife Conference in November.



Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (seated) has just signed the Los Angeles Bullhook Ban. Back row, from left to right: Jim Bickhart, former associate director - transportation; Catherine Doyle, PAWS' Director of Science, Research and Advocacy; Councilmember Paul Koretz (author of the bullhook ban); animal activist and fundraiser Cheri Shankar; former Koretz staffer Sheila Donya; Brenda Barnette, General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services; Michelle Cho, VP of HSUS Hollywood Office. Photo courtesy of


Los Angeles Bullhook Ban

Formally Signed Into Law


PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, was part of a small group invited to witness Mayor Eric Garcetti officially sign the Los Angeles bullhook ban into law. PAWS worked for two years to pass the ban, which makes Los Angeles the largest U.S. city with an ordinance restricting this cruel weapon that is used to control elephants. The ban goes into effect on January 1, 2017.


The Paw Project Movie
Available On Netflix June 1
The critically acclaimed one-hour documentary, The Paw Project, will be available for viewing on Netflix, starting June 1, 2014. The film focuses on the declawing of both exotic and domesticated cats, and chronicles the battle to outlaw this cruel practice.
Declawing is a barbaric amputation of the last bone in the cat's toe that often cripples both big and small cats due to bone fragments left behind and debilitating arthritis caused by cats compensating for painful feet by putting abnormal stress on other joints. About 25% of American domesticated cats are unnecessarily declawed. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has enacted a ban on the declawing and defanging of wild and exotic carnivores. 


Please take this opportunity to see this engaging and inspiring film on Netflix. Encourage your animal-loving friends, family and colleagues to see it as well!


PAWS is very pleased that Dr. Jennifer Conrad, exotic animal veterinarian and Founder and Director of The Paw Project, will be participating in PAWS' 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference.


For more information visit




Tell Animal Planet:

No More Animal Exploitation!


In January, Mother Jones magazine exposed the hit Animal Planet show, Call of the Wildman, for its exploitation of wild animals. The show claims to "rescue" wild animals but author James West showed that it actually procured them for the show, making the animals "performers in a Call of the Wildman script." He reported on a drugged zebra, animals who were improperly handled and allegedly mistreated, and a newborn raccoon who died. You can read the article here.


This week, in its drive for ratings, Animal Planet is resorting to sensationalism and the baseless vilification of gray wolves during its Monster Week series with an episode titled, "Man-Eating Super Wolves." A misleading promotion for the episode states: "Razor sharp teeth, killer instincts, and senses so precise they hear your beating heart, and your fear. They're on the hunt, and now with numbers growing out of control, they're threatening humans like never before." Never mind that there are only two verified accounts of wolves killing humans, according to highly regarded animal behaviorist and author Marc Bekoff. Or that wolves, who typically avoid humans, are only found in a handful of U.S. states and are struggling to survive.


Take action now!


Let Animal Planet know that it is failing its viewing public and the animal world it purports to celebrate. Tell them it's wrong to exploit wild animals for ratings and that you want to see truly educational shows that promote better understanding and the conservation of wild animals - not inaccurate, sensationalist programming that instills misunderstanding and fear.


Send an email to Discovery Communications' (which owns Animal Planet) Viewer Relations Department here. Under "Question Regarding" be sure to select "Network/Program Related" from the pull-down menu.


Call Discovery Communications at (571) 262-4899.


You can also call Discovery Communications' Ethics Hotline at (800) 398-6395.


Please take action now, while the episode is airing!


Thanks to Marc Bekoff for alerting PAWS to this important issue. You can read more in his popular Animal Emotions blog.

Fighting To Save Elephants
From The Ivory Trade


Poachers Could Wipe Out

Elephants In Tanzania In 7 Years


Agence France reports that conservationists at a recent UN-backed conference warned that elephants in Tanzania are being poached at such an alarming rate that they could be completely wiped out in just seven years. The conference sought to develop strategies to counter sophisticated criminal gangs and to end poaching in that country. Tanzanian Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal called for international assistance in battling increasingly well-organized and equipped poaching gangs.


Hong Kong Begins Ivory Burn


Hong Kong, a major market and transit point for smuggled ivory, began burning nearly 30 tonnes of confiscated ivory - one of the largest stockpiles in the world. Although 117 tonnes of ivory remain in a legal stockpile in circulation in the city, the three largest retailers in Hong Kong - Chinese Arts & Crafts (HK) Ltd., Wing On Department Store and Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium - say they have removed ivory from their shelves (Wing On will do so in July). According to Annamiticus, some Hong Kong legislators have expressed support for a total ban on the sale and trade of ivory products.


Actions You Can Take To Help


California Residents: March For Elephants is sponsoring a petition aimed at Governor Brown and California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham, calling for an end to all trade in ivory in the state. According to the petition, California is the third largest ivory market in the U.S., with hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


New York Residents: New York is the largest ivory market in the U.S. Please make two important phone calls to support State Senate bill S. 7194, legislation that would end New York's ivory trade and increase penalties for illegal wildlife trafficking. Call your state senator (click here to find your senator and contact information) and Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390. Simply state that as a New York resident you support S. 7194 and ending the ivory trade in the state.


Worldwide: Sign a petition initiated by Hong Kong For Elephants to ban all ivory sales in Hong Kong. 


Good News For Animals
Used In Entertainment
The Ketchum (Idaho) City Council voted unanimously to ban performances that feature exotic wild animals, including those in traveling shows and circuses. Students from the Sage School led this impressive effort, with the help of teacher Maya Burrell.


Miami Beach, Florida, has banned the use of bullhooks and the constant chaining of elephants. Miami Beach joins six other compassionate Florida cities that have restrictions in place on performances that feature animals. Congratulations to Animal Rights Foundation of Florida on this victory! 


Voters in Clatsop County, Oregon, voted to ban the use of bullhooks, electric prods and whips on elephants, big cats and primates. The measure passed with an impressive 69 percent of the votes.


Two major adventure travel companies have rejected animal cruelty. STA Travel,which provides tours and expeditions for 2.5 million students and young people each year, announced it will no longer book tours that take in elephant rides and the Tiger Temple in Thailand (where tourists interact with captive tigers), as well as trips to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., and San Diego, Calif. Australia-based Intrepid Travel has stopped booking trips that include elephant rides and entertainment venues with captive elephants in Asia, based on results of a three-year elephant welfare study. 


Help Us Reach 30,000 Facebook Likes!


Help PAWS reach the 30,000 mark during our 30th anniversary year!


Be sure to "like" our Facebook page. If you've already done that, please share our latest post with all your Facebook friends and encourage them to "like" PAWS. This is a great way to spread the word about the life-saving work that we do, and to share the many photos and videos we post of our elephants, bears, tigers and other animals who have found refuge at PAWS - not to mention the latest news and action alerts. (FYI - New videos of African elephants Thika and Toka were posted this week!)


Click on our Facebook link below. (You do not need to be a Facebook member to view our page. However, you must be registered in order to "like" us.)


Join Us For Our

Wines, Tigers & Beers Fundraiser


Join PAWS for a very special fundraising event on Saturday, June 21, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to benefit our many rescued and retired animals. Wines, Tigers & Beers is a favorite event where guests sample regional wines, thirst quenching beers and refreshing, non-alcoholic fruit punches, all paired with tasty vegan and vegetarian foods prepared by our team of volunteer "Wild Chefs."


PAWS is proud to welcome San Francisco-based Anchor Brewing as our exclusive beer sponsor this year. Anchor Brewing is America's first craft brewery, creating crowd-pleasing beers since 1896. For PAWS' event, Anchor will be providing its popular Anchor Steam beer, Anchor California Lager, and its newest creation, Anchor IPA, which features an elephant on its label! Anchor brewmaster Ollie Lagomarsino will be on hand to talk about Anchor's products and answer questions.


Guests will have the opportunity to see and learn about the animals we care for at our ARK 2000 wildlife sanctuary, browse a silent auction with one-of-a-kind treasures, and shop our popular world market gift shop for "must have" items - while supporting PAWS' lifesaving work for captive exotic and wild animals in need.


Don't miss this very special event. Tickets now on sale! Click here to purchase online, or call the PAWS office at 209-745-2606 to charge by phone.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

ARK 2000 Sanctuary

1250 Pool Station Road

San Andreas, CA

$65 per person


This is an adults-only event (21 and over).



Pat Derby with 71

Remembering Pat Derby


PAWS co-founder Pat Derby continues to inspire each of us at PAWS, as well as countless people around the world. She was a spirited leader who created an enduring legacy through her unfaltering vision of making the world a better place for captive wildlife, especially performing animals. We dedicate this year's International Captive Wildlife Conference to her.


"Ed and I built ARK 2000 for 71," Pat once stated. "All of our programs were developed from our experiences with her. Without 71, there would be no PAWS. She lived in an atmosphere of love, peace and dignity, and she led her group of elephants with wisdom and courage. She will always be the cornerstone of PAWS and the elephant sanctuary at ARK 2000."


In honor of Pat's birthday on June 7, and in memory of 71, the special elephant who was indeed the cornerstone of ARK 2000, we invite you to make a donation of $71 or more to help us care for the animals living at our sanctuaries.


Donors of memorial gifts of $71 and above, will each receive a commemorative DVD (see below) of the Pat Derby Memorial Celebration held at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento on March 29, 2013. When you make your donation, please let us know that your gift is in memory of Pat and 71. Thank you.




Pat Derby: A Memorial Celebration
June 7, 1942-February 15, 2013

2-Disc 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.

A BIG Thank You!

May Amazon Wish List Donors


Carol Greenstone: 1, 100-ft. water hose. Kelly Martin: 1 spool of trimmer wire, 1 tub of Flax Seed. Jennifer Sukhdeo: 4 bottles of Milk Thistle for the bears. Cris Fraser: 1 box  of Frosted Flakes for the elephants, 1 bottle of Milk Thistle for the bears. Tony Rakocija: 1 box nitrite gloves for PAWS keepers, 1 spool red trimmer line. Mary Nelson: 2 bottles of Milk Thistle for the bears. Julie Frost: Toshiba laptop computer for ARK 2000/Ed Stewart, 1 GoPro HERO3 LCD Touch BacPac for Dr. Gai's use, 1 Dorfman safari hat for the keepers. Anonymous Donors: 2 cases of copy paper for the PAWS office. 

View wish list items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list, here.

Other Donations: A special thank you to Robert and Peggy Buckner, and Georgia Towels, for sending us their used pillowcases for Ferguson, a macaque monkey. Keepers use the pillowcases to make comfy beds for him.


There are many ways you can help PAWS animals:
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 

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