Celebrating 30 years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.
From Zoo To Circus To Sanctuary: Celebrating Bull Elephant Prince - Three Years At PAWS
This month marks three years since Asian bull elephant Prince arrived at our ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary. He is a retired circus elephant. It may surprise you to learn that Prince actually began his life in a zoo.


PRINCE: Day 2, Introduction To Outdoor Yard & Pool
Prince: Day 2 at ARK 2000 -
Introduction To Outdoor Yard/Pool

Prince was born in May 1987 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore. When he was only 16 months old, Prince was separated from his mother, Me-tu, and sent to a circus. In free-ranging elephant families, calves would never be separated from their mothers at that young an age; they would still be nursing and completely dependent on them.


Prince was not the only elephant born at the Oregon Zoo and sent to a circus. Other elephants born in Portland who were relocated and used for entertainment and in circuses include Sabu, Stoney, Cora and McClane.


Prince is a living example of the historically close ties that zoos have maintained with circuses - and unfortunately those ties continue to endure today: 

  • In 2012, the Seattle Times exposed the Oregon Zoo's breeding contract with Have Trunk Will Travel that gave ownership of the zoo's new elephant calf, Lily, to the notorious company. Have Trunk Will Travel provides elephants for rides, films and circuses, and was caught on video striking elephants with bullhooks and using an electric shock prod during training. The news sparked a public firestorm and resulted in the zoo purchasing Lily and her father, Tusko, who lives at the Oregon Zoo.
  • Representatives from Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos have testified in opposition to legislation that would restrict the use of elephants in circuses, specifically through bullhook bans.
  •  A now-retired deputy director of the Oregon Zoo was a paid expert witness for a major circus during a federal trial concerning the abuse of Asian elephants.
  • The AZA has failed to take a position against the use of elephants in circuses, despite clear evidence that elephants suffer from intensive confinement, spend most of their lives immobilized in chains, and are subject to violent training methods. 


Fortunately for Prince, he now lives in a spacious habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary, where he loves to spend time in his pool. In fact, he likes the water so much he has two pools! Prince will also splash around in a mud hole, covering himself with a layer of wet earth that protects his skin. While elephants have thick skin, it is surprisingly sensitive. They can feel the bite of an insect. Prince prefers to spend time outdoors at night, sleeping soundly under the stars. He will even sleep outdoors during the cooler winter months.


Prince: I Love My Pool!
Prince: I Love My Pool!

Prince has come a long way since his birth at the Oregon Zoo. Nothing can ever make up for the trauma of being separated from his mother at such a young age, or for the zoo sending him to a life in the circus. PAWS is just grateful that Prince has been part of our family for these three years and that we have been able to give him a life of peace and kind care. This was made possible by you, our wonderful supporters. We all love you, Prince!





Ed Stewart Remembers Pat Derby

At AR2014 Conference

The 2014 Animal Rights National Conference was held in Los Angeles earlier this month, and as part of its Saturday evening program tribute was paid to five great animal protection leaders we have lost. PAWS' president Ed Stewart addressed a receptive crowd of animal advocates and personally spoke about his partner and PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby. His talk was accompanied by a slideshow with highlights of Pat's life and groundbreaking work for captive exotic and wild animals, including those in circuses and canned hunts. Ed described the important legacy that Pat has left in her field of animal advocacy work - from the creation of PAWS' 2300-acre natural habitat sanctuary, ARK 2000, to legislation that continues to protect the welfare of captive wildlife today.


Congratulations To PAWS' Friend And

Baseball Great Tony LaRussa!


Everyone at PAWS sends their best to baseball great Tony LaRussa - who is also a friend to animals - on his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in

Tony LaRussa and friend.

Cooperstown, New York. He is the 23rd manager to earn the game's highest individual honor, with a career that included 2,728 victories, the third-most all-time wins for a manager. His wins included three world championships. LaRussa managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals.


In addition to his stellar accomplishments in baseball, Tony LaRussa is a vegetarian and dedicated animal advocate. He is the co-founder, with wife Elaine, of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)* in Walnut Creek, California, which rescues dogs and cats from public shelters and brings animals and people together to enrich each other's lives and teach children to care.


In 2011, after LaRussa announced his retirement from 33 years in baseball, PAWS' co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby sent the baseball legend a joking text, offering him a job at the sanctuary. LaRussa had helped PAWS lobby for elephants and has visited them at the sanctuary many times. Little did they know their job offer would make headlines! LaRussa revealed to late night talk show host David Letterman that his first offer of employment came from PAWS. He said: "There's a group called Performing Animal Welfare Society just outside of Sacramento and they offered me a job as an elephant keeper." The story went viral. You can read more about it in Pat Derby's "Rumblings from PAWS" blog here.


Congratulations again to our good friend on this very special recognition of his amazing career! 

3 World Series titles!

2,728 career wins!
*28,824 (and counting) animals saved at the ARF shelter!


Simba was one of four rescued Bolivian circus lions living at ARK 2000.

Simba: In Memoriam


It is with heavy hearts that we must inform you of a loss in the PAWS family. Simba, one of four lions rescued by Animal Defenders International from a Bolivian circus, died on June 27th at the estimated age of 12 years. Simba, after a lifetime of performing in circus acts and enduring years of traveling and confinement, arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in May 2010 with fellow lions Bambek, Daktari, and Camba. It has been a deeply moving experience to see these majestic African lions experience life as lions: the freedom to explore the tall grass of their spacious habitats; the three males lounging together in a pile of tangled yellow/brown manes; and the nightly chorus of roars as the sun sets.


Bolivian Circus Lions go to PAWS Paradise
Bolivian Circus Lions go to PAWS Paradise


We have already mourned the loss of Daktari, who died of cancer in 2012. Although histopathology results are still pending from Simba's necropsy, performed at U.C. Davis, early findings suggest that he also had cancer. Simba's actual age was not known, and the estimate of 12 years was made by evaluating his overall demeanor and appearance. In addition to probable cancer, significant spinal arthritis was also discovered at necropsy suggesting that he was perhaps older than we thought. Captivity is not kind to wild animals, and the constant stressors of circus life no doubt had an effect on all of these lions' health and well-being.


In health, Simba was a strong, handsome lion with a beautiful, thick mane. He was a close companion to Bambek and Daktari, and a magnificent and special presence to all of us who were fortunate enough to work with him. It is heartbreaking to lose such a once-vibrant animal to a devastating disease such as cancer, but we are comforted by the knowledge that Simba experienced refuge, peace, security, and dedicated care at PAWS. We will never forget Simba, and will honor his life in our continuing efforts to eliminate the abuse of animals in circuses.


PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration

Saturday, November 8, 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Pickwick Gardens, Burbank, Calif.
$130 per person

Special tables and event sponsorships are also available. View here.

Special Thanks:

30th Anniversary Honorary Committee


Bob Barker

Kim Basinger

Kristin Bauer Van Straten

Jorja Fox

Linda Hope

Kat Kramer

Mrs. Stanley Kramer

Ross McCall

Kimberly McDonald

Kevin Nealon

Lily Tomlin


30th Anniversary Committee


Katia Bagatta | Karen Bonidio | Debbie Casey | Catherine Doyle
Maggie Ferrari | Julie Frost | Christine Gardner | Kim Gardner
Priscilla Gargalis | Linda Gibboney | Carol Haft | Linda Jordan
Dr. Satish Kadaba | Ed Minghelli | Debbie Morrow | Steve Pape
Sandi Peck | Patty Shenker | Ed Stewart | Lisa Worgan


Register Now For The PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference!


You won't want to miss the premier conference on captive wild and exotic animals - the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference. On November 8-10 in Los Angeles, California, many of the leading voices in animal care, welfare, law, ethics, conservation, and science will come together to present the latest information on issues central to the health, care and welfare of captive wildlife, including the use of exotic animals in entertainment.


Day 1 of the conference is devoted to elephants and investigates questions surrounding their captivity and conservation; the war on elephant sanctuaries; the zoo-circus connection; the ethics of keeping elephants in captivity; and Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner discuss their groundbreaking documentary, An Apology to Elephants (tentative). The renowned Dr. Joyce Poole, co-founder of ElephantVoices and a pioneer in the study of elephant behavior and communication is a featured speaker.


Day 2 includes in-depth panels on big cats, marine mammals, and nonhuman primates in entertainment and kept as "pets"; animal law and the protection of wild animals in zoos, circuses, and roadside zoos; new technologies and the use of animals in film and TV; and a presentation by Stephen Wise on the Nonhuman Rights Project. David Hancocks, former zoo director, architect and author, is a featured speaker.


Day 3 delves into campaigns and advocacy for captive wildlife. Leaders representing major animal protection organizations talk about campaigns involving circuses, zoos, and roadside zoos. A special panel features inspiring grassroots leaders discussing how they, as individuals, are leading campaigns that make a difference for captive wild animals.


For a current list of speakers, click here.


Please help us promote the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference. Tell your friends, family and colleagues! Download flyers here and here that you can share with others.



PAWS In The News


What Killed Joy The Elephant?


Both PAWS' president Ed Stewart and director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, were quoted in an in-depth story by journalist Lyn Riddle on the death of Joy (aka Joni) while in transit from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. The article raises serious questions about Joy's death and why certain precautions were not taken by the Greenville Zoo to minimize risk during the elephant's transfer. In our last newsletter, we shared with you a PAWS press release contesting the Greenville Zoo's portrayal of Joy as "elderly," even though she was only 44 years old.  Said Ed Stewart: "The truth is that captivity has physically debilitated these elephants to the point where they suffer maladies normally associated with old age. It is a misnomer to say they are elderly." Read the Greenville News story here. 


Largest Big Cat Rescue In U.S. History Still Teaches Us About The Suffering Of Big Cats In Captivity


All-animal news site, The Dodo, recently featured an article by PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, on the 10-year anniversary of PAWS' rescue of 39 tigers from deplorable conditions at a pseudo-sanctuary in Colton, Calif. It remains the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history. Read the story here and leave a comment on the story page!


Marilyn Flynn, 84, with her rescue dog Alec in her Cutchogue home.
(Photo courtesy of Cyndi Murray, Suffolk Times Review)
From The "You're Never Too Old" File


PAWS tips its hat to Marilyn Flynn, an 84-year-old woman living in Suffolk County, New York, who is dedicated to bringing attention to the abuse of animals in the circus. According to a Suffolk Times Review article, Ms. Flynn was arrested on a petty larceny charge for stealing two signs promoting the Cole Bros. Circus. The circus pursued the charges against the octagenarian.

Ms. Flynn admitted to pulling down the signs because the circus promotes cruelty to elephants. She stated, "They don't seem to realize that what they are doing is condoning animal cruelty. . . The children that go to see the animals don't know what they are looking at. If they knew how the elephants were being treated, they would have nightmares." Ms. Flynn is due back in court at a later date - but in the meantime, she attended another circus protest.

While PAWS never condones breaking the law, we appreciate Ms. Flynn's dedication to protesting and ending the abuse of elephants in circuses.


Take Action Today To Help Big Cats

New York Residents: Support Ban On Public Contact With Big Cats - Urge Gov. Cuomo To Sign This Important Bill Today!


A bill prohibiting public contact with big cats has passed both Houses of the New York State legislature and is on the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, awaiting his signature. We need the help of New York State residents to ensure he signs this important bill.


Roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries and dubious animal exhibitors provide tiger and lion cubs for photo and petting sessions. These unscrupulous operations required a constant influx of cubs to make a profit. As soon as the cubs are larger and even more unsafe to handle - they may be used for as little as four weeks - they are discarded and sent to substandard facilities or individuals unable to humanely care for them. Big cats may be killed for their parts, contributing to the illicit trade in endangered wildlife.


Direct contact with big cat cubs is dangerous for the public, as even very young cubs can inflict serious injury when handled. Premature separation from mothers and the stress of excessive and abusive human handling can weaken a young cub's immune system, increasing the risk of illness in the animal. Children, elderly people and those who are immune-suppressed may be exposed to diseases that can be spread between the cubs and humans.


Touching or handling a cub is not educational and it does not instill a conservation ethic. Quite the opposite: Businesses that use big cats in this way cultivate disrespect for wild animals and a distorted view of nature. No cubs bred for use in these facilities will ever be reintroduced to the wild, nor will they contribute to saving tigers in range countries.


View the New York state bill here.


What you can do


1. Send a message to Governor Cuomo at [email protected], telling him that you support a prohibition on direct contact with big cats and strongly urge him to sign the legislation before him (A.9004-C/S.6903-C). (See sample message below.)


You can send a letter to the Governor at:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224


2. Call the Governor's office at (518) 474-8390 and urge him to sign this important legislation. Please refer to the bill by its numbers: A.9004-C and S.6903-C. Tell the person who answers the phone that this legislation is important to you as a New Yorker because prohibiting public contact with big cats will protect both people and animals, and it is the right thing to do.


Sample email or letter. Please be sure to personalize your message as much as possible to increase its effectiveness.

Dear Governor Cuomo:


As a New York resident, I strongly urge you to sign A.9004-C/S.6903-C, the bill to prohibit direct contact with big cats.


This legislation is necessary in our state because every day both people and animals are put at risk by unscrupulous operations that offer photo and handling sessions with big cat cubs to paying customers. These operations require a constant influx of cubs to stay in business. Once the cubs are larger and even more unsafe to handle they are discarded and replaced with more cubs. The unwanted cats are sent to substandard facilities or to individuals unable to humanely care for them. Some may be killed for their parts, fueling the illicit trade in endangered wildlife.


Direct contact with big cats is dangerous. There are many documented incidents of people being harmed or killed when in contact with big cats. Children, elderly people, and those who are immune-suppressed are at risk when handling these animals. Young cubs, whose immune systems are weakened by the stress of excessive and abusive handling and by being taken from their mothers prematurely, can become ill and pass diseases to the people touching them.


Taking a photo with or handling a cub does nothing to educate the public, and it does not contribute to the conservation of big cats. These attractions distract the public from real conservation efforts that help preserve big cat populations in the wild. In fact, no cub ever born for use in direct contact operations will ever be returned to the wild.


I urge you to sign this important bill. It is the right thing to do for New York, for the animals, and for those people in other states who may be seriously harmed by big cats who originated in New York State because of direct contact operations. We have a moral responsibility to end this disturbing and unsafe use of big cats.


Thank you.





Alexander (above), a male black leopard now living at PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary, was a victim of the exotic pet trade. Purchased as a cub for $2,500 by a family in Texas, he was left chained in the family's backyard. After scratching a toddler he was confiscated by animal control officers. City ordinances mandated he be euthanized. The Houston SPCA appealed the City's decision and Alexander was released into their care. The Houston SPCA contacted us and PAWS became Alexander's permanent home. Many big cats are not as fortunate.

More Government Action For Big Cats


All U.S. citizens can take action to support the Big Cats Public Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 1998 in the House and S. 1381 in the Senate). This bill would amend the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to generally end the private possession and breeding of big cats such as lions, tigers, cougars, cheetahs, leopards and other exotic wild cats (and any hybrids) from being kept as pets and in miserable roadside zoos. This legislation would strike at the problem at its root - something PAWS has tirelessly worked to do.


The issues surrounding the private ownership of big cats are similar to those discussed in the above article on public contact with big cats: the cats suffer in miserable conditions such as roadside zoos and in the backyards of individuals who lack the knowledge and resources to humanely care for them; the public is put in danger in communities where big cats are privately held; and breeding fuels interstate traffic in big cats and may contribute to the illegal international wildlife trade. The number of captive big cats in the U.S. is unknown, as are the conditions in which they are confined.


In the last two decades, at least 200 people have been injured by captive big cats, and 24 people (including 5 children) have been killed. A patchwork of state laws has failed to protect the public and the welfare of big cats. Some states ban private ownership, while others have partial or no restrictions. All but three states exempt U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed facilities, despite the fact that the USDA is unable to adequately enforce Animal Welfare Act regulations. The USDA does not regulate big cats who are privately owned and not publicly exhibited.


The bill provides for some exemptions, such as Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos, wildlife sanctuaries that do not breed or allow public contact with the animals, and wildlife rehabilitators. Breeding would only be allowed at accredited zoos and at some research or educational facilities. Current owners would be "grandfathered" in and allowed to keep their cats only if they are registered with the USDA. They could not breed the cats or acquire more. (There is not enough room in bona fide sanctuaries to take in all privately owned big cats. The "grandfather" clause protects big cats from being killed by owners under threat of confiscation.) As currently written, circuses in compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act would also be exempted.


The Big Cats Public Safety and Protection Act is important because it would create uniform legislation to protect big cats and the public. The bill's lead sponsor in the Senate is Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) in the House.


What you can do


Please contact your U.S. Senator on S. 1381 and your U.S. Congressman on H.R. 1998, and urge her or him to co-sponsor this important bill. (To see a list of senators who are already co-sponsors for S. 1381 click here. To see a list of co-sponsors for H.R. 1998 click here.)


To find your U.S. Representative(s) and Senator, click here and enter your zip code. Select your senator or a representative (click on the name) and this will take you to their information page. Select "Contact Webform" In the column to the right to send a message. You will also find phone numbers there.


Use the information contained in this article when writing to or calling your senator or representative(s). Key points are: 

  • The private ownership of big cats is a serious danger to the public.
  • Big cats kept as pets and confined in roadside zoos suffer in deplorable conditions.
  • State laws protecting big cats and the public are inconsistent, non-existent, or grossly unenforced.
  • Private ownership and breeding of big cats fuels the interstate traffic of these species and may fuel the illegal international wildlife trade, harming conservation efforts.
PAWS believes in getting to the root of the problems that cause captive wild animals to live in misery. We do that through our advocacy efforts. Because almost all of our funding goes to the care of our animals, little is left for this important work. Please  make a donation today to support and help further our work to bring an end to the suffering of captive wildlife.

A Special Note For PAWS' International Friends


PAWS often receives emails from people outside of the U.S. who would like to help further federal legislation pertaining to captive wild and exotic animals. While we at PAWS greatly appreciate your compassion and support, elected officials in the U.S. wish to hear from their constituents. So we are unable to provide a way for you to take part in these actions. However, we encourage you to use these examples of ways to take action for captive wildlife and consider proposing legislation that would protect wild and exotic animals in your city, locale or country.

Good News For Elephants
Sunder the elephant's new home at the Bannerghatta Biological Park.
(Photo courtesy of PETA India)


Two Elephants In India Will
No Longer Be Living In Pain And Fear...

After a lifetime of abuseSunder, who was the subject of worldwide attention, was rescued with the help of PETA India and other organizations. The malnourished elephant is reportedly weak but recovering from severe leg injuries caused by tight shackles lined with spikes. He now lives at the Bannerghatta Biological Park, where there are 13 other elephants.


PAWS is proud to have provided assistance during the campaign to free Sunder. We were in regular contact with PETA India veterinarian Dr. Valliyate who visited PAWS in 2013. This experience was Dr. Valliyate's first exposure to protected contact elephant management. Photos and videos of ARK 2000's elephant enclosures and demonstrations of protected contact by PAWS staff will be shared by Dr. Valliyate at an upcoming meeting with top Indian government officials at the Ministry of Environment and Forest to influence them to include Protected Contact management systems in sanctuaries for elephants in India. PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart continues to stay in contact with Dr. Valliyate and has provided him with several fencing designs that will allow Sunder to live without being chained.


Rescuers remove spiked shackles from Raju's legs.


Raju was rescued after being chained, beaten and abused for five decades and is now in the care of Wildlife SOS. Upon being rescued, the elephant was seen to have "gushes of liquid" coming out of his eyes and looked to be in great pain, according to CNN. Raju is also being treated for severe leg wounds and malnutrition. He is receiving care at the Wildlife SOS sanctuary, along with other rescued elephants.


A BIG Thank You!

July Amazon Wish List Donors


Carol Bolot: pillow cases to be used as bedding for Ferguson the Macaque. Stephanie Linquist: 3 cases of unsalted peanuts. Michelle Linquist: 1 case unsalted peanuts, 1 - 10 lb tub of Manna Pro ground flax seed. Ellen Gaston: 1 spool of trimmer line, 1 bottle of 2 cycle oil. Julie Pickard: 1 case unsalted peanuts. Judy Sharff: 5 lbs of Buggzo for animals at the Amanda Blake sanctuary. Anonymous: Neutrogena sunscreen for Wanda. Ruth E. Schmitter: 1 bottle 800# CosequinDS, 3 bottles RenAvast. Julie Pickard: 1 shovel for the elephant barns, 2 tubs Manna Pro ground flax seed. Pamela Calvert: 1 Steeles 97250-SM Welch Alwyn Diagnostic Set for the veterinary clinic.  

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

More Thank Yous

Thank you to MJ Espiritu and her husband Roberto Gerometta for arranging the donation of multiple cases of fruits and vegetables for the elephants and bears from General Produce Company and the AJI Japanese Bistro in Southern California. MJ and Roberto were guests at one of our "Seeing the Elephant" educational weekends and delivered these gifts personally!

Thank you to Catherine Decker and family for their donation of power tools, hand tools, hardware and workshop items, garden tools and folding chairs.

Thank you to longtime PAWS volunteers Marcie and Chris Christensen (above) for their donation of PAWS t-shirts for our events gift shop. Marci and Chris also sponsored the printing cost for three new PAWS banners!


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 

Stay Connected
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn   Find us on Pinterest   View our videos on YouTube
PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606