Celebrating 30 years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.
Two Years Later:
Ben the Bear at ARK 2000
Our happiest anniversary wishes to Ben, a hybrid black bear who arrived at ARK 2000 two years ago this month. Ben spent six years at Jambbas Ranch Tours in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Despite bears being naturally intelligent, active and inquisitive animals, he was confined in a barren 12' by 22' chain link and cement-floored enclosure with no opportunity to dig, climb or explore, like bears naturally would in the wild.
Ben the Bear
Ben the Bear at ARK 2000

Ben lived a miserable life. His only source of enrichment was an old bowling ball and some decrepit stumps of wood. The hard and inescapable concrete floor was damaging to his footpads, and confinement in a small enclosure led to Ben spending his waking hours repetitively pacing his cage - a sign of chronic distress.


After a long and hard-fought battle by PETA, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and concerned citizens, Ben was rescued from his wretched cage and transferred to ARK 2000. Little did this bear know that he was going to be transported in style! After hearing his story FedEx agreed to fly Ben across the country, dubbing his plane "Bear Force One." His transport team included PAWS' president Ed Stewart, the late wildlife veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, and Carney Anne Nasser, formerly with PETA and who is now working with Animal Legal Defense Fund.


August marked Ben the Bear's second anniversary at PAWS.
In honor of the occasion his keepers gave him a special treat - a huge sunflower smothered with some of his favorite foods, including peanut butter, homemade apricot jelly and organic apple gummies.

Ben now lives on more than 1.5 acres in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000, which was specifically designed for bears, with trees, grass, natural vegetation and a large pool - an environment far closer to a bear's natural habitat. When Ben was released into his new home, it was likely the first time he had ever felt grass beneath his feet. PAWS provides Ben with nutritious food and expert husbandry and veterinary care. He lives alongside black bears Sampson and Cinnamon.


In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture temporarily suspended Jambbas Ranch Tour's exhibitor's license, which cannot be restored until the facility is in compliance with federal Animal Welfare Act regulations. According to the facility's web site, the ranch remains closed to the general public.


Ben's anniversary is a reminder of the other bears who still suffer in horrible conditions in roadside zoos and attractions and those used for entertainment, including at county and state fairs. These bears are bred and used for display, public feeding, photo opportunities and petting sessions - all for profit. They are traumatically separated from their mothers and exposed to rough handling and abuse; some bears are cruelly declawed, causing intense pain and preventing them from engaging in natural behaviors such as digging, manipulating food and climbing. When the bears are no longer profitable they are discarded, sent from one miserable place to another. Some bears are slaughtered for their meat.


What you can do to help bears in captivity 

  • Never visit a roadside zoo or attraction that confines bears. Urge family, friends and colleagues to avoid these places as well. 
  • If your local fair features captive bear shows, voice your concerns to the fair organizers. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, educating people about the suffering of bears for these shows and calling for an end to them.

  • If you see bears in conditions that are causing them to suffer, file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Document what you see on video and/or photos. (For assistance contact PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, at

  • Avoid pseudo-sanctuaries that offer public contact or photo sessions with bears or any other wild animals.

  • "Adopt" a PAWS bear and help support their care! Cinnamon, Sampson, Boo Boo, Winston and Oma also came from dubious roadside zoos and the backyards of people who cruelly kept them as pets. For more information on adopting a bear click here . 
  • Make a special "Happy Anniversary, Ben!" donation by clicking here!
L-R: Ross McCall, Fernanda Andrade and Ed Stewart


A Special Day At ARK 2000


PAWS was honored to welcome film and television actor Ross McCall, known for his roles in HBO's Band of BrothersWhite Collar, Luther, 24: Live Another Day and Crash, and actress Fernanda Andrade (The Devil Inside, Law & Order, NCIS) to ARK 2000 earlier this month. McCall first became aware of PAWS after watching the HBO documentary An Apology To Elephants in which PAWS and our elephants are featured. PAWS' president and co-founder Ed Stewart spent the morning taking the couple on a tour of the sanctuary, introducing them to the animals and sharing their stories. You can follow McCall (and his visit to PAWS) on Twitter. 



Lights, Cameras, Celebrities and Auctions:

PAWS 30th Anniversary Gala

November 8 in Los Angeles!


PAWS invites you to join us as we celebrate a very special milestone: 30 years of rescue, sanctuary care, education and advocacy. On Saturday, November 8, in Los Angeles, California, PAWS' friends and supporters from around the world will come together for an extraordinary evening of gourmet vegan food, entertainment, awards and a celebration of the important work of PAWS. Share with us our 30-year journey - and an exciting future - in changing the way the world cares about captive wildlife.


Highlights of this gala event include:


Celebrity Guests! 
Celebrity supporters who will be joining us for this special evening include Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, actress Kristin Bauer van Straten of HBO's "True Blood", actress Jorja Fox of the television show "CSI", actor Ross McCall of HBO's "Band of Brothers", "White Collar" and "24: Live Another Day", actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin and others. (Celebrity guests are subject to change.)

You can sponsor a special table and have a celebrity guest seated with you. Click here for more information. These tables are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.



PAWS' guests will be treated to a special performance by Nathalie
Gaulthier's award-winning Le PeTiT CiRqUe
, an all-kid humanitarian cirque company that includes pro-level children ages 7-14 who rank among the top in the world in aerial arts, juggling, trapeze, hoops, silks, acrobatics, stilts, skateboards, contortionists and martial arts. They have mesmerized audiences around the world, selling out shows, wowing audiences, and making the impossible look easy. Described as "a pint-sized version of Cirque du Soleil circus_paws_masthead meets Marcel Marceau", they combine impressive feats of agility and beauty with impressive and empowering messages. Le PeTiT CiRqUe are seven-time winners of the National Youth Award. They were also the stars of 2012's Circus PAWS in Hollywood.

Circus PAWS, an animal-free circus, was the dream of PAWS co-founder the late Pat Derby. In late 2011, the decision was made to make the dream a reality and the search for performers began. It was Circus PAWS producer Robert Gelman of BGA Media who first brought Nathalie and her cirque company to our attention. In a September newsletter from 2012, Pat Derby wrote: "I remember how thrilled we were when we first viewed videos of Nathalie's Le Petit Cirque. 'Sign 'em, they're wonderful!' I said, and Ed agreed. We had no idea at that time just how talented and generous these kids truly are!" We are thrilled to be welcoming them back for this very special performance. Robert Gelman will be producing the gala entertainment.


Talented actress and singer Kat Kramer will also perform. Ms. Kramer is the

daughter of actress Karen Sharpe and the late Academy Award-winning

Kat Kramer

producer/director Stanley Kramer, one of the nation's most respected filmmakers. When speaking about her father, director Steven Spielberg once described him as an "incredibly talented visionary, and one of our great filmmakers, not just for the art and passion he put on screen, but for the impact he has made on the conscience of the world."


Ms. Kramer follows in her father's footsteps. She is the founder of Kat Kramer's Films That Change the World - showcasing motion pictures that raise awareness about important social issues, and regularly donates her time and talent by performing at charity events. Her performance for PAWS' Gala will include her moving rendition of "Bless the Beasts and the Children," from her father's landmark message-film of the same name, which she performed in Circus PAWS.


A Specially-Created Gourmet Menu!

The Gala evening begins with a reception, followed by a sumptuous vegan

Roberto Gerometta and
Mary Jane Espiritu-Gerometta 

buffet dinner. The menu has been created by animal-loving Executive Chef and Culinary Consultant Mary Jane Espiritu-Gerometta, and Master Chef Roberto Gerometta, who are donating their considerable talents to give our guests a singular culinary experience. Chef Roberto has worked at esteemed restaurants in France, Italy and Bermuda and was featured in the PBS series, "Great Chefs of San Francisco." Chef Mary Jane, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy, runs a thriving consulting practice. This culinary power couple resides in Temecula's wine country and shares their home with rescued animals.





The live auction might just be the highlight of the evening, with exclusive items donated by wonderful PAWS supporters, including a $10,000 necklace by designer Kimberly McDonald, whose jewelry is worn by celebrities such as Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lopez and Michelle Obama. You can also bid to win a private brunch with Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger and the elephants at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. And there's more! Our silent auction will offer a range of exciting items - all in support of PAWS' life-saving work for performing and captive wild animals.


Special Program & Presentations! 

The evening will include a tribute to PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, and an awards presentation. Most important, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about PAWS' and the elephants, tigers, lions, and other exotic animals for whom we care.




For information on special table sponsorships and prices, click hereAll proceeds directly benefit PAWS and the many animals for whom we provide sanctuary and lifetime care.

PAWS' 30th Anniversary Gala is part of a celebration weekend that includes the PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference, a premier global event that brings together leading experts from around the world to discuss issues surrounding the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals. Its aim is to educate and to promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.


For those attending the 3-day conference and Gala, PAWS is offering a special package rate. For more information, and to register for the conference, click here.


We hope you can join us in November! If you are unable to attend the gala or conference and would like to make a donation to PAWS, please click here. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the gala or conference, or wish to donate an auction item, please contact Kim Gardner at


PAWS 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference Program Is Now Available!


The following is a small sampling of what's in store for participants at PAWS' 2014 International Captive Wildlife Conference. Click here to view the full 3-day conference program (check back frequently for updates).



Speakers: Ed Stewart, President, PAWS; Pat Lampi, Executive Director, The Alaska Zoo; Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director, ZooCheck Canada. Moderator: Adam Roberts, CEO, Born Free USA



Speaker: Stephen Wise, Attorney, Author and President of the Nonhuman Rights Project 




Speakers: Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute, and featured in acclaimed documentary BlackfishRic O'Barry, Founder, The Dolphin Project, and featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove; Lori Marino, Founder and Executive Director, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy. Moderator: Mark Berman, Associate Director, Earth Island Institute




Speakers: Steve Ross, Lincoln Park Zoo, Director, Lester Fisher Center for the Study & Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, Project ChimpCARE; Julia Galucci, Primatologist and Senior Corporate Liaison, PETA; Sarah Baeckler-Davis, Primate Sanctuary Consultant. Moderator: Chris Draper, Born Free Foundation 



Speakers: Mark Bekoff, Author, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, Affiliated Professor of Law, and Director of the Animal Studies Initiative at New York University; Jonathan Cracknell, Director of Animal Operations, Longleat Safari and Adventure Park, United Kingdom; Ron Kagan, Executive Director, Detroit Zoo (tentative). Moderator: Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, PAWS


Featured speakers:



Elephant Research Scientist and Co-founder of ElephantVoices
Joyce Poole in live conversation on National Geographics Facebook Page
Joyce Poole in live conversation
on National Geographic



Author, Zoo Architect and former Director of the

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson

and the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Australia


Don't miss the premier conference
on captive exotic and wild animals.

View a complete list of speakers here.

Global March For Elephants and Rhinos, October 4

Will You March Against Extinction?


Make plans now to join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on Saturday, October 4, and help bring global attention to the annihilation of wild elephants and rhinos for the international wildlife trade. Last year marches took place in over 40 cities and more than 15 countries. This year more than 100 cities around the world have marches planned.


PAWS staff and employees will be participating in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles marches. PAWS president and co-founder, Ed Stewart, will be a featured speaker at a rally in United Nation's Square following the San Francisco march; PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, will be speaking at the Los Angeles march.


Poachers kill an estimated 35,000 elephants each year across Africa - just so their tusks can be carved into trinkets and expensive figurines. That's nearly 100 elephants a day, or one every 15 minutes.


Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are used for traditional medicinal purposes in Asia, even though the horns are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up hair and fingernails. Of the five rhino species, Sumatran and Javan rhinos are closest to extinction with populations numbering 100 or less, and Africa's black rhinos are critically endangered. While Asia's one-horned rhinos and Africa's white rhinos are greater in number, they are still at tremendous risk.


Unless urgent action is taken to

end the slaughter, elephants and rhinos

could disappear during our lifetime.



March With PAWS

In San Francisco Or Los Angeles!


Please join PAWS at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary's Square Park in San Francisco's Chinatown district, or at 11 a.m. at the La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles. If you can't be at either location, please join a march near you.


Click here for a list of cities worldwide where marches are being organized. Find information on the San Francisco march here, and the Los Angeles march here.


If you would like to organize a march in your city, send a message here.



Take action to support proposed restrictions on the sale of ivory in the United States


Forces in Washington are trying to interfere with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) efforts to control the commercial trade in elephant ivory with the Lawful Ivory Protection Act of 2014 (S. 2587/H.R. 5052). Despite its benign title, this bill undermines the ability of the FWS to establish regulations that prohibit or restrict the possession, sale or transport of elephant ivory within the U.S., as long as that ivory was lawfully imported. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to distinguish "legal" ivory from ivory that has been illegally imported. This bill could preempt existing and future efforts of state governments to combat ivory trafficking. It's wrong to handcuff the FWS at a time when elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of nearly 100 a day.


What you can do


Contact your Senator and Representative by email and by phone, and urge them to reject this dangerous bill that threatens the very future of elephants on our planet.


To find your Representative 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.


Born Free USA provides an informative fact sheet that you can use when creating a message or making a phone call. 


If You Can't March For Elephants...

There Are Other Ways You Can Help


Donate. Help fund conservation organizations working on the ground to stop poaches and save elephants. (Avoid contributing to any organization that counts circuses among its members.)


Increase awareness. Share the information you have learned here with friends, family and colleagues.


Write a letter. Send a letter to the editor of your local paper about the plight of African elephants and the need for a ban on the sale of all ivory.


Never buy ivory! Alert friends, family and colleagues who may be traveling that it is illegal and unethical to buy ivory products, including bracelets, trinkets, and carvings.


Visit PAWS' website and Facebook page for info and updates on elephants in the wild and in captivity. Contact Catherine Doyle for more information at

Above: African elephant Watoto walks out into the Woodland Park Zoo elephant enclosure after getting bathed in the elephant barn.

Elephant Watoto Dies

at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo


PAWS was saddened to learn of the death of African elephant Watoto at the Woodland Park Zoo on August 22. She was 45 years old. All of us at PAWS extend our most heartfelt condolences to the people of Seattle on the loss of Watoto. Our thoughts are with everyone who cared for and about her.


The Woodland Park Zoo announced earlier this year that it was planning to relocate Watoto. Following that news, many of you asked about the possibility of PAWS offering sanctuary to her. In May, PAWS sent a letter inviting the Zoo to visit ARK 2000, our 2300-acre natural habitat sanctuary for captive wildlife. Unfortunately, our invitation was refused (read the zoo's response here). The Zoo made it very clear that it would only consider another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility.


Hopefully, Watoto's death may serve to help other captive elephants. Seattle Mayor Edward Murray released a statement about her death, concluding: "...I do believe that today's news should reopen a dialogue in this city about the proper habitat for elephants."


This is a powerful sign of the changing public attitude toward the confinement of highly intelligent, socially complex and self-aware animals, from orcas in marine parks to elephants in zoos and circuses. This dialogue is taking place worldwide and it is a step toward real change.


SeaWorld Backlash Continues


The documentary film Blackfish continues to have a major impact on SeaWorld, with the company's stocks crashing and attendance falling as people learn more about the company's troubling practices and the suffering of orcas in captivity. Even Southwest Airlines jumped ship, ending a 26-year partnership with the beleaguered marine park. SeaWorld tried to bounce back by announcing that it would create larger pools for orcas, but this likely has more to do with the company's plans to expand internationally than it does with animal welfare. Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite told Business Week: "So that means they need to start breeding more whales ... it seems pretty clear that the new pool size is designed to accommodate more captive whales and more forcible breeding." SeaWorld has been funding national marketing efforts in an attempt to counter the media and public firestorm generated by Blackfish, apparently with little effect.


Good News For Animals


New Jersey bans the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horns.

Governor Christie signed into law legislation that makes New Jersey the first U.S. state to prohibit individuals from importing, selling or purchasing any ivory or rhino horn product. The law includes strict penalties for those caught dealing in the black market of this industry.

New York State follows New Jersey, banning the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhinoceros horns, with limited exceptions. The bill targets the illegal ivory trade by strengthening criminal and civil penalties for those who buy and sell ivory. New York is known to be a gateway for the illegal wildlife trade in the U.S., which is the second-largest market for ivory behind China.


New York State bans public contact with captive big cats. Fairs, circuses and other exhibitors can no longer allow their customers to come into direct contact with lions, tigers and other big cats through photo or petting sessions, helping to protect both the public and captive big cats. These cruel businesses require a constant influx of cubs to make a profit, creating a cycle of misery as older, unwanted cubs are discarded, only to be replaced by more cubs.


PAWS is proud to have actively supported each of these successful bans that help protect elephants, rhinos and big cats!  

The Mexican state of Coahuila unanimously passed a ban on the use of animals in circuses, promotional parades, and other forms of entertainment. It even includes rabbits and doves used in magic acts. According to La Prensa, Green Party lawmaker Jose Refugio Sandoval said that the new law would keep future generations from seeing animal abuse as normal. Unfortunately, bullfights were excluded from the ban. Coahuila joins Mexico City and other states like Colima, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Queretaro that have banned the use of animals in circuses.

Elephant Tyke: Honolulu 2004, RIP

Moscow International Circus pledges to go animal free in Hawaii.

No circuses have performed with wild animals at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu since the death of the elephant Tyke 20 years ago this month. Tyke is an elephant who performed with Circus International. During a performance at the Center in 1994, Tyke finally could take no more abuse. She killed her trainer, injured her groomer and bolted from the Center, running through the streets for more than 30 minutes before police killed her. It took 86 bullets before Tyke pitifully collapsed and died from her wounds.


Tyke has become emblematic of the tragedy of using wild animals in circuses, so animal advocates were understandably outraged when the Moscow International Circus announced that it was going to use animals once again at the Center (though not elephants). In an outpouring of opposition, nearly 70,000 people contacted the Center, leading the circus to pledge not to use any animals in the upcoming performances.


Tyke's death inspired legislation to protect elephants in traveling shows. PAWS worked closely with Senator Sam Farr on the Captive Elephant Accident Prevention Act that would have banned the use of elephants in traveling shows and for rides. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, testified in Washington in 2000 before a House subcommittee, alongside PAWS friend and supporter Bob Barker in support of the act.


Today, Tyke and Pat continue to inspire all of us at PAWS to continue our legislative and advocacy work and to reach even higher to protect the welfare of performing and captive exotic animals.

A BIG Thank You!

August Amazon Wish List Donors


Lori Swenson: 1 Black and Decker electric trimmer for the Galt sanctuary. Nancy Gordon: 6 mesh safari hats - sun protection for PAWS keepers. Linda McNall: 1 bottle, CosequinDS 250#, 1 bottle RenAvast. Jack Butler: 1 box nitrile gloves, small; 1 box nitrile gloves, medium. Natalie U. Gray: 1 box Frosted Flakes for the elephants, 1 box nitrile gloves, small. Anonymous: 1 40 lb. box of oranges.


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

More Thank Yous

Many thanks to Barry Tehrani/Costless Restaurant Equipment Refrigeration, Concord, Calif., for his donation of storage shelving for the elephants' walk-in refrigerator. . . and to Richard Newton for his donation of 3 boxes of rosemary cuttings for the PAWS animals.



Thank you to long-time PAWS supporter Diane Virdee (pictured above), who each year donates hundreds of pounds of apples from her orchard in Sebastopol, Calif., to the elephants and bears living at PAWS' sanctuaries. This month Diane donated more than 600 pounds! Reports Diane: "Whole Foods in Sebastopol supplied the boxes, Tricia Danciu and the Torres family helped to harvest, Brian Toughy loaded the full boxes into the truck, and then Lori, Daniel and Haley Swearingen (PAWS volunteers) met me half way, transferred all of the boxes into their vehicle and delivered to PAWS." Thank you to everyone for this amazing group effort.

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