Celebrating 30 years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.

A Message From Dr. Cynthia Moss
Amboseli Trust for Elephants

The Future of Elephants is at Stake


The upcoming Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on Saturday, October 4, is an historic moment in the struggle to save these species from extinction. This epic event shows that the tide of public opinion is turning at last, and that people are realizing the depth and scope of the crisis.



The Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) will be marching alongside PAWS (view time and meet-up location below) in San Francisco. Our U.S. director, Dr. Betsy Swart, will be taking part in the March, handing out ATE's "Don't Buy Ivory" bracelets, and will be at the PAWS information table in United Nations Plaza immediately following the March.


Last week, during meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, Chelsea Clinton reiterated CGI's strong commitment to anti-poaching.  She made it clear that if something is not done NOW, her baby could grow up in a world where there are no elephants


Are you ready to help ensure the future of elephants and rhinos around the world? I hope

Dr. Cynthia Moss,
Amboseli National Park in Kenya

you will show your support on October 4th by marching in one the many participating cities around the globe.


We must strengthen our commitment every day to a future that is safe and secure for elephants and rhinos. Keep working and start marching!


- Cynthia Moss


*  *  *  * 


Dr. Cynthia Moss is an American-born conservationist, world-renowned wildlife researcher and writer. She is director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, the longest running study of African elephants in the world. She has led her research team in Amboseli National Park for 42 years, studying every aspect of these elephants' lives. Almost everything we know about African elephants today is because of her ongoing work. She is also the program director and trustee for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE).


Dr. Keith Lindsay, scientific advisory committee member with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, is a scheduled speaker on Day 1 of the PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference in Los Angeles, Nov. 8-10.


Visit ATE's website to sign up for their newsletter; "like" them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

San Francisco, 2013


March With PAWS Against Extinction


Join PAWS and thousands of people around the world for the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on Saturday, October 4, 2014, 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.


Elephants and rhinos are under serious poaching pressure throughout Africa due to growing markets in Asia. 

  • 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. 
  • A record 1004 rhinos were poached in 2013 in South Africa alone and 700 have been killed so far this year. Rhino horns are used for traditional medicinal purposes in Asia, even though the horns are made of the same protein that makes up our hair and fingernails. 

At this rate, elephants and rhinos will become extinct in the wild in our lifetimes if nothing is done to stop the killing.


Please help bring attention to this crisis by marching for elephants and rhinos, and calling for an end to all trade in elephant ivory and rhino horns.


PAWS directors, staff and volunteers 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 Nations Plaza following the San Francisco march; PAWS director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, will be speaking at the Los Angeles march.


Please join PAWS on October 4th in:


San Francisco - March for Elephants and Rhinos

10:15 a.m. - St. Mary's Square Park in San Francisco's Chinatown district


The San Francisco march will cover an easy 1.75-mile route that begins at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary's Square Park in Chinatown (601 California Street) and ends at United Nations Plaza near Market and Hyde streets. Meet up with us any time between 9:45 a.m. and the start of the March. We'll have extra signs available for participants, but we do encourage everyone to be creative and make your own. PAWS will have an information table set up at the rally site.

St. Mary's Square is located approximately 1/2-mile from the BART Montgomery Street station. Suggested parking for those driving to San Francisco would be the St. Mary's Square parking garage (entrance at 433 Kearny Street) located at the site of the start of the March, or the Union Square parking garage (333 Post Street) located midway between the starting and ending locations of the march.


Los Angeles - March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions

11 a.m. - La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles; please arrive by 10:45 a.m. Meet in front of the George C. Page Museum, 5801 Wilshire Blvd.


The Los Angeles March will proceed west on Wilshire Blvd., about .7 miles to the South African Consulate and then back to the rally site.


Abundant street parking is available on blocks just north and south of Wilshire Blvd. There is also a parking lot next to the George C. Page museum for $10.


Event activities include speakers, entertainment, information tables, and children's face painting and poster making. For more information see the Los Angeles March Facebook event page.


If you can't be at either location, please join a march near you. Click here for a list of cities worldwide hosting marches. Take action for elephants and rhinos by writing letters and signing petitions. Click here for more information.


For 30 years, PAWS has been a leader in advocating for captive exotic and wild animals. At the same time, we bring attention to the plight of those in the wild. To learn more about our rescue efforts, natural habitat captive wildlife sanctuary, and our elephants, big cats, bears, and more, please visit


PAWS takes safety very seriously, which is why we work with elephants using a method called "protected contact." This means our caretakers use only positive reinforcement training and work with the elephants through a protective steel barrier. In the photo above, PAWS veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai (left), and ARK 2000 sanctuary manager and senior elephant keeper Brian Busta, collect blood from an African elephant.
PAWS Sanctuaries:
A Commitment to Animal Welfare
and Caretaker Safety

By Catherine Doyle


PAWS president and co-founder Ed Stewart was quoted in a recent Associated Press story about a man who was crushed to death by one of the two retired circus elephants in his care at a controversial "sanctuary" in Maine. Local officials ruled the death an "accident," even though no one was present at the time the man was killed. Some have tried to rationalize the death, saying the elephant was trying to help the man, though this is highly unlikely.


The bottom line is that direct contact with elephants is unsafe, no matter how well you think you know the animal. This has been proven time and time again when tragedy strikes at a circus or in a zoo where handlers are in direct contact with elephants. Contrary to what many people believe, elephants have never been domesticated - they remain wild animals.


Ed explained in the Associated Press article that some caretakers who are in direct contact with elephants falsely believe they are safe from harm. "But of all the people who were killed, nobody thought they were going to be killed," Ed explained. "They thought it was OK. They thought they were safe. But elephants just aren't safe."


To be a sanctuary means that you put the animals first. This includes adopting best practices that safeguard the animals' health and welfare, and, very importantly, keep the people who care for them safe. Not only do we work with dangerous wild animals at PAWS,

Maggie and Lulu grazing

we understand that each one of them has been physically and psychologically scarred by captivity, making them even more unpredictable.


PAWS takes the safety of our caretakers very seriously, which is why we only work with our elephants using a method called "protected contact." This means our caretakers use only

positive reinforcement training and work with the elephants through a protective steel barrier. Using this method, we are able to provide the necessary daily and veterinary care the elephants require.


The protected contact method assures the welfare of the elephants, who have the choice of whether to participate in training sessions (which they are usually quite enthusiastic about), and protects our caretakers from serious injury. We never, ever forget that we are working with extremely intelligent, large and powerful animals who can be very dangerous.


In contrast, the free contact method (or circus-style training), in which handlers are in direct contact with the elephants, uses dominance, pain and fear to control elephants. Handlers rely on the bullhook, a baton that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp steel tip and hook at the end, to maintain that control. The bullhook is used to prod, stab, hook and strike elephants so they comply with every command. The device is used in all circuses and in a surprising number of zoos.


PAWS was pleased that to hear that PETA filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Heath Administration (OSHA), the U.S. agency that oversees worker safety, following the death in Maine. There is no excuse for putting elephant keepers at risk, especially when there is a far safer way to work with these dangerous animals. OSHA has already ruled that trainers at marine parks cannot perform in the water with orcas without a protective barrier between them. The decision came after the highly publicized incident in which an orca killed a trainer at SeaWorld. The agency should now prohibit direct contact with elephants.


There is another tragic, though less publicized, outcome to the story of the short-lived Maine "sanctuary." The elephants, Opal and Rosie, have been returned to the circus facility from which they came, the Endangered Ark Foundation. This was the provision that was made for the elephants in the event of the owner's death. The Carson & Barnes Circus owns the Endangered Ark Foundation, so the elephants are being sent back to the same conditions and handling they experienced before they were presumably rescued.


When an elephant or any other animal comes to PAWS, our goal is to offer a stable home for life. That is our commitment to these animals and to our wonderful donors and supporters. The animals at PAWS have suffered a great deal as a result of captivity. Our goal is to let them live out their lives in more natural conditions, while providing high quality care and plenty of TLC. They never again have to perform, be on display daily, or serve as someone's exotic "pet."


If you would like to support PAWS' mission to rescue and provide sanctuary care for wild animals in need, please make a donation today


Catherine Doyle at ARK 2000


PAWS' Catherine Doyle to Speak at

National Museum of Animals and Society


PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, will speak at the National Museum of Animals and Society in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 19, at 7 p.m. Her talk, "The Case Against Keeping Elephants in Captivity," is part of the 3rd annual 'Animals and Society' Fall Lecture Series titled Wild and Endangered: Amazing Animals and Human Harms.


The lecture series is the product of a partnership between NMAS, the Human-Animal Studies Program at the University of Redlands in California, and Minding Animals International. Catherine will also be speaking at the University of Redlands on Monday, October 20.


The lecture at the Museum is free and open to the public. If you live in the Los Angeles area, we would love to see you there. You can also view the highly acclaimed show currently at the Museum, Elephant: Forget Me Not, September 13 through November 30.


"The Case Against Keeping Elephants in Captivity"

Lecture by Catherine Doyle, M.S.

National Museum of Animals and Society

4302 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90029

Sunday, October 19 at 7 p.m.

(visual presentation starts at 7 p.m., followed by lecture at 7:30 p.m.)



Who Will Be This Year's Ms./Mr. TUSKany?

It's not too late to vote for your favorite elephant(s)!


As part of PAWS' annual fundraiser, The Elephant Grape Stomp, YOU get to vote for your favorite elephant, with the winner being "crowned" Ms. or Mr. TUSKany. The "crown" is actually a beautiful edible bouquet made of favorite elephant foods, and first and second runners-up get a tasty bouquet as well. (Of course, we can't leave out the other elephants, so everyone gets a special treat later that day.)


The contest is in its sixth year, with Lulu the big winner last year. Previous winners include Maggie and Wanda, though Maggie has been a tough contender, winning three out of the last five years. Prince and Nicholas are still waiting to see which one of them will be crowned the first Mr. TUSKany.


This PAWS elephant fundraiser began in 2004, as a celebration of the move to ARK 2000 of 71, Mara, Minnie, Rebecca and Annie from our Galt Sanctuary, and an opportunity for our generous donors to see this wonderful new home for our elephants.


No grapes are actually stomped at the event. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, explained in her blog, Rumblings From PAWS, that the idea for the "Grape Stomp" originated with the elephants themselves, who have a fondness for "everything grape."


When Pat and Ed were caring for the sickly young elephant, 71, Pat searched for fruits that 71 would eat. She came across an anecdote about a group of elephants in Africa who gorged themselves on a tree filled with overripe, fermented fruit, becoming a "riotous party of drunken elephants." Pat soon found that 71 would occasionally eat small amounts of a variety of fruits, but she devoured none of them as quickly as she did grapes. Soon, local vineyards began to donate their pruned vines to PAWS, which 71 and the other elephants ate like candy.


So the tradition continues today with the PAWS Elephant Grape Stomp: An Afternoon in TUSKany.


All it takes to vote for your favorite elephant is a $5 donation per vote, and all funds go to the care of our elephants. You are encouraged to vote often! To help you in voting, here are a few fun facts about the 11 elephants we care for at PAWS:


Annie loves to nap out in the habitat, when she's not lounging in the lake. Gypsy and Wanda are good friends; you'll often hear them squeaking and trumpeting to one another. Wanda, at age 56, is the oldest elephant at ARK 2000. Iringa, the oldest of the three African elephants who arrived from Toronto last October, enjoys exploring her habitat and eating tree bark, using her tusks to dislodge small pieces. Lulu will cavort in a mud hole, kicking and splashing and covering herself with mud. Maggie likes to "talk" to the other elephants, sending messages through her rumbles. Mara is PAWS' landscape architect; she loves to knock down trees and nosh on the branches. Nicholas makes a "purring" sound when he eats his favorite treat, wheat bran; he's the youngest elephant at ARK 2000. Prince loves to spend time bobbing and splashing in his pools. Thika likes to explore the vast habitats at ARK 2000, visit mud wallows and forage throughout the day. Toka has the longest and most elegant tusks of all the African elephants.


Tickets for the Grape Stomp are $100 per person and include Tuscan cuisine (vegetarian and vegan) courtesy of Il Fornaio (authentic Italian restaurant and bakery), wine tasting provided by 15 of the area's award-winning wineries, a silent auction to benefit the elephants, and shuttle service around the ARK 2000 sanctuary - allowing you to visit the lions, tigers, bears, leopard, and of course, the elephants. This year's event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is an adults-only event. The winner of Ms./Mr. TUSKany will be announced at 2 p.m. 


Click here to buy your tickets and vote for your favorite elephant(s) online. You may also call our office at (209) 745-2606, M-F, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST, to charge tickets, and you can vote by phone using your credit card, or mail your check to PAWS Grape Stomp, P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632.  Tickets for the fundraiser are $100; each "vote" is $5. No tickets will be sold on the day of the event; advance purchase is required. All ticket sales and voting online or by mail end on Thursday, October 16. Voting at the event will end at 1 p.m.


Register Now for PAWS'

International Captive Wildlife Conference


In less than six weeks, the PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference will take place in Los Angeles on November 8-10, and it will be a truly international affair. Attendees so far hail from the U.S., United Kingdom, Estonia, Australia, Canada, Norway and Spain. This three-day event features more than 50 speakers from around the world representing the fields of animal care and welfare, scientific research, conservation, ethics and law. Panel discussions will focus on key issues involving elephants in entertainment, orcas and dolphins in marine parks, and big cats and nonhuman primates used for entertainment and as exotic "pets."


Day 1 of the conference is devoted to elephants and the many issues surrounding their captivity, care and welfare, while Day 2 focuses on marine mammals, big cats and nonhuman primates. Panelists include experts with direct experience of the often-shocking conditions in which these animals are confined in marine parks, roadside zoos and circuses, as well as their use as animal "actors" and exotic "pets." Day 3 addresses campaigns and advocacy and features national and international animal protection organizations, as well as individual advocates making a difference for wild animals in captivity.


Speakers includeGary Baum, author of "Animals Were Harmed", the Hollywood Reporter's scathing exposť on the abuse of animals used in film and television; author Marc Bekoff, famous for his revealing insights into the inner lives of animals; primate expert Sarah Baeckler Davis, whose undercover work exposed the cruelty behind training nonhuman primates to perform; David Hancocks, author, architect, former zoo director and zoo critic; Keith Lindsay, conservation biologist and Scientific Advisory Committee member with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project; Ric O'Barry, founder of The Dolphin Project and featured in Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, which exposed the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan; Joyce Poole, pioneer in the study of elephant behavior and communication and co-founder of ElephantVoices; Naomi Rose, marine mammal scientist featured in the documentary Blackfish; Ed Stewart, co-founder and president of PAWS, the nation's first elephant sanctuary; Actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin (tentative), executive producer and narrator of the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary An Apology to Elephants; Steven Wise, director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, which seeks to win legal personhood for a nonhuman animal in the courts. (Click here for a full list of speakers and here for a complete program.)


The conference weekend includes a special Saturday evening anniversary gala celebrating PAWS' 30th year of sanctuary care, education and advocacy for captive wild animals. The gala features gourmet vegan food, silent and live auctions, entertainment and celebrity guests. 


For more information on the PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference and to register, click hereRegistration closes on October 31. For information, and to purchase 30th Anniversary Gala tickets and tables, click here.


In Memoriam: Pfeiffer

The PAWS family is saddened to report that African lioness Pfeiffer passed away on August 27, 2014. She was 17 years old. 


Pfeiffer was a cub when she came to PAWS from the Detroit Zoo in 1997. She had been surrendered to the Detroit Police Department by her private owner when she was only three months old. The police department took her to the Michigan Anti-Cruelty Society who turned her over to the Detroit Zoo the next day. Zoo veterinarians examined her and found that she had been declawed and defanged, her leg joints were malformed due to nutritional deficiency, and she was very lame on her left front foot. Interestingly, two male cubs found their way to the Detroit Zoo around the same time as Pfeiffer. All three lions were about the same age, and all three had been illegal pets that had been confiscated or surrendered to law enforcement in Detroit.

The Detroit Zoo contacted us and PAWS agreed to provide a permanent home and lifelong care to the three young lions. We welcomed Pfeiffer, Denny and Max to our Galt sanctuary in December 1997. Max, the most fragile of the three, came to us with a variety of health issues and died prematurely of kidney failure more than 10 years ago. Denny and Pfeiffer continued to live together at our Galt sanctuary.

Denny (left) and Pfeiffer
Like Pfeiffer, Denny had also been de-clawed and had deformities of his paws and legs, which made walking and running difficult for both lions. 
PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart built a special enclosure that would accommodate the lions' mobility problems, and filled it with soft dirt, thick Bermuda grass, and many shady trees to lounge under.

Through later X-rays it was discovered that Pfeiffer and Denny both shared a very rare birth defect known as syndactyly, which causes severe deformities of the bones of the paws. This condition can lead to arthritis and pain in the feet and legs. Since both Pfeiffer and Denny shared the same birth defect, and were about the same age, it is likely that they were brother and sister. Max may also have been a sibling, although he did not have the same paw deformities. 

Pfeiffer and Denny
It is almost impossible to talk about Pfeiffer without mentioning Denny. The two lions were nearly inseparable. Denny always stayed close to Pfeiffer, protecting and watching over her. In fact, it was a change in Denny's behavior that first alerted us that something was wrong. In early July, his appetite decreased and he began guarding Pfeiffer more than usual - never leaving her side. A few days later, Pfeiffer's appetite also dropped and she became lethargic. Something was definitely wrong. PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Gai performed a physical examination and found that Pfeiffer had fluid in her chest and lungs.


Over the course of the next six weeks, PAWS' dedicated keeper staff made sure that she was comfortable, went to great lengths to encourage her to eat, and made sure that she took her medications well hidden inside pieces of meat. PAWS veterinarians worked diligently to identify the cause of her ever-increasing labored breathing, and to administer medications that helped alleviate her symptoms. As her condition continued to decline, the difficult and heart-wrenching decision was made to humanely euthanize her to prevent her from suffering.

A necropsy, attended by Dr. Gai, was performed at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, where it was discovered that Pfeiffer had a very aggressive, untreatable form of cancer in her lungs and chest cavity.


Pfeiffer was a noble and dignified lioness, whose wild spirit was always present. Her intense, watchful gaze never missed a thing that happened in her world. She had a playful side too, and would wrestle and snuggle with Denny, sometimes ending up sprawled out on her back, asleep in the sun. She was a good friend and faithful companion to Denny, and she will be deeply missed by everyone who had the honor of caring for her.

Animal News


Australia Takes Action To Stop Import Of Rhino Trophies

Australia has imposed a ban on the import of rhino trophies, and Australia's minister of the environment, Greg Hunt, has requested that the ban be extended to other African species, particularly the lion. The minister was reported as stating: "It's just not right at this time in history that we are allowing endangered species to be brought back as trophies into Australia. I've signed an order, we're taking action - it's going to stop."


Satao's Law Introduced In U.S. Congress To Help Protect Elephants

A new bill, in honor of the Kenyan "big tusker" Satao who was killed by poachers, has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Peter DeFazio from Oregon. If passed it will give the U.S. government the power to introduce trade sanctions against countries that fail to address elephant poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife. 


Raju Update

The story of Raju, the elephant who was freed after suffering for 50 years in chains, quickly went viral, especially after it was reported that he "cried" after his liberation. Now, Raju's owner is trying to get him back, arguing that the elephant is his property. The case is expected to soon go to court. In the meantime, Raju is reported to be enjoying his freedom and the company of other elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura, India.

A BIG Thank You!
September Amazon Wish List Donors


Karen Anderson: one 40 lb. box of oranges. Carol Stormburg: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anne Stein: one 40 lb. box of oranges. Corilynn Breitwisch: one gallon of Optima 365. Sandi Wells: three boxes of Frosted Flakes. Karen MacDonald: one set of walkie talkies (radios) for the keepers. 



View wish list items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list, here.
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
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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
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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606