PAWS Remembers Pat Derby

This month marks two years since the passing of PAWS co-founder Pat Derby, who died on February 15, 2013, after battling cancer. Pat's indomitable spirit and passionate drive continues to guide us in everything we do today, from animal care to advocacy. Pat co-founded PAWS with Ed Stewart, who continues to lead and build the organization, so that wild animals used in entertainment have a true advocate and a place of safety and sanctuary.
Once a famous exotic animal trainer in Hollywood, Pat saw that animals were suffering and dying for people's entertainment. This is what led her to write her tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, which exposed the dark side of animal training in the entertainment industry. She knew that trainers never abused the animals in front of everyone on a film set - it always happened in private. Animals were sometimes savagely beaten so a trainer could assure a quick and consistent performance once the cameras were rolling. Though many people in the industry knew what was happening, Pat was the first to take action and inform the public of the real price that animals pay for their entertainment. 
"The work that Pat started over 30 years ago is more vital today than ever," said Stewart, recalling how he and Pat carefully documented the horrific lives of animals used in live entertainment, especially circuses, and started the worldwide effort to end their suffering. "Pat started the war on circuses that use wild animals. She was THE voice for lions and tigers in tiny traveling cages and elephants chained by their legs in trucks and railroad cars. Pat Derby was proud to be 'enemy number one' to the circus industry."


Unfortunately, turning a blind eye to the suffering that animals endure for entertainment continues today in film and beyond - from orcas to elephants, from TV advertisements to roadside zoos to circuses and elephant rides. Under Ed Stewart's strong direction PAWS is tackling these issues and advocating for captive exotic and wild animals - just as Pat wished. She believed in not only giving animals sanctuary, but vigorously opposing the powerful industries that exploit them, something PAWS continues to do. We educate the public, work to pass key legislation, and use the media to spread the word about the cruel training and use of elephants, big cats, bears, nonhuman primates and other wild animals who suffer a lifetime for a few moments of "entertainment."
Pat was a remarkable woman, a fearless warrior for the animals who made a real difference for captive wildlife. Everything she did was for the animals - and we continue to honor her legacy each and every day.


2012: Pat Derby and Ed Stewart at ARK 2000. 

Click here to read Ed Stewart's tribute to Pat,
written two weeks after she passed away.

Click here to read about the celebration of Pat's life that was held on March 29, 2013, at the historic Crest Theater in Sacramento, Calif. A video of this memorable evening is available for purchase from our online gift shop.


*   *   *

The following videos were created in honor of Pat Derby and shown during PAWS' 30th Anniversary Gala and the International Captive Wildlife Conference held in November 2014. 





Help us continue Pat's important work. 



PAWS Appears on Morgan Spurlock's

"Inside Man" on CNN


We hope you didn't miss it! PAWS appeared in the February 5 episode of CNN's "Inside

Morgan Spurlock, left, with
PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart.

Man" featuring Morgan Spurlock, who investigated zoos and questioned the very idea of captivity. Spurlock visited the progressive Detroit Zoo and also a decidedly backward roadside zoo - all the while asking thought-provoking questions about whether animals should be confined and put on display. The final segment of this episode was filmed at ARK 2000 and featured the PAWS elephants in their sprawling natural habitats that are far closer to what nature intended for them.


Word is that Morgan Spurlock has since been seen sporting a PAWS t-shirt during other "Inside Man" shows. Check your local listings for the re-airing of the episode featuring PAWS, or check the "On Demand" feature of your service provider.





Ed Stewart, Lulu and Aziz Ansari at ARK 2000.


TV's "Parks and Recreation" Star

Aziz Ansari Visits PAWS
Famous for his role as Tom Haverford in the television comedy "Parks and Recreation," actor and comedian Aziz Ansari and his girlfriend, celebrity chef and author Courtney McBroom, visited PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary this month.
 The couple, who have a long-time passion for elephants, toured the sanctuary with PAWS' president Ed Stewart and later "adopted" African elephant Lulu, who is celebrating her 10th year at PAWS next month. (For information on how you can "adopt" a PAWS animal, please click here.) 






Pictured right:

Courtney McBroom

and Aziz Ansari








Portland Animal Welfare Advocates

Raise "Valentinze" Funds for PAWS


Portland Animal Welfare Advocates (PAWA) and volunteers from Free The Oregon Zoo Elephants (FOZE) held a highly successful "Valentinze Bake Sale and Social" fundraiser on February 7th, benefiting PAWS and elephant Prince (below right). The organizations sold more than 1,000 vegan baked goods and hundreds of raffle tickets, raising more than $1,000 that was used to "adopt" elephant Prince and support his care at PAWS.


When Oregonians learned about Prince, they opened their hearts and generously donated food and prizes and supported this great event. Prince was born at the Oregon Zoo before being sent to the circus as part of a breeding contract. Chang Dee, as he was originally named, was separated from his mother at only one-and-a-half years old, an age at which elephant calves are still nursing and entirely dependent on their mothers. After spending the next 22 years in the circus, Prince came to PAWS, where he enjoys a spacious enclosure and playing in his pools.


PAWS thanks PAWA and FOZE for their generous donation and for ensuring that Prince is not forgotten.


100 Elephant Paintings in 100 Days


Elephant #1

Artist Nancy Hakala is an artist with a passion for elephants. This love of elephants has to led to her partnering with PAWS for the project "100 Elephant Paintings in 100 Days."


Beginning on March 1, Nancy will paint and post one original elephant painting each day for 100 consecutive days. Paintings will be done in a variety of sizes and mediums. All paintings are $100 each (plus sales tax, insurance and shipping/handling). $50 from each sale will be donated to PAWS. Click here for more information on the "100 Elephant Paintings" project.



Gracie: In Memoriam


PAWS is saddened to report the news that Gracie the tiger has passed away.


Gracie was kept illegally as a pet, and was confiscated by law enforcement in 2000. All four of Gracie's paws had been declawed, causing permanent "hammer toe" deformities in all of her digits. This deformity caused her to bear weight directly on the tips of her toe bones - a potentially painful condition that also led to the development of early arthritis in her legs, neck and back. Gracie lived comfortably in a specially-designed enclosure with soft dirt and thick grass that provided extra padding for her feet. She also was given special medications for arthritis every day, hidden in chunks of her favorite meats.  


Gracie lived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary for the past 15 years, next door to another tiger, Nelson, who arrived in 2002. Most days, Gracie could be found lounging under the shade of a lush honeysuckle vine that draped over one corner of her enclosure. PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, planted these beautiful vines and many other trees throughout the Galt sanctuary, to provide welcome shady resting spots for the animals. Gracie held a special place in the hearts of all those who cared for her, as she had a sunny, cheerful disposition and always "chuffed" a greeting whenever anyone came near. 


In 2013, Gracie was anesthetized for a physical examination and she was found to be in remarkably good health for a 19-year-old tiger, except for showing signs of early kidney disease - an all too common ailment of older felines, both domestic and exotic. Special nutritional supplements and medications supporting kidney function were added to her daily regimen, and she continued to do well under the attentive care of PAWS' dedicated keeper and veterinary staff. 


In early February, Gracie began losing weight, not finishing her meals, and was less active - signs that something was wrong. A physical examination revealed that her ailing kidneys had finally reached the point of failure, and our day-by-day goal became keeping her comfortable and eating. When the medications and extra support no longer provided relief, the difficult but compassionate decision was made to euthanize her. Gracie passed gently from this world surrounded by people who loved her.


Gracie was approximately six years old when she arrived at PAWS in 2000, so she was estimated to be 21 years old at the time of her passing. In captivity, healthy tigers may live into their late teens. On occasion, they may even live to be twenty years old, or older. We will certainly miss this special tiger, who will be forever in our hearts and memories. 

Wanda at ARK 2000


PAWS Says Goodbye to Elephant Wanda


Earlier this month PAWS sadly announced the death of much-loved Asian elephant Wanda, who was part of our family for nearly a decade. She had endured a long history of arthritis and foot disease, the most common health problems leading to the euthanasia of captive elephants. PAWS' dedicated husbandry and veterinary staff tended to Wanda's special needs, keeping her comfortable and active for the past 10 years. When it became clear that treatments and medications were no longer helping alleviate pain and stiffness, the difficult but compassionate decision was made to euthanize Wanda. At age 57, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.


Wanda was born in the wild in Asia around 1958, and was tragically taken from her mother and family at a very young age to be put on display in the United States. During her lifetime, she was moved from one location to another at least seven times, including Disneyland, a circus, zoos in Texas, and then the Detroit Zoo in Michigan. Until her transfer to Detroit, Wanda was kept on chains and trained through use of the bullhook, a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker that is used to control elephants through fear and pain. The zoo instead utilized a more progressive and humane management system based on positive reinforcement training that greatly improved Wanda's quality of life and freed her from chains and bullhooks.


Despite the expansion of their elephant habitat in 1998, in 2004 the Detroit Zoo decided to end its elephant program for the good of the elephants - becoming the first zoo in the country to stop the practice of keeping elephants, based solely on ethical grounds. The zoo had determined that it could never provide the conditions necessary to meet elephants' needs, such as adequate room to roam and a warmer climate. This decision launched a worldwide discussion on the ethics of keeping elephants in zoos. In 2005, Wanda and elephant companion Winky (who died in 2008 at age 56 as a result of severe arthritis) were relocated from the Detroit Zoo to PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary.


At ARK 2000, Wanda enjoyed conditions that are far closer to what elephants naturally need. She loved to forage for natural vegetation in the sanctuary's spacious habitat, nap in soft grass on the hillside or under a tree, and take therapeutic swims in the lake. The moderate California climate allowed her to enjoy these activities year-round. She especially enjoyed standing in the soft, cool mud at the edge of the lake, pulling up and munching on the lush vegetation growing at the water's edge.


Unfortunately, the physical damage done to elephants after decades of living in inadequate captive conditions cannot be undone. Small, barren enclosures and being forced to stand on hard, unyielding surfaces often lead to early arthritis, limb deformities and foot infections. At PAWS, Wanda enjoyed the extra attention and TLC provided by her keepers, who administered a variety of daily treatments prescribed by veterinarians including therapeutic foot soaks, foot care, warm baths, laser therapy, topical liniments, and multiple medications and herbal supplements targeted at relieving pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Wanda was always an eager participant in her daily treatment sessions, and received special food treats while she offered each foot to be cared for.


We will always remember Wanda for her adventurous spirit. PAWS' co-founder, the late Pat Derby, remarked at how quickly Wanda adapted to her new life at the sanctuary. With her gregarious and inquisitive nature, Wanda quickly got to know her new elephant companions and confidently explored the far reaches of her new home. When Asian elephant Gypsy later arrived at the sanctuary, it was discovered that the two had performed together in the same circus more than 20 years earlier. The elephants instantly recognized one another and were never far apart. If Wanda and Gypsy wandered away from each other while grazing, swimming, or exploring, they always came back together with a joyful and delightfully noisy "reunion" ceremony - greeting each other with excited chirps and rumbles, and caressing each others faces with their trunks.


Wanda was peacefully euthanized on the evening of February 11th, surrounded by people who loved her. Afterwards, we witnessed a poignant and touching farewell from her close friend Gypsy. Gypsy approached Wanda and stayed at her side for a period of time, gently "scanning" Wanda with her trunk and "speaking" to her in soft elephant rumbles. Then Gypsy slowly walked away. Even in death, evidence of their remarkable friendship had endured.


PAWS has always been deeply appreciative of the Detroit Zoo and their actions on behalf of Wanda. Their decision to send her to sanctuary dramatically changed her life and allowed her to enjoy the simple pleasures of life as an elephant. The Zoos' dedication to Wanda and Winky was unparalleled, and Detroit Zoo Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan, keepers, curators and veterinarians regularly came to ARK 2000 to visit the elephants with whom they had a deep, loving bond.


With heartfelt gratitude, PAWS thanks everyone who joined us in holding Wanda in a special place in their hearts. We sincerely appreciate the love and support you've shown her - and all of the animals at PAWS - over the years.

Brian Busta, ARK 2000 sanctuary manager and PAWS senior elephant keeper, wrote the following poem, a tribute to Asian elephants Annie and Wanda:


Annie Banannie and Wanda Bug
Soaking in the pond or a tub.
Sleeping on the hills and out overnight,
Grazing in the green grass, what a beautiful sight.

Wanda-Lu and Annie-Pants
Shaking off dirt or doing a rain dance
One, social, with friendship unrestrained
One, stoic, whose trust must be gained

Wanda and Annie
Always teaching, always in awe of,
We were their students
Who learned respect, trust, and love

Annie and Wanda,
From wild
    From circus
        From zoo
            To sanctuary
Free from hooks
    Free from chains
       Free from fences
          Free from captivity


Taking Action to Save African Elephants


Elephants and rhinos are being poached at alarming rates - an average of 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa, and more than 1,000 rhinos out of a remaining 29,000 in the wild were poached in South Africa alone in 2014. Unless action is taken now, these iconic species are headed toward extinction. As if that weren't bad enough, the millions of dollars brought in by this atrocious slaughter and the illegal wildlife trade fund organized crime and terrorism and fuel political instability.


Fortunately, several states are taking action to stop the sale of ivory and rhino horns.




PAWS is working to pass AB 96, the California bill co-authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, that would ban the sale of rhino horns and ivory, with some exceptions. Though the state has prohibited the sale of ivory since 1977, a loophole rendered the law unenforceable. AB 96 will close that loophole and allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to enforce the law, with violators subject to criminal and civil penalties. Read the bill here.


California is the second largest market for the sale of illegal ivory in the United States, and these sales are estimated to have doubled over the past eight years. New York State (the largest U.S. market) and New Jersey recently enacted strong prohibitions on the sale of ivory and rhino horns, and the federal government has proposed stronger ivory trade and import regulations.


How Californians can help


If you live in California, please call your Assembly member and urge him or her to co-author AB 96. Follow up your call with an email. Click here to locate your Assembly member. Follow the link to find your Assembly member's contact information, including phone number. You can send a message via an on-line contact form.


The first hearing for this bill will take place on March 10, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. before the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee in the State Capitol in Sacramento. The public is welcome to attend this meeting and show support for the bill.


Please remember: Calls and emails should come from constituents only (e.g., people who live and vote in their districts).


Other California actions


Los Angeles City Council members Krekorian, Koretz, LaBonge and O'Farrell have proposed a resolution to support AB 96. This item has not yet gone to committee for a hearing, which is required before going to the Council for a full vote. Residents of Los Angeles should contact their Council member and ask her/him to support the resolution when it comes up for a vote. Locate your Council member here, using your address. Click on "Email" to send a message.


The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution to support AB 96. The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener and co-sponsored by Supervisors Katy Tang and Jane Kim. It is awaiting the mayor's signature. If you live in San Francisco, please email Mayor Ed Lee  at [email protected] and ask him to sign this important resolution that will help protect elephants and rhinos. You can also call him at (415) 554-6141.


If you live in California and would like to introduce a resolution in your city, please contact PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle at [email protected] for more information.



More States Taking Action to Prohibit Ivory and Rhino Horn Sales. . .


Please support these important bills by sending a message and/or calling your state legislator and simply saying that you strongly support passage of the bill.


Florida has introduced a ban on the sale of ivory and rhino horns, Senate Bill 1120, introduced by Senator Thad Altman. For more information and to follow this bill click here . Find your Florida legislator here.


Hawaii is considering House Bill 837, which would ban the sale and trade of ivory and rhino horns. This is a very important bill, as Hawaii the third largest retail market and possibly the largest online market in the country for ivory. Read more about the bill here.


It is critical that Hawaii residents take action NOW! Please contact your legislators and express your strong support for HB 837. You can email your state Representatives at [email protected] and Senators at [email protected]. On March 3, 2015, the House Judiciary Committee will hear HB 837 at the State Capitol, Conference Room 325 (please verify prior to meeting). Show your support by attending this hearing. The public is invited to speak in support of the bill, and we encourage you to do this.


Maryland Delegate Eric G. Leudtke has introduced HB 713, which would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horn. Read more about the bill here. Please send a message to your legislator in support of this important bill. You can locate your House delegate here (click "Who Represents Me?" just above the House list). A hearing on HB 713 is scheduled for March 4, 2015, at 1 p.m. in the House Office Building, Room 100, Annapolis, Maryland. If you wish to testify in support of the bill, you must sign the witness register 15 minutes before the hearing begins.


Oklahoma will consider House Bill 1787, introduced by state Representative Mike Shelton, which would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horns. For more information on the bill click here. To find out which state legislator represents you click here.


As reported in our last newsletter, Washington State has also introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horn, House Bill 1131 and Senate Bill 5241. Please call and email your state Representative and Senator and urge him or her to support this important legislation. Click here to locate your Representative and Senator.


Legislation is pending in Connecticut and in Massachusetts (SD 648 sponsored by Senator Jason Lewis and HD 1935 sponsored by Representative Lori Ehrlich) that would prohibit ivory and rhino horn sales.


Update on Zimbabwe Elephant Calf Export

PAWS previously wrote about the planned export by Zimbabwe of wild-caught elephant calves and other wildlife. Originally, the number of elephants was believed to be around 30. That number jumped to 60 - and now it is estimated to be more than 80 elephant calves. Destinations for these elephant calves is unclear, though news reports suggest they may be sent to zoos in the United Arab Emirates and China.

In January, PAWS collaborated with 36 elephant experts, conservationists and animal care, policy and welfare professionals from around the world to send a letter  to the Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United States, Ammon Mutembwa, condemning the export (click here to read our letter). Click here to read his response, which includes a letter and a disturbing position statement on the sale of live animals.
The disruption of vital social bonds and life­long incarceration of the elephant calves cause enormous suffering to them, as well as to the families from which they have been taken. In captivity, they will be condemned to suffer a host of confinement-related conditions and a shortened life.
An enormous international outcry stopped the export of elephant calves from Zimbabwe to North Korea in 2010, and stopped Zimbabwe from exporting more elephant calves to China in 2012. PAWS was involved in efforts to stop each of those exports.
It is more important than ever that you take action to stop this travesty. Please send just three brief messages to:
1) The Zimbabwe ambassador to your country. Ask that the elephant export be cancelled. If you were considering traveling to Zimbabwe and have now changed your mind, let the ambassador know that.
2) The ambassadors for China and the United Arab Emirates to your country. Ask them to cancel any plans to buy elephants from Zimbabwe. As long as countries are willing to allow the purchase of wild-caught elephants, calves and their families will suffer. 
Contact information (U.S.):
His Excellency Ammon M. Mutembwa
Ambassador of Zimbabwe, Washington, DC
[email protected]
His Excellency Cui Tiankai
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States of America
[email protected]
His Excellency Al Otaiba
Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States of America
You must use an on-line form for this ambassador. Click here to send a message.
For ambassadors in other countries, please visit their web sites. You can locate those web sites via a Google search.



Good News For Animals


Kudos to Asheville, North Carolina, for changing its policy to restrict shows at the U.S. Cellular Center to ban those with wild or exotic performing animals. Asheville Voice for Animals promoted the ban, and Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer indicated the city would be looking at a city-wide ban. Read more here.


Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) informed PAWS that the Town of Palm Beach in Florida approved an ordinance that bans the exhibition of Class I wildlife (including elephants, tigers, and bears) and restricts the exhibition of other wild or exotic animals. Thanks to ARFF for their ongoing work for wild and exotic animals.


Thanks to the hard work of the organization Robin des Bois (translates as "Robin Hood"), France has tightened its laws and prohibited the export of raw and cut ivory. While not an outright ban on the sale or trade in ivory, it is a step in the right direction. The country also will prohibit the import of live elephants captured from the wild. This is an important move, since news outlets have reported that France was a possible destination for some of the 80 elephant calves recently captured in Zimbabwe for export to foreign zoos.


A coalition of wildlife groups that includes the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Humane Society International has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to uplist the African elephant from "threatened" to "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act. Since the African elephant was originally listed as threatened in 1978, the population has dropped by about 60 percent. Stay tuned for information on what you can do to help.

A BIG Thank You!
February Amazon Wish List Donors

Chris and Gail Gorske: one 30 lb. bag Blue Buffalo dog food. Joel Reiff: one 40 lb. box of oranges (donation in memory of Wanda). Kristina Wiley, DDS: GoPro Smartree extension pole. Mary Ann Shumaker: one 40 lb. box of oranges (donation in memory of Wanda). Kary Pearson: two shovels for the elephant barns (donation in memory of Wanda). Gil Garcia: one tub of Vionate powder, one bag of Blue Buffalo dog food. Patricia Connelly: two boxes of 9x12 envelopes; one box of handing file folders. Rexanne Warner: one shovel for the elephant barns. Pamela Mattson: one bottle of RenAvast; one bag of Blue Buffalo dog food. Anonymous donors: one gallon Red Cell supplement, three rakes, one box of small nitrile gloves. Barbara Greene: one box of medium nitrile gloves; one box of large nitrile gloves. Maggie M. Rufo: three pruning saws for cutting elephant browse. Kaela Palfini: seven boxes Raisin Bran; five boxes Frosted Flakes; two jars of peanuts; three loaves of bread; seven packages of Fig Newtons + $300 cash donation. Dianne Tucker: one box of pillow cases for Ferguson. Patricia Connelly: three bags of Natural Balance cat food for the rescued office and feral cats. Sally Kain: one 40 lb. box of oranges.


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
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

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Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606