Meet Misha and Rufus

Misha (above) and Rufus (below right) are Canada lynx who are currently living at our Galt sanctuary. The brother and sister pair came from Storybook Gardens, a zoo in London, Ontario, Canada. They were retired to PAWS after the London City Council voted to reduce the size of the zoo, deciding to find new homes for all but the domestic animals. Storybook Gardens staff worked collaboratively with local animal welfare groups to find suitable homes in zoos and sanctuaries. Thanks to the help of Toronto-based Zoocheck, and the community group Friends of Captive Animals (FOCA), arrangements were made to transport the lynx to their new home at PAWS in June of 2012.


Born in May 2005, Rufus and Misha are mature adult lynx. When they first arrived at PAWS they were not timid, and seemed delighted to explore their new home. Their habitat is large and grassy, with sunny areas and plenty of shade under the trees. They enjoy each other's company and can often be found curled up together on a soft bed of straw in their den box (pictured below). They are beautiful cats, with distinctive long tufts of fur on their ear tips and deep golden eyes.


Rufus was born with a congenital defect of his spine, which causes him to walk with a very unusual, wobbly gait. Several of the vertebrae in his spine are deformed, pinching his spinal cord and affecting the rear half of his body. Our veterinarian, Dr. Jackie Gai, consulted with board certified veterinary

neurologists at U.C. Davis, who felt that due to the severity of his deformities, surgery would not fix his problem and may even result in paralysis. Rufus receives medication to reduce inflammation in his spinal cord and to help him move more freely. Our goal is to keep Rufus comfortable and mobile for as long as possible, and to help his body keep up with his youthful spirit and energy.


Rufus does not let his disability slow him down. Every morning he makes his rounds, following the keepers as they walk alongside the enclosure delivering breakfast. He is also keenly interested in stalking the occasional bird that flies through the habitat, his fluffy, bobbed tail twitching excitedly. Misha is the more reserved of the two, preferring to perch atop a high platform, surveying all of the activities taking place in the sanctuary around her. Rufus and Misha occasionally spar and play, and they communicate with each other using a distinctive and striking vocalization unique to lynx.


PAWS' staff keep the lynx's habitat stocked with logs cut from fallen trees. Scratching on the bark keeps the cats' claws in good shape. To provide extra traction for Rufus and make it easier for him to walk, a pathway around the perimeter of the habitat is covered in special outdoor carpeting. We replace it periodically and that time is coming soon. Your donation, or a gift card from Lowe's or Home Depot, would be put to good use for this purpose. Gift cards can be sent to PAWS at P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632.




The two cats can often be found curled up together
on a soft bed of straw in their den box.


PAWS Says Goodbye To Sheba


It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Sheba, an African lion. Born in a breeding facility in 1993, she and her brother were sold as "pets" to a man who kept them in his private home in Detroit. When the male lion became too difficult for their owner to handle he was euthanized. Being an inherently dangerous wild animal, Sheba also became increasingly difficult to handle and her owner surrendered her to the Michigan Humane Society. When the Humane Society contacted PAWS cofounders Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, we quickly agreed to provide her with a forever home.


Sheba lived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary for 15 years, where she was finally able to be herself and express normal lion behavior. Once at PAWS, Sheba received a healthy and complete diet and much needed veterinary care. During a routine physical examination it was discovered that Sheba had been declawed on all four paws sometime in the past. Declawing big cats often leaves these majestic animals crippled or in pain for the rest of their lives. Sheba's paws were definitely affected by this surgery, causing her to walk on the tips of her toes. Fortunately, she always had access to soft soil and grass to walk on, and this helped reduce the pressure on her damaged paws.


Sheba was later moved to a much larger habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary, where she lived next door to lioness Camba and the other rescued Bolivian circus lions. Watching Sheba's first steps into her spacious new habitat was an emotional experience for Pat and Ed, as they had always dreamed of a large habitat and companions for this special lion.


Sheba was fond of Pat and Ed, but was not especially enamored of anyone else. At

Sheba would sometimes roll over
on her back and make a low "cooing" sound.

PAWS, animals are completely free to express their wild natures, and they are not required or expected to interact with people. Big cat supervisor Renae Smith recalled meeting Sheba over eight years ago in Galt when she was a new keeper. Sheba seemed calm when Renae would rake leaves outside her habitat fence, and would sometimes even roll over on her back and make a low, "cooing" sound. Sheba maintained this trusting demeanor after her move to ARK 2000, which made it very easy for Renae to administer the medications Sheba needed.


Sheba's mobility gradually decreased over the past two years, but she still enjoyed exploring her grassy habitat. Her favorite spot was resting under a large oak tree where she could look out over the other lion habitats, and where she could watch birds, squirrels, and turkeys pass by. Ed built a dirt pathway and ramp which made it easier for her to walk up and down the hill from her den to her tree. She received a variety of arthritis medications daily, hidden in pieces of her favorite treats.


In late April, Sheba's condition began to decline. Her appetite began to wane, and she was having greater difficulty walking. Medications were adjusted, but ultimately nothing could stop the progression of her symptoms. On May 4th, the difficult but compassionate decision was made to euthanize her. Sheba passed from this life at age 23 - a long life for a lion - surrounded by those who loved her.


A necropsy performed by veterinary pathologists at U.C. Davis revealed that in addition to arthritis, Sheba also had cancer in her kidney, adrenal gland, and lungs.


This magnificent lioness will be truly missed by all who were fortunate enough to meet and care for her.




To learn more facts about the declawing of house cats

and big cats visit The Paw Project's website here.



At the Senate Safety Committee hearing, left to right: Ed Stewart, PAWS' president and cofounder; Gina Kinzley, Oakland Zoo lead elephant keeper; Jennifer Fearing, president of Fearless Advocacy, Inc.; Catherine Doyle, PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy; Joel Parrott, DVM, president and CEO, Oakland Zoo.  

PAWS Battles to Ban the Bullhook

in California - Wins First Vote!


PAWS is one of the key sponsors of SB 716, the California bill introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara that would end the use of bullhooks and similar devices in the state. We are thrilled to report that the bill was passed in the Senate, by a vote of 29 to 7. It now moves to the Assembly.


The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. It is commonly used in circuses, rides and other "entertainment" to dominate and control elephants through pain and fear. Elephants are taught at a young age to associate the bullhook with pain by using it to forcefully prod, hook and strike the animals on sensitive parts of their bodies, sometimes causing wounds and lacerations. This inhumane training continues throughout their lives.


PAWS has been working hard to pass this measure, as it is critical to protecting captive elephants from harm. In addition to keeping our California members active with calling and emailing their state senators, PAWS President Ed Stewart testified before the Senate Public Safety Committee in April, urging senators to vote in favor of SB 716. The bill passed on a 5-2 vote.


Leading up to the vote, Ed Stewart, PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle and PAWS Publications Editor Debbie Casey joined Jennifer Fearing of Fearless Advocacy, Inc., to walk the halls of the State Capitol, meeting with senators' staff and educating them about why the bullhook must be prohibited. We then met with Oakland Zoo General Curator Colleen Kinzley and Lead Elephant Keeper Gina Kinzley for a second day of meetings. It was encouraging to hear that the senators had received numerous phone calls and emails in support of SB 716. Thank you to everyone who took action!


Now we begin our efforts to pass the bullhook bill in the California Assembly, and with the help of California residents we will free elephants in California from a life of pain and fear.


Stay tuned for more information on how you can help!


For information about California's legislative process and how an idea becomes a bill click here. To view a list of supporters of SB 716 click here.



Top Five Myths About Bullhooks


Elephant exhibitors who rely on the bullhook to dominate and control elephants will stop at nothing to defend their inhumane treatment of these majestic animals. Here are the top 5 myths they spread about the bullhook, and the facts that reveal the truth.


Myth #1: Banning the bullhook will harm elephants.

Fact: Prohibiting use of the bullhook will protect elephants from the physical and psychological harm inflicted on them when they are jabbed, hooked and struck with the bullhook during training, performances and routine management.


Myth #2: The bullhook is essential to caring for elephants.

Fact: Progressive zoos and sanctuaries do not use the bullhook. These facilities utilize Protected Contact, which relies on positive reinforcement training, food treats and praise to provide high quality husbandry and veterinary care for elephants.


Myth #3: Prohibiting bullhoook use would put keepers and veterinarians at risk.

Fact: Humans are at greatest risk when working in direct contact with elephants. Veterinarians and keepers working in Protected Contact perform necessary husbandry care and veterinary procedures through a barrier that protects them from harm.


Myth #4: Routine husbandry procedures can be performed safely and stress-free using the bullhook.

Fact: Elephants under control of the bullhook are in a constant state of fear and stress. These elephants have no choice but to comply with commands, and they know that if they step out of line they will be punished. In contrast, elephants managed in Protected Contact voluntarily participate in training sessions because they are positive experiences that include food rewards and praise.


Myth #5: The bullhook is similar to a leash on a dog, or reins for a horse.

Fact: The bullhook is designed to inflict pain so an elephant will immediately respond to the handler. If someone were to use a bullhook or similar device to control a dog or a horse it would be considered cruelty to animals.


And we couldn't leave out this one:


Myth: Without the bullhook, elephants will go extinct.

Fact: There is no logical connection between use of a bullhook and the survival of elephants in the wild.


June 23 - A Day For Elephants


Join PAWS on June 23 for Humane Lobby Day in Sacramento, California, presented by The Humane Society of the United States. This year's event will focus on elephants and passage of two key bills: Assembly Bill 96 to prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horns and Senate Bill 716 to end the use of the bullhook on elephants.


PAWS President Ed Stewart will be one of the speakers at an exciting rally, joining Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, author of AB 96, and Senator Ricardo Lara, author of SB 716. As part of this special day, you can meet with your elected officials or their staff to discuss these important animal protection bills.


For more information and to register (cost is $20 and includes lunch), click here. Deadline for registration is June 18.

Good News For Animals


Performing Animal Legislation


Victory! PAWS applauds Hawaii Governor David Ige for his pledge to end the issuance of permits for entertainment acts using wild or exotic animals, including circuses and other performing acts.


Victory! The Richmond City Council in Virginia voted 8-1 to ban the bullhook and other similar devices used to train and control elephants. The city joins a growing list of localities that have passed legislation aimed at protecting elephants and other performing wild animals.


U.S. News


A recent Gallup poll for the first time asked Americans about their level of concern for the treatment of animals in various settings. When it comes to circuses, the findings show that a whopping 69% of Americans are concerned about the animals used for these shows. Among other findings, poll results show that a modestly increasing number of Americans (32%) believe animals deserve the same protection from harm and exploitation as humans, and 62% believe animals need some protection. Few Americans (3%) believe that animals require little protection. 


International News


South African Airways (SAA) and Emirates Airlines will no longer transport hunting trophies of endangered wildlife, including lions, tigers, elephants and rhinos. Unfortunately, Delta Airlines remains the main transporter of hunting trophies out of South Africa. You can  add your name to a petition urging Delta to end the practice.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) crushed 11 tons of elephant tusks and ivory carvings confiscated in the Gulf nation. The event was aimed at sending a message against poaching and the destruction of elephants for the illegal ivory trade. Dubai is considered a major transit point for the ivory trade.


The presidents of the Republic of Congo and Chad set fire to five tons of ivory seized from poachers, as a sign of their commitment to fighting the illicit wildlife trade. Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou N'Guesso called poaching one of the most savage practices of the time.

Buy Your Tickets Now!

A limited number of tickets are still available for the Pat Derby Celebratory Tea fundraiser on June 7th. This very special event will raise funds for the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center currently under construction at ARK 2000. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

If you cannot attend but would like to make a donation click here.

A BIG Thank You!

May Amazon Wish List Donors

Alan Marifuku: one bottle of Cosequin DS. Linda McNall: one bottle of Cosequin DS, one bottle of RenAvast. Patricia Connelly: one set of booster cables, 10 lbs. of peanuts. Marie Kondzielski: one bottle of Cosequin DS. Jennifer Clark (Loving & Learning): two 40 lb. cases of oranges. Anonymous: two-ton floor jack, one ladder, two bottles of RenAvast, one scoop shovel, three bags of Blue Buffalo, one Libman push broom. Rita Lucas: one bottle of Cosequin DS. Kim Pichler: one bottle of Cosequin DS. Paige Felker: one bag of Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. Cynthia Kendall: one bottle of Cosequin DS, one cotton mop, one box of trash bags, one set of walkie-talkies, one set of booster cables, three boxes of toilet paper. Cary and Sophie Pier: one bag of Natural Balance dry cat food. Maureen K. O'Brien: one tub of Psyllium. Vicki A. Lavetts: one bag of Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. Susan Rancourt: one floor fan w/pedestal. Marcia Carlson: one bottle of Renal Essentials, one bag of Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat. Peggy Buckner: one tub of Psyllium, one bottle of Renal Essentials.


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
Three ways to give and every donation matters.

Donate Your Vehicle

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