2015: PAWS' Achievements and Memorable Moments

As the New Year quickly approaches, I am so proud of our accomplishments for captive wild animals in 2015: from the exceptional care we provide for the big and small cats, bears, elephants and other animals at our three sanctuaries - many of whom once lived in misery and without hope - to legislative victories that bring us closer to ending the use of captive exotic animals in entertainment. 2015 was another memorable year for PAWS, one that you made possible with your involvement and generous support.  I look forward to working with you toward even more great achievements in 2016!

Warm wishes to you this holiday season, and throughout the coming year.

Ed Stewart
President and Co-founder

PAWS: Year in Review

PAWS President Ed Stewart started the year by hosting a special breakfast for the Boys and Girls Club of Sacramento and treating the young attendees to a special showing of "Walking with Dinosaurs" at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. During the breakfast, he shared inspiring animal rescue stories and information about the animals and work of PAWS. (Of course, no live animals were present.) He also warned of the dangers of extinction for large mammals, like elephants, and the need to protect and conserve them in the wild.


CNN's Morgan Spurlock (left)
with Ed Stewart.

PAWS was featured on CNN's "Inside Man" with Morgan Spurlock, who investigated zoos and questioned the very idea of captivity and whether animals should be put on display. The final segment of the episode "Morgan See, Morgan Do" (Season 3, Episode 3) was filmed at ARK 2000 and featured an interview with PAWS President Ed Stewart, along with glorious footage of the PAWS elephants enjoying their expansive natural habitats. "Inside Man" is currently available for viewing in the U.S. on Netflix.

Golden Globe-nominated actor, comedian and best-selling author Aziz Ansari visited the PAWS sanctuary in February.  Famous for his role as Tom Haverford in the television comedy "Parks and Recreation," Aziz (pictured left, with Ed Stewart and Lulu) and his girlfriend, celebrity chef and author Courtney McBroom, spent time with the elephants at ARK 2000. Aziz "adopted" African elephant Lulu.


Historic announcement! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made the announcement that it would phase out its elephant acts by 2018. The circus cited a "mood shift" among consumers and increasing legislation as reasons for the action. PAWS credits the California bullhook bans passed in Los Angeles and Oakland as the turning point for this decision. These ordinances were critical because they directly affected a major circus and set the stage for large cities across the U.S. to consider similar legislation. PAWS was instrumental in passing the Los Angeles and Oakland bans, continuing the ground-breaking work started in 1984 by PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby, who were the first to investigate and expose the horrific lives of elephants and other animals used in entertainment.

  African elephant Lulu.
Cause for applause! In March we celebrated the tenth anniversary of African elephant Lulu's arrival at the PAWS sanctuary. At age 49, Lulu is one of the oldest living African elephants in the U.S.
PAWS worked with top celebrities to support the California bill to end the sale of ivory and rhino horns. More than a dozen Hollywood movers and shakers lent their star power and support in a letter sent to bill co-sponsors Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara. Governor Jerry Brown later signed the bill into law. The signatories included comedian and actor Aziz Ansari, Academy Award-winning actress Kim Basinger, Emmy Award-winning television legend Bob Barker, award-winning actress, comedian and producer Lily Tomlin, and many others. View the letter here
PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, Catherine Doyle, participated in the Living with Animals Conference at Eastern Kentucky University. As part of the "Living with Elephants" panel, she presented a paper on "Keeper-Elephant Relationships: A Discussion of Patterns found in Keeper Perception of the Human-Elephant Relationship, and the Potential for Disconnect."
San Francisco became the largest U.S. city to ban all performances involving wild or exotic animals, and PAWS is proud to have contributed to that effort. PAWS President Ed Stewart spoke at a city Public Safety Committee meeting, encouraging members to support this important action introduced by Supervisor Katy Tang. The ordinance was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
PAWS President Ed Stewart participated in the premier of the documentary film, "Tyke Elephant Outlaw," by filmmaker Stefan Moore, including a post-screening panel discussion. Ed is featured in the film, which tells the gripping and emotionally charged story of Tyke, a female African elephant in a circus who came to a tragic end. "Tyke" is now available through Netflix worldwide, excluding Canada, Ireland and Denmark. Watch the film online in the UK and Ireland on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Dogwoof TV.
PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai addressed an eager group of students at the U.C. Davis School of School of Veterinary Medicine's Animal Welfare Lecture Series, hosted by the students of the Behavior Medicine Club. Dr. Gai was invited to speak on the topic, "Captive Elephant Welfare: A Veterinarian's Perspective."

Rallying for elephants! President Ed Stewart was a featured speaker at a rally held on the steps of California's State Capitol for Humane Lobby Day (sponsored by The Humane Society of the U.S.). Joining PAWS was "CSI" television star Jorja Fox and Gina Kinzley, lead elephant keeper at the Oakland Zoo. The day was all about elephants and two elephant protection bills before the legislature.

Gina Kinzley, Ed Stewart and "CSI" star Jorja Fox 
at the California State Capitol.

PAWS remembers co-founder, the late Pat Derby. On June 7, a special celebratory birthday tea and benefit was held at the Linde Lane Tea Room in Dixon, California, hosted by Linde Lane owner Dr. Kristina Wiley. An intimate crowd of 70 guests enjoyed a magical event filled with fabulous food, friends and fun. Held on Pat's birthday, this event raised more than $7,000 to benefit the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000.

Friends gathered together on June 7, to celebrate
the life of PAWS' co-founder Pat Derby.


Breaking new ground. Construction began on the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center, the first comprehensive on-site veterinary clinic at ARK 2000. Dedicated to the late PAWS co-founder, the facility was part of her vision to significantly expand PAWS' ability to care for the animals at the sanctuary. Providing veterinary care on-site, rather than transporting animals to U.C. Davis for certain procedures, will be less stressful for the animals and allow us to hospitalize those in need of specialized treatment and care. The Center is expected to be completed in Spring 2016.

California county fairs are officially elephant-ride free! In April, the Kern County Fair board voted to end elephant rides in 2017. But when they offered the company providing the rides, Have Trunk Will Travel, a two-year contract, the company opted not to sign it. PAWS and award-winning television host and elephant advocate Bob Barker fought the rides. Mr. Barker personally reached out and urged Fair board members to end the rides, and PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle testified before the Fair board on more than one occasion.

The city of Austin, Texas voted to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants. PAWS is proud to have provided professional support for this important effort, led by local advocates.

In the aftermath of the devastating Butte Fire that burned in Calaveras and Amador counties, destroying more than 70,000 acres and claiming two lives, PAWS - which remained safe during the fire - stepped up to help the community and its animals. PAWS President Ed Stewart (left) delivered supplies to shelters housing pets and hay to those housing livestock. When he learned that eight big dog kennels were needed, he put the word out and within 45 minutes PAWS volunteers raised the money to purchase the crates. PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Jackie Gai (right) and part-time veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Curtis delivered supplies to the Calaveras County Animal Services shelter in San Andreas and provided veterinary services. They also tended to animals at the Jackson Rancheria and Casino, which transformed its facility and grounds into an evacuee center for victims of the fire and their animal companions.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB96 into law, banning the sale of ivory and rhino horns. PAWS is proud to have been a key supporter of this important bill that helps protect elephants in the wild.

Marching against the illegal wildlife trade in October.

PAWS once again joined hundreds of advocates for the Global March for Elephant and Rhinos in San Francisco, California. PAWS President Ed Stewart delivered a rousing speech to a large crowd at a kick-off rally before the march, urging action for elephants and rhinos before it's too late.


Ed Stewart presented at the "Sea-Pen Sanctuaries: Progressing Towards Better Welfare for Captive Cetaceans" workshop that was part of the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Francisco, California. Ed spoke on the topic of "Today's Captive Wildlife Sanctuary," sharing his experience and information about the PAWS sanctuaries.

Nicholas with his birthday "cake."

Happy birthday Nicholas. On December 15, the elephant staff at ARK 2000 prepared a special "cake" for Asian bull elephant Nicholas in celebration of his 22nd birthday. Nicholas is the youngest elephant living at PAWS. He was 13 years old when he arrived in 2007. PAWS is the only accredited sanctuary to care for bull elephants.

Only 10 More Days for 2015 Tax-deductible Giving

There is still time to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to PAWS. Make your contribution online, or call our office at 209-745-2606 (M-F, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST) and have your credit card handy. Postmark your gift to PAWS by December 31, and you can claim a tax credit for 2015. You can also make a gift of a stock donation to PAWS by December 31. Please contact Kim Gardner at kgardner@pawsweb.org or call 916-488-3991 for more information.
Your tax-deductible holiday gift of $15, $50, $500, or even $5,000 provides expert daily care, necessary veterinary treatments, and food for the elephants, tigers, lions, bears, primates, lynx, and other exotic animals who have found safe refuge at PAWS. Every gift matters!
It's easy (and quick!) to make a year-end gift to PAWS. Click here to donate.

PAWS is proud of its 4-star rating with Charity Navigator - the highest rating possible. We are part of an elite group of charities with an "exceptional" designation (at least 4 consecutive years of 4-star ratings), meaning that your gift will have the greatest impact possible.

PAWS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. PAWS Fed ID# 94-3005157.

Sneak Peek at 2016

As you can see, 2015 was a productive year in our work for the animals. Each and every day we are working hard to make a better world for captive big cats, elephants, bears, nonhuman primates and any wild animal forced to perform in a circus, give rides, suffer in a cramped cage on display, or be kept as someone's exotic "pet."
Since our inception in 1984, PAWS has always strived to raise the standards of care and welfare for captive wildlife, with our ARK 2000 sanctuary and its expansive natural habitats standing as a model for other facilities to follow. We have never waivered in our commitment to stopping the problem at its source, which is why we use our experience and expertise to initiate and help pass legislation to restrict and ultimately prohibit the use of wild animals in entertainment, roadside zoos, and as "pets." You play a critical part by taking action on important causes, and we hope you will continue to support our efforts in 2016.
Here is a quick look at some of what you can expect to see in 2016: 
  • PAWS will return to the California State Capitol with another bill to ban the bullhook in the state. PAWS was a co-sponsor of SB 716, along with the Oakland Zoo and The Humane Society of the U.S., which Governor Jerry Brown chose not to sign for reasons that had nothing to do with the merits of the bill. However, we will offer a version of the bill that the Governor can sign in 2016, and keep the same timetable as expected with SB716.
  • PAWS will be lobbying for bullhook bans in even more places next year. The bullhook is a menacing weapon with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end, and it is used to control elephants through pain and fear, particularly in circuses, rides and entertainment. It has no place in any city, county or state!
  • Save the date! PAWS will be presenting another great conference on captive wildlife in November 2016, featuring some of the top experts in their fields. Stay tuned for more details!
  • Look for the opening of the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000.
  • African elephant Lulu will be celebrating her 50th birthday.
  • PAWS has added a third Open House at ARK 2000 so even more people can learn about the animals we care for and the important issues surrounding their welfare in captivity and conservation in the wild. Tickets for this event are now on sale.

PAWS thanks each and every one of you for your compassion and generous support. You are the ones who truly change the world for captive exotic animals by giving them hope, safety and comfort in our sanctuaries and a light at the end of the tunnel with the passage of protective laws. 


It is with heartfelt appreciation that we thank: 
  • You, our supporters. You are the ones who make our work for the animals possible!
  • Dr. Jackie Gai, PAWS' long-time veterinarian, for her dedication to each and every animal, and for responding anytime, day or night, when a PAWS animal is in need.
  • Our dedicated and talented staff who put their hearts and souls into the care of every animal at PAWS.
  • Our committed volunteers, who are always there for us and for the animals.
  • The generous companies and individuals who provide in-kind services that help us help more animals in need.
  • Everyone who supports the care of our animals by making a contribution, donating needed items via the Amazon Wish List, and giving in other ways.  
We wish you all the very best for the coming new year!

#GivingTuesday 2015

PAWS would like to thank everyone who donated to our cause on Giving Tuesday, an annual day of charitable giving that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Because of your incredible generosity, PAWS met its goal of $20,000 to purchase two used trucks that are sorely needed at the sanctuary for everything from picking up and delivering food for the animals to important maintenance of the property. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Swaziland Elephants Still Need Your Help!
About a year ago PAWS was fighting the cruel export of wild-caught elephant calves from Zimbabwe to zoos in China. Sadly, those calves were exported and will spend the rest of their lives in captivity. At that time, no one would have expected that we would be fighting yet another elephant export. . . this time to zoos in the United States.
Despite the life-long suffering caused when elephants in the wild are captured and removed from their mothers and families to stock zoo exhibits, the Dallas Zoo, Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas are seeking to import 18 young elephants from Swaziland. The zoos are using the same tired public relations ploy, saying the elephants would otherwise be killed. In fact, an organization in South Africa has offered to pay to relocate the elephants to a protected area in Africa.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will consider comments submitted by the public - more than 3,000 of them - before determining whether to grant the necessary permit. PAWS, working with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA and private attorney Deborah Robinson, submitted comments that you can read here. However, the FWS has publicly implied that it favors granting the permit.
Worldwide, zoos have never stopped capturing elephants from the wild for display, claiming to educate the public about the need for conservation, yet the same problems for wild elephants persist and are even worsening. We can't say it enough: The answer is not to remove elephants from the wild but to protect them where they live.
It's not too late. Please use your voice to try and stop this import.
What you can do to help
Call and email your elected officials in Washington and urge them to use their influence to stop the FWS from approving the import permit. Find your representative and senator(s) here.
You can use this sample message (please personalize to make it more effective):
I am shocked to learn that three U.S. zoos (Dallas Zoo, Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, and Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas) are seeking a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import 18 wild-caught elephants from Big Game Parks in Swaziland, an organization that is highly questionable. This permit should not be granted because the application submitted by the zoos is seriously flawed, and because the practice of capturing wild elephants and importing them for display in captivity is archaic, inhumane, and unethical. It does nothing to help conserve African elephants.
Big Game Parks claims it will kill the elephants if the permit is not granted. This is extortion of the worst kind. There is no evidence that the zoos or Big Game Parks ever tried to relocate the elephants in Africa. Zoo claims that poaching, habitat loss and other threats prevent relocation are self-serving and only used to justify the import of these elephants. In fact, there are several alternatives to exporting the elephants to zoos, including an organization in South Africa that is offering to relocate the elephants in Africa, where they have the greatest conservation value.
Elephants are intelligent, highly social, sensitive and self-aware. There can be no justification for the cruel separation of young elephants from their mothers and social groups for the purpose of incarcerating them in zoos. Furthermore, captivity does not guarantee elephants a good life: A 2012 "Seattle Times" report found that elephants are not thriving and are not self-sustaining in zoos. Of the 321 deaths studied by the "Times", half the elephants were dead by age 23, about a third of their expected life span of 65-70 years. Most died from injury or disease associated with captive conditions. Zoos are desperate to restock their exhibits, even if it means plundering the wild for more.
I urge you to investigate this situation and to do so quickly, before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a decision. Based on media reports, the agency appears biased toward the zoos, even though the permit application is seriously flawed. I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.


For more information on the proposed import, read "The Conservation Charade" by PAWS Director of Science, Research & Advocacy Catherine Doyle and Keith Lindsay, conservation biologist with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Kenya.

Great News to End 2015
Hawaii is set to become the first U.S. state to ban performing wild animals. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board unanimously approved a proposed rule change to define "dangerous wild animals" and prohibit their import for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs. However, they will still be allowed in commercial filming for television or movies. Banned animals include bears, elephants, tigers, primates, rhinos, hippos, hyenas, crocodiles and big cats.

A BIG Thank You!

December Amazon Wish List Donors
Catherine C. Zugar: one bottle AminAvast 60#, one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium, two cases of copy paper. Patricia L. Connelly: two 30 lb. bags of Blue Buffalo, one bottle AminAvast 60#, two pairs flex grip gloves. Dahlia Loza: one bottle Azodyl 90#, two 40 lb. boxes of oranges. Kristina Wiley: two Libman deck scrub brushes, one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium. In Loving Memory of Estelle Criddle Blair (Helping animals was her passion. Paying it forward, with love.): one bottle of CosequinDS 132#, one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium, one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat, one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Equine Skin & Coat, one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Equine Skin & Coat, one bottle of AminAvast 60#. Carole Bognar: one case of paper towel. Robert McCorkle: one Greenworks cordless pole saw. Paula Eggleston: one 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo, one bottle of Azodyl 90#. Dawn Brooks: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Peg Cheng: one bottle of AminAvast 60#, three 10 lb. tubs of Psyllium, two 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Equine Skin & Coat. Jean P. Walraven: one bottle of AminAvast 60#. Lynn Castiglione: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donations: Two boxes of hand warmers, one Presto popcorn popper, two shovels for the elephant barns, one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium.
View wish list items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list, here.

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