Spotlight on Mara
Like all elephants, Mara has a story to tell. Hers began in Africa, where she was born around 1980. She lived with her extended family, as baby elephants do, doted on by loving aunts and older female siblings. Her mother would have been fiercely protective, as Mara explored the rich and complex natural world that was her home.

71 and Mara, circa 1991.
Then disaster struck. Mara's mother was killed in a cull - the unconscionable government slaughter of elephants to reduce the size of a population. Mara surely saw her mother and other family members executed. The traumatized two-year-old calf was captured as part of the operation and sent to the Catskill Game Farm in New York. There she was sold to a European animal dealer who also happened to own the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California, where he sent Mara. The lone elephant at the zoo, Mara "entertained" visitors during the day. But behind the scenes, she was immobilized in chains and trained with a bullhook.

  Mara by the African lake at ARK 2000.
It didn't take long before Mara's life was to change again. The zoo threatened to sell her to a circus in Mexico, but a kindly group called "Friends of Mara" took up her cause, determined to stop the transfer. Fortunately, a very generous mother and daughter donated the funds needed to purchase Mara from the zoo. (This family is still helping Mara and PAWS all these years later, and we cannot thank them enough for their support!) Friends of Mara sent the young elephant to Florida where she lived with 80 other imported elephant orphans on a 600-acre estate owned by Nautilus exercise machine inventor Arthur Jones. After a few years, Jones began selling all the elephants, and Mara was yet again slated for sale to a circus.
That's when PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby stepped in. They had previously rescued a sickly baby elephant named "71" from the same Florida estate. When they heard about Mara's fate, they alerted Friends of Mara and quickly moved to rescue her from a life of misery in the circus. Ed Stewart enlisted the help of a local truck driver and the two men headed out on the 6,000-mile, round-trip journey to Florida to pick up the young elephant and bring her back to PAWS. Mara arrived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in January 1990, and shared a habitat with 71. The two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.
Today, Mara is known for her mischievous spirit, athleticism, high energy, and love of large, leafy branches that she skillfully removes from the sanctuary's trees. She has come a long way from her real home and family in Africa - a life we can never give back to her. What we can do is give her and all of our elephants the best life possible in captivity, for the entirety of their lives.
As elephants have a natural life span of 65-70 years (though their lives in captivity are often tragically cut short due to decades spent in unnatural conditions), it takes real commitment to care for them. We are proud that we have been able to provide our elephants with stability, a spacious and enriching natural environment, and a life of peace and dignity. And it is you, our readers and donors, who make it all possible. Thank you.

More Photos and Videos of Mara and the African Elephants!

In the photo above, Mara (in back) hangs out with elephant companions Maggie, Toka and Lulu. Thika was on the other side of the hill when this photo was taken late last month.

Click here to watch Toka take a mud bath while Mara, Lulu and Thika stand by.

PAWS President Ed Stewart used his cell phone to captured this video of Toka and Mara on a hilltop at ARK 2000.

Click here to adopt Mara or any one of the PAWS elephants.

Solar panels line both sides of the roof of Asian elephant Prince's barn.

PAWS Goes Green!
PAWS is proud to announce that our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas is now powered by solar energy. Clean, renewable energy supplies 97% of the electricity to our elephant barns, big cat and bear facilities, offices, and soon to be opened Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center. Not only are we helping the environment and encouraging clean air and water, we will save nearly $1.5 million in electricity costs over 25 years. This means that even more of your generous donations go directly to animal care and rescue.

Workers begin installation of solar
panels on the roof of the 20,000 sq. ft.
Asian elephant barn at ARK 2000.
PAWS contracted with SUNWorks, one of the fastest growing solar energy system providers in California, to install the 132kW system. There is an array of 420 solar panels on the rooftops of the Asian elephant barn and Prince's bull barn, which produce enough pollution-free electricity to power more than 25 homes for a year. Of course, our California climate is ideal for solar energy, with plenty of sunshine year round.

PAWS is committed to saving captive wild animals, as well as conserving our planet and its wildlife. For example, an entire tree-covered mountainside on the ARK 2000 property has been set aside to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. With our conversion to solar power, we further dedicate ourselves to creating a sustainable world.

Solar power has no associated air pollution emissions, so it does not contribute to global warming which is negatively affecting the world's wildlife on land and in our oceans. In its first month of operation alone, PAWS' solar power system has avoided the production of 25 tons of CO2 and carbon pollution equivalent to burning over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. This important renewable energy also requires no water to operate, so it does not pollute water resources or compete with agriculture or other important water needs.

Special appreciation goes to Ray Pingle (above left), our volunteer solar consultant, for his invaluable assistance in facilitating PAWS' solar energy project. Ray is shown here with PAWS President Ed Stewart as they get ready to flip the switch to bring the solar energy system online.

Shade structure in the African elephant habitat.

PAWS' African Elephants
Get Some Additional Shade
Summers can be dry and hot at ARK 2000, with temperatures in the high 90s or low 100s. These are the days when the elephants will mud themselves more often and take long drinks of water. To provide an additional shade option in an area of the African habitat that has fewer trees, we have constructed a new shade structure where Mara, Maggie, Lulu, Toka and Thika can rest, dust and socialize.
You can help the elephants by making a contribution to offset the $12,000 cost of building the shade structure. Your kind gift will be immensely appreciated by the elephants! Donate here.

Pictured in front of the newly-installed Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center sign are (L-R): Ned Waters of Vet Rocket; PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM; PAWS part-time Associate Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Curtis, DVM; PAWS Registered Veterinary Technician Lynn Dowling; and Andy Fu of Vet Rocket.

Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center
Nears Completion

Construction on the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center at ARK 2000 is almost complete. Cabinets, countertops, overhead lighting, and other fixtures are being installed, which will be followed by a number of finishing touches necessary to enable us to move in and begin using this amazing new facility.
One special feature is an X-ray system developed by Vet Rocket that is durable and portable, allowing us to take high quality, digital images of elephant feet and leg joints that are immediately available for diagnosis. Images can be electronically sent to veterinary specialists when second opinions are needed on special cases. We can also take the unit to our Galt and Amanda Blake sanctuaries for use with other animals. We are excited to integrate this cutting-edge technology into our comprehensive program of veterinary care.
The Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center has been made possible by two generous donors who wish to remain anonymous, and will provide a complete range of veterinary support to the animals at PAWS, greatly enhancing the excellent care we already provide. We are grateful to our major donors, as well as to Dr. Julia N. Allen, PhD, DVM, for underwriting the specialty veterinary equipment, and to Dr. Kristina Wiley, DDS, who last year hosted a special Pat Derby Celebratory Tea to benefit the Wellness Center.

Rhode Island Enacts Nation's
First Statewide Elephant Bullhook Ban

Rhode Island has become the first state in the nation to enact a ban on the use of cruel bullhooks on elephants in traveling shows and circuses.

The bullhook is a weapon resembling a fireplace poker, with a sharpened steel tip and hook at the end. Handlers use the bullhook to forcefully strike, prod, and hook elephants on sensitive parts of their bodies, controlling these highly intelligent and sensitive animals through pain and fear.

Today, progressive elephant keepers use positive reinforcement training, food treats and praise to train and manage elephants. With this method, elephants are provided a full range of husbandry and veterinary care, without the use of intimidation and painful punishment.

The Rhode Island bill exempts the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which continues to use bullhooks, despite a resolution passed by the state legislature in 2014 that recognized "the use of the bullhook causes pain to elephants." The zoo - which proudly claims to use bullhooks every day - believes that without the bullhook zookeepers and other animal handlers would not be able to manage elephants or keep them in captivity. In California, where a bullhook ban is slated for a vote before the full Assembly in August (if passed, it will be sent to the governor to sign into law), no AZA-accredited zoo uses bullhooks. These zoos and PAWS prove that bullhooks are completely unnecessary, as evidenced in the exemplary keeper and veterinary care they provide to their elephants.

Thank you to Governor Gina Raimondo, who signed the bullhook ban into law and sent a loud and clear message that the use of this inhumane and archaic weapon to train and manage elephants is coming to an end. The times are rapidly changing as the public becomes increasingly concerned about the use and treatment of these incredible animals, and elephant professionals acknowledge that bullhook-based management endangers keepers and the public, and is in direct conflict with conservation goals to preserve and protect these iconic animals. 
PAWS is proud to have worked with HSUS Vice President of Wildlife Protection Nicole Paquette, who has long fought for a bullhook ban in Rhode Island, to pass this historic law. Over the past few years PAWS has provided its expertise and professional testimony at committee meetings and met with legislators, and we are thrilled that everyone's hard work has resulted in the nation's first statewide bullhook ban.
We also wish to thank PAWS' celebrity friends who never hesitate to help captive elephants: Bob Barker, who wrote a compelling letter of support to Governor Raimondo; and Kim Basinger, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Ross McCall, and Kevin Nealon, who participated in our Twitter campaign urging the Governor to sign the ban.

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Register Today!
Registration continues for the PAWS 2016 International Captive Wildlife Conference on November 11-12, 2016, followed by an optional visit to the ARK 2000 sanctuary on November 13, led by PAWS President Ed Stewart. This is an event you won't want to miss. Space is limited, so register early!
This premier global summit addresses the confinement and use of exotic and wild animals - with a special focus on elephants, bears and big cats - and featured speakers on the next wave of sanctuaries for elephants, orcas and nonhuman primates. You can expect to hear from leading voices in the fields of scientific research, sanctuary care, conservation, law, and animal welfare, policy and care.
This year's conference will be held in San Andreas, California, home to PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary where we care for elephants, lion, black leopard, tigers and bears. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to visit our beautiful, 2,300-acre natural habitat sanctuary.
PAWS has been presenting outstanding conferences since 1992, attracting attendees from around the world. Our aim is to educate, stimulate critical discussion and promote action to protect and improve the welfare of captive wildlife.  
Conference Program (full program will be available in early September)

Friday, Nov. 11: Bears/Big Cats - Followed by Ice Breaker Reception
Saturday, Nov. 12: Elephants/Next Wave Sanctuaries
Sunday, Nov. 13: Morning visit to ARK 2000 (conference attendees only)
Featured Speakers (to date): Sarah Baeckler Davis, Project Chimps; Carson Barylak, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); Carol and Howard Baskin, Big Cat Rescue; Scott Blais, Global Sanctuary for Elephants - Brazil; Bobbi Brink, Lions, Tigers and Bears; Catherine Doyle, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS); Chris Draper, Born Free Foundation; Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS); Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoo; Pat Lampi, Alaska Zoo; Lori Marino, The Whale Sanctuary Project; Carney Anne Nasser, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF); William Nimmo, Tigers in America; Nicole Paquette, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); Dr. Joel Parrott, DVM, Oakland Zoo; Brittany Peet, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation (PETA); Adam Roberts, Born Free USA; Jamie Sherman, U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Ed Stewart, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS); Julie Woodyer, Zoocheck; Janice Zeitlin, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES).
See you in November!

A BIG Thank You!

July Amazon Wish List Donors

Carole Bognar: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Patricia L Connelly: three boxes of Nitrile gloves (S,M,L). Laury Falter: three 5 lb. tubs of Psyllium; three 20 lb. tubs of Psyllium; three gallons of Optima 365; three 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat; three gallons of Chlorhexidine solution; three bottles of CosequinDS 132#; two bags of 10 lb. Missing Link Ultimate Equine Skin and Coat; three bottles of AminAvast 60#; three bottles of Azodyl 90#. Lisa Mabie: one box Nitrile gloves (L). William Fedun: one box of Nitrile gloves; one case of unsalted, in-shell peanuts; one case of popcorn kernels. Agostino Ippolito: one case of unsalted, in-shell peanuts. Alyson Rossi: two gallons Chlorhexidine solution; two bottles of 32 oz. wheat germ oil. Peggy Buckner: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. A.D.S.: one case of unsalted/in-shell peanuts. Michele Smith: one tub of 5 lb. Psyllium; one bottle CosequinDS 132#. James C. Cooper: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: one scoop shovel, three gallons of Red Cell, one quart of Red Cell, one metal rake, two 24" Libman push brooms, one box of Nitrile gloves (S), one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. 
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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List items on EBAY and choose PAWS as your charity. Donate a percentage of each sale to the animals. Visit our EBAY charity listing page here. Start selling!

Corporate Donations
and Matching Fund Programs
Learn more about what is needed.

Donate Your Vehicle

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.

Shop through IGIVE and raise money for PAWS!
Up to 26% of your purchase - at more than 1,600 retailers - can be donated to PAWS.
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Purchase PAWS apparel and merchandise.
Clothing for adults, kids, toddlers and infants, as well as other fun merchandise like coffee mugs - available from our online gift shop.

Estates/Planned Giving
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Donate To PAWS
PAWS receives no government funding and must rely on your donations to continue our work. Three ways to give and every donation matters. Learn more

PAWS merchandise is fun, educational,
and always makes a great gift!
PAWS' Note Cards
Bears, Tigers, Elephants
Dozens of different designs are now available in our gift shop.
$24.99 for a set of 10 + tax + worldwide shipping

More items, more designs, more fun - all to benefit the animals at PAWS!
Logo clothing available in adult, children, toddler and infant sizes.

"Seeing the Elephant" Weekend Getaways | PAWS Animal Adoptions
Both available for gift purchases.
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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606