August 2, 2016
For Immediate Release

Workmen begin installation of solar panels on the roof of the 20,000 sq. ft. Asian elephant barn at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California.

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Kim Gardner: 916-539-5305,
Catherine Doyle: 323-301-5730,
Nation's First Elephant Sanctuary
Flips the Switch to Go Solar

Performing Animal Welfare Society Cuts Energy Costs,
Helps Environment and Wildlife

  • 2,300-acre natural habitat sanctuary in California is now 97% solar powered.
  • Sanctuary has been caring for rescued or retired captive exotics, including elephants, bears and big cats, since 1984.
  • PAWS models environmental stewardship that protects wild places and animals.


San Andreas, Calif. (August 2, 2016) - The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which founded the nation's first elephant sanctuary, is now powering its 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge in San Andreas, California, with clean, green solar energy. The new system provides electricity to offices, elephant barns and buildings that serve the sanctuary's eight Asian and African elephants, as well as bears and big cats, rescued or retired from circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.

California-based SUNWorks installed the 132kW system, which supplies 97% of the sanctuary's electricity. The organization will save an estimated $1.5 million in electricity costs over 25 years.
An array of 420 solar panels sit atop the rooftops of the 20,000 square-foot Asian elephant barn and a 8,000 square-foot bull elephant barn, producing enough pollution-free electricity to power more than 25 average homes for a year.
"With this solar energy system, PAWS will dramatically reduce the amount of fossil-fuel generated power we use and set an example of good environmental stewardship," said PAWS President Ed Stewart. "PAWS is committed to providing a better life for captive exotic animals, as well as conserving our planet and its wildlife."
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 significantly reduced its carbon footprint, saving the equivalent of 25 tons of CO2 and carbon pollution equal to burning over 4,000 gallons of gasoline. The system also uses no water.
In addition to installation of the solar energy system, PAWS preserves 1,500 acres of pristine natural habitat on the ARK 2000 property to protect this vital ecosystem and the animals that depend on it. Stewart concluded, "With the conversion to solar power, PAWS further dedicates itself to creating a sustainable world for humans and wildlife."

Solar panels line the top of the 8,000 sq. ft. barn occupied by bull elephant Prince.


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Founded in 1984, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) operates three sanctuaries in Northern California, including the 2300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge, that are home to a large variety of species including Asian and African elephants, African lions, tigers, and other exotic animals rescued or retired from circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.

PAWS is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and is rated a four-star charity by Charity Navigator and received an "A" rating from CharityWatch.