Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

April 2020 | Newsletter

For the Wild Animals at PAWS:
Peace and Quiet Prevails
You’ve probably read stories about wild animals venturing back into towns and cities since the coronavirus shut down much of the world and emptied busy streets. Wild goats regularly enter a seaside town in Wales and munch on windowsill flowers. A mountain lion was spotted asleep in a tree in a normally bustling area of Denver, Colorado. Even in natural settings like Yosemite National Park in California, numerous bears, bobcats and coyotes have come out of hiding. (Typically, more than 300,000 people would visit the park in April.) With the stillness, animals are at least temporarily reclaiming what was once theirs.
At the ARK 2000 sanctuary, we understand that quietness is essential for captive wild animals too, especially those who once suffered terribly in circuses, roadside zoos, and the captive wildlife trade. The tranquility of nature that now surrounds them is an important benefit of the sanctuary that aids in the animals’ rehabilitation. ARK 2000’s truly natural setting and the peace that comes with it allows the animals to relax and engage in more natural and varied activities. They can play, explore, search for food, socialize, splash in a pool, or nap in the sun. The choices are there for them. The animals are also more in tune with the complexities of their surroundings as the seasons change, bringing different sights, sounds, and smells.
An important part of our work is to make the animals’ lives as intrusion-free as possible. This is why we choose to remain closed to visitors, except for a limited number of educational events at ARK 2000. Many of the animals we care for were once on public display: Asian elephant Gypsy was forced to perform in circuses for nearly 40 years. Asian bull elephants Nicholas and Prince came from circuses as well. Ben the bear paced in a tiny, barren cage at a roadside attraction. African elephants Lulu, Thika, Toka, and Maggie spent most of their lives in zoos. African lion Camba traveled in a circus, and the Colorado tigers were exploited at a roadside zoo. At the sanctuary, they now have a safe space and privacy.

Free from the stress of close confinement, cruel training and forced performances, and the numbing tedium that comes from being deprived of all that is natural to a wild animal, the animals at PAWS can unwind. With time, each new rescued animal blossoms, revealing the individual they truly are. Most recently we’ve seen this with the Waystation Three tigers, Mungar, Czar, and Tessa (read more about them here).

Thankfully, ARK 2000 remains tranquil, and the animals are blissfully unaware of the pandemic that surges outside. That’s as it should be. While we face some challenges – as many of you do at this time – our dedicated staff continue to care for the animals and keep the sanctuary operating smoothly. As ever, our priority is the health and welfare of the animals. Part of that is providing the most natural – and quiet – conditions possible in captivity. Shhhhh.
Click on the arrow above to watch African elephant Toka forage on a hilltop at ARK 2000, then rumble to friends Lulu and Maggie in the distance.
Big Day of Giving
Is Right Around the Corner!
Help PAWS Raise $50,000 In 24 Hours
to Feed and Care for the Animals
Donations Matched up to $27,000!
The Big Day of Giving has even more meaning this year, as all of us struggle with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This truly is a time for everyone to come together and help people and animals alike.
This 24-hour online giving event for Sacramento area non-profits starts at midnight on Thursday, May 7th, but you can make your donation now!

Our goal is to raise $50,000 in 24 hours to feed and care for the rescued or retired elephants, big cats, bears, monkeys, and other wild animals at PAWS’ three sanctuaries.   
Make your Big Day of Giving gift TODAY by clicking on the "Donate to PAWS" button below. (Minimum donation is $15; all major credit cards and debit cards accepted. Early donations will be added to the leaderboard on the Big Day of Giving website on May 7.) Or you can donate online on May 7th at (search Performing Animal Welfare Society).
Double Your Donation!
Thanks to matching gifts from The Harriet E. Pfleger Foundation ($20,000), Peg Cheng and Andrew Baldinger ($3,500), the Lapides Foundation ($2,500), and an anonymous donor ($1,000), your Big Day of Giving online gift will be matched up to $27,000!
Please encourage friends, family and colleagues to donate. Use social media to urge your friends to support PAWS – and ask others to share widely!

Thank you!
Thank You from Tiger Mungar!
On behalf of Mungar, a tiger with serious physical challenges, we thank you for your generosity. Many of you answered our call for donations toward the purchase of a special toy that provides physical therapy for Mungar, helping to strengthen his rear legs and improve his mobility. You may recall that Mungar was born with multiple physical disabilities, likely the result of inbreeding by an unscrupulous private owner.

Toys that are specially designed to withstand a big cat’s powerful grip are very expensive. But thanks to an amazing outpouring of love, not only are we able to order a new toy for Mungar, we can purchase indestructible toys for other animals, including African lion Camba. Watch future PAWS’ newsletters for photos of the animals playing with their new toys!
Ed Stewart Comments on Tiger King and What You Really Need to Know About Captive Big Cats
In case you missed it, PAWS President Ed Stewart shared his thoughts in an article about the captive big cat crisis in America and the untold suffering it causes these animals. There is a far bigger story than the Netflix docuseries Tiger King reveals. Click here to read Ed’s article.
We also encourage you to read this article by PAWS friend Cindy Machado, director of animal services for Marin Humane, who has done exemplary work to protect captive wild animals.
Take Action:
Support the Big Cat Public Safety Act
Please contact your legislators in Washington, DC, and urge them to co-sponsor the  Big Cat Public Safety Act . This important bill would prohibit the private ownership of captive big cats and stop pubic contact with these animals – ending cruel cub petting operations and the never-ending breeding on which they depend.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act has been introduced in the House (bill H.R.1380) by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03). The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in September 2019 – the first time it has advanced the bill. Click  here  to see the list of co-sponsors.
The bill has been introduced in the Senate (bill S.2561) by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Pressure is needed to move it forward. Click  here  to see the list of co-sponsors.
Click  here  to locate your representative and senators. If your legislator is already a co-sponsor, please send a message thanking them for their support.
Thank you for taking action!
Click on the arrow above to view Part 2.
PAWS Featured in
"Hiking with Kevin" Video – Part 2!
If you enjoyed the first “Hiking with Kevin” episode that featured PAWS friend and Oscar Award-winning actress Kim Basinger and PAWS President Ed Stewart, then you’re in luck. Kevin Nealon has released a second episode in which you’ll learn more about Kim Basinger and get to see the ARK 2000 sanctuary and the animals we care for. “Hiking with Kevin” is a weekly YouTube feature created by the famed comedian and actor in which he interviews celebrities while hiking with them, often providing entertaining insights.
PAWS thanks Kevin Nealon, a great friend to animals and a long-time friend and supporter of PAWS, for choosing ARK 2000 as the site for this episode. And we thank Kim Basinger, also a cherished friend and long-time PAWS supporter, for all that she’s done for us. We also want to recognize Matthew Modine, the man behind the other camera!
Watch episode 1 here .
PAWS Joins Call to Ban Live Wildlife Markets Worldwide

For World Health Day on April 7, PAWS joined more than 200 organizations around the world in a letter calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend that governments worldwide permanently ban live wildlife markets and the use of wild animals in traditional medicine. These actions would help protect human life from future pandemics such as COVID-19: Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases originate from animals, and 70% of these are believed to originate in wild animals. The trade in wild animals is also a major contributor to the global decline in wildlife and biodiversity and causes immense animal suffering. You can read the letter here .
Good News for Animals
Virginia has banned public contact with dangerous captive animals, including most big cats, and all bears and nonhuman primates. This effectively shuts down cub petting operations. The law goes into effect in July 2021. (Sadly, local politics prevented the inclusion of elephants.)
Westchester County (New York) lawmakers unanimously voted to ban circuses from using performing wild animals. The bill is expected to be signed into law. It also prohibits the use of weapons such as bullhooks and electric prods and bans advertising for circus animal displays.
In Madrid, Spain , a law that bans the use of wild animals in circuses goes into effect this month. Madrid joins nine Spanish regions, including Catalonia and Valencia, in banning wild-animal circuses.
California has granted temporary endangered species status to certain mountain lion populations in the state that have become vulnerable due to development and other human activities. Six mountain lion populations in Southern California and on the Central Coast will be protected during a one-year state study to determine the need for formal protection. Currently, California’s mountain lions are classified as a “specially protected species.”
Farewell to Longtime Friend,
Black Leopard Alexander
When the late PAWS co-founder, Pat Derby, received a call from the Houston SPCA saying they needed emergency placement for a black leopard, they weren't exaggerating. According to the shelter director, the big cat was "eating his way to the poodles" after spending seven months in a facility that was designed to hold domestic cats and dogs, not leopards!
Alexander was born in April 1998 and purchased as a cub by a Texas family who kept him as a "pet." After the family had two run-ins with authorities, including an incident where Alexander clawed a toddler, he was confiscated by animal control officers. PAWS agreed to provide a lifetime home, and Alexander arrived at our Galt sanctuary in March 1999. He was named after PAWS’ friends Nanci and Leslie Alexander, former owners of the Houston Rockets. 
Alexander lived at our original Galt sanctuary until Mrs. Audrey Steele Burnand and her family surprised us with an extraordinarily generous donation that enabled PAWS to construct a new habitat for him at ARK 2000. Moving Alexander to San Andreas was Pat Derby’s dream come true. PAWS President Ed Stewart recalls, “ Alex was one of the first animals on Pat’s daily early morning greeting tour in Galt. He would drop out of the old plum tree each day and bound over to her when she approached. Everyone (animals and humans) knew everything was going to be okay when they heard Pat’s voice.  While Alexander’s Galt enclosure was lush, Pat always wanted a huge space for him complete with a pool and lots of trees and hiding places. When she was in hospice care she could see the construction progressing on Alexander’s wonderful new home from our house. He arrived a few months after Pat passed away. Now I look across to Alex’s hilltop home and think of both of them."
Alexander moved into his new home in May 2013, a large hillside habitat with shady oak trees to nap under and open, grassy areas where he could sunbathe. Caregiver Larry, who took care of him in Galt, remembers how sunlight revealed the spots under the leopard’s dark coat. From just the right angle, they looked iridescent. Alexander was a most handsome leopard indeed.
Alexander loved lounging on his elevated platform, and from his perch he had a wonderful vista, including the elephants foraging in their habitat across the road. He thoroughly enjoyed rolling and "chasing" the pumpkins given to him every fall. He would roll onto his back and rabbit-kick his toys and often pounce on a hay pile with his tongue sticking out. Caregiver Renae recollects his love for fresh lavender sprigs, the scent of which made him drool in absolute bliss. Alexander would “purr” and chirp like a bird when he was happy, and his playful antics brought us great joy.
As Alexander aged, he developed arthritis in his left shoulder and elbow. In addition to medications and supplements to support joint health, PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai prescribed physical therapy in the form of walks around his large habitat, accompanied by a caregiver on the outside of the fence. Many of us will always fondly remember our walks with Alexander. 
Like many elderly cats, Alexander developed kidney disease. Supplements to support kidney function helped him greatly, and he continued to thrive for another three years after his diagnosis. In early April, Alexander's health took a sudden, dramatic, and irreversible turn for the worse, and the heart-wrenching but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize him. Alex passed from this life on April 1st, surrounded by many who loved him. He left a lasting impression on the hearts of all who knew him, including many PAWS supporters, and he will be missed always.
We once again thank Mrs. Burnand and her family for the wonderful life they provided for Alexander at ARK 2000. We are forever grateful for their friendship and support.
Alka, Last Tiger from
Historic PAWS Rescue, Passes Away
In 2004 PAWS undertook what was then the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history, saving 39 sick and starving tigers from a roadside attraction in Colton, California, that once offered public tours and photos with tiger cubs. When state officials closed the facility and confiscated the animals, they found more than 90 dead tigers – including 58 baby tigers in a freezer. Thirteen others were barely alive. The rescue was an enormous undertaking for PAWS – and one of the most memorable rescues in our 36-year history. So it is with heavy hearts that we announce that the last of the tigers, Alka, has passed on.
At the time of the rescue Alka was thought to be five years old, and she had only ever known stress and deprivation. She arrived with four companions – Mookie, Patty, Ginger, and Quiggle – and stayed with this group in their new home at PAWS until the others passed away. Mookie was Alka's closest friend and although their relatedness may never be known for certain, they looked and behaved like closely bonded sisters.
Alka quickly adapted to her new life at ARK 2000, where she enjoyed sixteen years in true sanctuary. For the first time in her life, she could relax and enjoy a large, grassy habitat with trees to scratch and sleep under, bushes to hide behind and then pounce on her friends, and a swimming pool with cool, refreshing water. Although every tiger had their own cozy den box, Alka usually preferred to snuggle with Mookie (above) at night. Tiger Supervisor Renae remembers Alka's unique voice and her outgoing, vocal personality. She would "talk" to her caregivers at mealtimes and when excited to go out into her habitat to explore new scents and new toys.

As Alka got older, she was gradually affected by kidney disease and arthritis - two ailments that commonly afflict elderly cats, both exotic and domestic. Her dedicated caregivers doted over Alka, especially after Mookie passed away in 2018 from kidney failure. Special supplements and medications kept her comfortable and active, and the sides of her pool were altered so she could easily get in for a swim. Limited vision and hearing didn't slow this resilient older lady down; every morning she made her rounds to see what her neighbor tigers were doing. 
In early April, Alka suddenly became weak and had difficulty walking, and her normally hearty appetite declined. When it became clear that her kidneys were failing, and that medications and special care were not helping, the difficult but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize her to prevent suffering. Alka passed from this life on April 14th at the estimated age of 21 years, surrounded by many who loved her. We will always remember her beautiful face, and her fearless joy of living is an inspiration to all who knew her. 
PAWS thanks everyone who contributed to helping the 39 Colton tigers along the way, including those who “adopted” tigers, donors who contributed to their care, the Fund for Animals' Chuck Traisi and an army of volunteers who provided 24-hour care for the tigers before their transport to ARK 2000, and those who helped deliver them safely.

To learn more, you can view a documentary film about this historic rescue, "39 Tigers," by Tigers in America . Click on the arrow below to view. 
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
Did you know that PAWS has an Amazon Wish List? We have chosen specific items that are needed at the sanctuary, which you can purchase directly from Amazon. Click here to review the items and donate. You can also review “wish list” items that are needed but not listed on Amazon. Click here for that list.
Thank You April
Amazon Wish List Donors
Jaci Inama: one Probiocin; one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Tricia Downey: one bag of Pill Pockets, 60#; one Probiocin. Suzi Brooks: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one Crananidin, 75#. Geraldine Hayward: one Probiocin; one bottle of Azodyl, 90#; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one Crananidin , 75#; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one 2-pack of Laxatone, 4.2 oz. one pack of AA Batteries, 24#; one pack of AA Batteries, 48#. Julie: one 64 oz. box of Raisins. Kimberly A. Schmidt: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; one box of Denanarin, 30#. Susan: one 64 oz. box of Raisins. Mary Nelson: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Craig and Azadeh Morrison: one pack of AA Batteries, 24#. Anonymous Donors: four boxes of Denamarin, 30#.
There are many ways
you can help PAWS animals:
Donate To PAWS. Although we work closely with regulatory agencies on animal rescues, 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

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! Learn more

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. Learn more

Estates/Planned Giving. You can help us make sure captive wildlife in need of shelter will always have a PAWS sanctuary to call home! Learn more

Give to one of PAWS' ongoing MightyCause fundraisers: the "Dollars for Dirt" or "Give BIG" campaigns for PAWS' elephants, or our "Support a Rescued Tiger" campaign to benefit the 14 rescued tigers living at our ARK 2000 sanctuary.
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 .

Shop online through IGive and raise money for PAWS! Up to 26% of your purchase - at more than 1,600 retailers - can be donated to PAWS. Learn more

PAWS Amazon Wish List. View here , and shop using  AmazonSmile .

EBAY Giving Works. 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 To PAWS.

Attend A Fundraiser. PAWS sanctuaries ARE NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC but we do schedule a limited number of special events throughout the year. Click here to view PAWS' Calendar of Events.
PAWS provides lifetime care to the tigers, bears, elephants, and other animals who call our sanctuaries home. Your kind support provides expert daily care, necessary veterinary treatments, and specialized nutritional support, all tailored to the individual needs of each animal.
Your generous donations make this excellent care possible.

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