Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

February 2022 | Newsletter
Lulu is the oldest African elephant in North America. Born in the wild, she was captured in Swaziland and sold to the San Francisco Zoo. Click here to watch a video of Lulu's arrival at the zoo in 1968. She was retired to PAWS in 2005.
Elephants, Importation, and the Road to PAWS
People often ask us how the elephants we care for came to PAWS. We explain that they were sent to us for a variety of reasons, including government decision, by choice, and by donation. But the real question should be: How did they come to be in captivity in the first place?
Of the seven elephants living at ARK 2000, three of them were captive born. Among the Asian elephants, Nicholas (pictured) was born at a circus, and Prince was born at the Oregon Zoo and sent to a circus before he was two years old (an age at which calves would never be apart from their mothers). African elephant Thika was born at the Toronto Zoo.
Where did the remaining elephants – Gypsy, Mara, Toka and Lulu – come from? Like most of the elephants you see in captivity, they were taken from the wild. We don’t know every detail of our elephants’ stories, but many calves imported to the U.S. had been orphaned as a result of government-sanctioned culls in countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe. They would have witnessed the slaughter of their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and older siblings. Calves were spared so they could be sold to circuses and zoos.
We do know that Gypsy was captured in Asia in 1967. She spent the next 40 years of her life traded between at least a half dozen U.S. circuses. Among the African elephants, Lulu was captured in 1968 (Swaziland), Toka (pictured at ARK 2000) in 1970 (Mozambique), and Mara in 1980 (South Africa). The three of them landed in zoos in California (Lulu and Mara) and Canada (Toka). We can never replace the lives these elephants should have had. But at ARK 2000, they can traverse expansive natural habitats, engage in natural behaviors, and spend their time as they please.
Are wild elephants still captured and imported to U.S. zoos?
Most people believe elephants are no longer captured and imported to the U.S. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In 2003, 11 African elephants were captured in Swaziland and imported by the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and ZooTampa in Florida. In 2016, 17 captured African elephants – also from Swaziland – were flown to the Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, and Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska. In 2019, a group of U.S. zoos submitted a permit request to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife for the import of 28 elephants from Zimbabwe. The request was later withdrawn amid controversy over the import. Zimbabwe had already sold over 100 elephant calves to zoos in China, where they were suffering in poor conditions.
The captures continue.
Namibia is now preparing to export elephants, who were sold at auction last year – and they won’t say where they’re going. Already, 37 elephants have been captured, and the country is in the process of capturing 57 more elephants, according to National Geographic. A government official claims they are capturing elephant groups, as if that makes their actions any less contemptible. While it appears that none of these elephants are coming to the U.S., this action, and those before it, are a moral outrage.
We already know how “modern” captures takes place, thanks to video from a 2017 round-up of elephant calves in Zimbabwe. Helicopters target an elephant family, then fire a sedative from a rifle at the younger elephants. Once a calf falls, the helicopter swoops low to stop the family from coming to the calf’s aid. A ground team binds up the sedated calves and drags them onto trucks. In the video, one handler kicks a baby elephant in the head.
Because elephants do not thrive in captivity, the number of Asian and African elephants in U.S. zoos is unsustainable. So they will continue to plunder the wild, causing unthinkable harm. This is not conservation. Legitimate conservation efforts focus on protecting elephants where they live, rather than filling zoo displays.
Wild captures are opposed by conservationists around the world. It’s time to pressure zoos into taking a moral stand against the capture of wild elephants and lend greater support for protecting elephants and their habitats.
PAWS has long fought against elephant captures and imports. Stay tuned for action you can take to protect wild elephants.
PAWS Co-Founder Pat Derby:
Remembering a Legendary Figure for Captive Wildlife
Nine years ago this month we mourned the passing of Pat Derby, who co-founded PAWS with partner and PAWS President Ed Stewart. Pat truly was legendary, known for her ferocity in the battle against animal abusers and her relentless drive to end the exploitation of captive wild animals used for entertainment – whether in circuses, film and TV, the exotic “pet” trade, or zoos.
Pat’s early career as a well-known Hollywood animal trainer planted the seeds for her later rescue and advocacy work. No longer able to tolerate the behind-the-scenes abuse of captive wildlife used for film, TV and advertising, Pat wrote a tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger (1976). For the first time, the public got an inside look at a shocking world they never even knew existed. This launched her life’s work to educate the public about the suffering of wild animals for entertainment, and to rescue and provide sanctuary for those in need. In 1984, Pat and Ed founded PAWS to fully realize that vision.
PAWS continues this important work under Ed’s able leadership, always working harder and reaching higher in order to change the world for captive wildlife. While she may not have considered herself to be a legend, no one who met Pat could ever forget her and her great passion for animals. She left an indelible mark on the world and our hearts – and she will never be forgotten.

Important note: PAWS practices only “protected contact” management with our animals, which means caregivers do not share the same space with the animals and there is always a barrier between them. This is for the safety of the animals and our caregivers, and it benefits animal welfare.
Happy Birthday to Black Bear Mack –
and Perhaps Some Treats?
PAWS is celebrating Mack’s 7th birthday this month. He is a wild-born black bear who was orphaned when he was a small cub – and he is missing part of his right rear leg. California wildlife officials captured Mack after he was found begging for food and became acclimated to humans. After spending time at a wildlife center, PAWS agreed to give Mack a permanent home. He arrived in 2016.
Today, Mack lives in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000. He spends his days exploring, searching for tasty foods, and, of course, splashing in his pool. Mack receives the best of care and plenty of TLC. Despite his missing limb, Mack is very active and surprisingly agile – and he loves to climb and play. You can view this video of Mack’s joyful antics in his pool!
Your donation for Mack’s birthday = treats!
Mack would love it if you made a contribution to PAWS for his birthday. And what would he want us to spend it on? Healthy treats, of course! Click on the donate button to make Mack’s birthday an even happier one.
February Amazon Wish List Donors:
Lisa Klotz: two 8 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm; one 4 lb. bag of almonds. Amy Lagrone: one bag of dried Papaya. Nancy Perkey: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Eva Herbert: four bottles of AminAvast, 60#. Lynn Bruser: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Sandy Gwinner: one box of Danamarin, 30#. Elaine Green: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Robert Croft: one box of Denamarin, 30#. Anonymous Donors: two boxes of Denamarin, 30#; two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; one 8 lb. tub of Simply Flax; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#; two 32 oz. bottles of EicosaDerm.
We have chosen specific items that are needed at the sanctuary, which you can purchase directly from Amazon. We have an ongoing need for many of the products listed. 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.
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
Rescued tiger Rosemary in her habitat at ARK 2000.
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 gifts make this excellent care possible.
There are many ways
you can help PAWS animals:
Donate. 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. When you make a contribution for the wild animals at PAWS, it is unlike any other. How many people can say they’ve gifted elephants with spacious rolling hills and a more natural life, or made a present of a lush, tree-filled habitat for a tiger? Or given a bear a new chance at life? And you ensure we are prepared for the next wild animal in dire need of rescue. Three ways to give and every donation matters. Learn more
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 four consecutive years of 4-star ratings), meaning that your gift will have the greatest impact possible. CharityWatch gives PAWS an "A" rating.
Give to one of PAWS' ongoing MightyCause campaigns: Our "Dollars for Dirt" or "Give BIG for PAWS' Elephants" fundraisers for the elephants, or our "Support a Rescued Tiger" fundraiser to benefit the rescued tigers living at our ARK 2000 sanctuary.
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
Corporate Donations and Matching Fund Programs. Learn more about what is needed.
Purchase PAWS apparel and merchandise. Clothing for adults, kids, toddlers and infants, as well as other fun merchandise like notecards and coffee mugs - available from our CafePress online gift shop.

PAWS Amazon Wish List. We have chosen specific items that are needed at the sanctuary, which you can purchase directly from Amazon. Many items are ongoing. The list is always current! 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!
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
Donate Your Vehicle To PAWS. Learn more
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. Due to COVID-19 concerns, all PAWS' events have been cancelled until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.