Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

January 2020 | Newsletter
Big Anniversary
for African Elephant Mara:
30 years at PAWS!
This month we are marking a very important anniversary: It was 30 years ago that African elephant Mara arrived at PAWS. She is the sanctuary’s longest-term resident and remains one of our more colorful personalities, known for her fun-loving spirit, athleticism, and high energy. She loves to push on trees, eat leafy branches, and dig deep holes in the ground to create mud wallows and dusting areas – just as wild elephants do. Mara is also a survivor, as you’ll see from her story.
Mara was born into an extended elephant family in Kruger National Park in South Africa where she would have been raised by her mother, grandmother, aunts and older female siblings. She would have played with other calves, explored a rich and complex natural world, and learned how to behave in elephant society. Her family would have protected her no matter what – but they were no match for what was to come.
When Mara was less than two years old, she witnessed her mother and other adult family members killed in a cull - a government sanctioned slaughter of elephants to reduce the size of a population. The traumatized calf was captured as part of the operation and sold into captivity, ending up at the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California. There, she was named "Baby Mara." As the zoo's lone elephant, she "entertained" visitors during the day – but behind the scenes she was at times immobilized in chains and trained with a bullhook.
Mara’s life was soon to change again when the Happy Hollow Zoo decided to sell her to a circus in Mexico. Fortunately, a kindly group called Friends of Mara took up her cause, and a generous mother and daughter stepped in and donated the funds needed to purchase Mara. (This family is still helping Mara and PAWS all these years later, and we are extremely appreciative of their support.) Friends of Mara sent the young elephant to Florida where she lived with more than 80 other imported elephant orphans on a 600-acre estate owned by businessman Arthur Jones. After a few years Jones’ fortunes changed and he began selling off the elephants. Mara was again slated for sale to a circus.
PAWS co-founders Ed Stewart and the late Pat Derby had previously rescued a sickly baby elephant named "71" from the same Florida estate. When they heard about Mara's impending sale, they alerted Friends of Mara and quickly moved to rescue her from a lifetime 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 (above). They were the first elephants to be rescued by a sanctuary in the U.S. The two remained companions until 71's death in 2008.
Today, Mara continues to roam her expansive habitat at ARK 2000, along with African elephant Thika (left). Together they forage on fresh vegetation, nap in the sun, and explore a complex natural environment that changes with the seasons and offers stimulating smells, sounds, and choices.
It also happens that Mara is turning 40 – so we are celebrating two milestones for this beloved elephant! Elephants in their forties are considered to be in the prime of their lives and, in nature, would not only be reproducing but playing an important role in their families. They might even be matriarchs. Sadly, in captivity many elephants are considered to be “old” or “geriatric” at this age due to arthritis and foot disease that sets in at an early age due to captive conditions in zoos and circuses.
PAWS is proud to have provided Mara with a life of stability, a spacious and enriching natural environment, peace, and dignity. I hope you will join us in celebrating this very special elephant’s milestone month with us!
If you would like to make a donation in honor of Mara, please click here .
Above: Mara and Thika at the African elephants' lake at ARK 2000.

When the Friends of Mara first contacted PAWS about providing a lifetime home for Mara, they asked that we promise them three things: Mara would never again be on chains, no bullhooks would ever be used, and she would never be bred. We've kept that promise.
Mack explores his new home in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000.
Mack Moves to ARK 2000 
With its acorn-laden oak trees, swimming pool, and grassy hillside, Mack's new habitat at ARK 2000 provides a greatly expanded and enriched place where a bear can live more like a bear. Mack, now 5 years old, is still youthful and very energetic despite having only three legs. 
Last year Mack was moved to ARK 2000 from PAWS' original sanctuary in Galt, California, where he has been since his arrival as an orphaned yearling in August 2016. We may never know the story of how the little cub lost much of his right hind leg, or what led to him being found alone, begging people for food and attention. PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Gai performed an anesthetized examination to evaluate his leg and overall health several months after his arrival, and X-rays suggest that he may have been born with a malformed leg although a traumatic injury very early in life cannot be definitively ruled out. The one thing we do know is that Mack doesn't let this slow him down at all, and he is in excellent health in every other way.
Mack is often seen with his nose to the ground, busy exploring the scents of nature and searching for his favorite treat of fallen acorns, and for bits of fruit and seeds scattered around the habitat by caregivers. He loves his pool and thoroughly enjoys splashing and playing in it daily. 
PAWS is deeply grateful to three special donors – Paula and Kim Eggleston, and Diane Virdee – who generously provided the necessary funds to retrofit an existing bear habitat at ARK 2000 to make it safer and more easily accessible for Mack's special needs.
Above: Mack, who loves water, wasted no time trying out his pool.
Below: A happy – and very wet – bear!
Adopt an Animal at PAWS or Make a Donation in the Name of Someone Special
Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! Put a smile on the face of that special person, friend or family member by giving the gift of a PAWS animal “adoption” or making a donation in their name. This compassionate gift supports PAWS’ rescue and sanctuary work, and provides your “adopted” animal with a more enriched and natural life.
Valentine Adoption Gifts
Your Valentine will receive an adoption packet and card acknowledging your special gift within 7 to 10 days of your order and includes:
  • Color photo and biography of adopted animal
  • Certificate of adoption
  • Two guest passes to one regular PAWS ARK 2000 Open House event
  • Invitations to special events
  • Subscription to PAWS’ e-newsletter
To “adopt” an animal on the PAWS web site:
  1. Click here to access our “Meet the Animals” page and choose the animal you wish to adopt.
  2. Click on the “adopt” button under your animal's photo. This will take you to the donation site where you can use your credit card or PayPal account.
  3. When you see the pencil icon/“message to PAWS” during your transaction, click it and type in the name, mailing address and email of the adoption recipient. Indicate that this is a Valentine’s gift adoption. Then complete the transaction.

Donations In Your Valentine's Name
Your Valentine will receive a card acknowledging your special gift within 5 to 7 days of your donation.
To make a donation on the PAWS web site:
  1. Click here to access the PAWS donation page. Click on the yellow "one time" donate button.
  2. Enter your donation amount using your credit card or PayPal account.
  3. When you see the pencil icon/“Message to PAWS” during your transaction, click it and type in the name, mailing address and email of the adoption recipient. Indicate that this is a Valentine’s gift adoption. Then complete the transaction.
To make a donation or “adopt” an animal by phone:
Call the PAWS office at (209) 745-2606 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Time. We accept VISA, Discover, MasterCard and American Express. For adoptions, be prepared to provide the name of the animal you would like to adopt and the Valentine recipient's name, mailing address, and email address, along with any special message.
Make sure to let your Valentine know their special gift will be arriving soon. H ave a Happy Valentine’s Day! 
PAWS' Outreach Programs
Continue to Educate and Inspire
PAWS has started off the year strong with our outreach efforts. We've educated students from the elementary school to college level, teaching them about the animals we care for at our sanctuaries and the complex issues involved in keeping wild animals captive.

UC Davis – PAWS hosted a group of 52 University of California, Davis students (above and below) and their instructor Dr. Lynette Hart. This was the 31st consecutive year that Dr. Hart has organized this annual field trip to ARK 2000 as part of the "Human-Animal Interactions - Benefits and Issues" course at the University. The students come from a variety of study disciplines including animal sciences, animal behavior, environmental sciences and veterinary medicine. During the tour, led by PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart, Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, and Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai, the students observed many of the animals who call our sanctuary home and discussed welfare issues affecting captive wildlife. Each year we enjoy meeting and talking with these enthusiastic students.
While students from University of California, Davis, observe tiger siblings Roy, Kim and Claire in their habitat at ARK 2000, Ed Stewart and Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM, discuss welfare issues concerning captive tigers.
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine – Dr. Gai hosted six junior and senior veterinary students from the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and their course instructor Dr. Sean Brady, a member of the University's zoological medicine faculty. This annual visit to ARK 2000 is part of the official curriculum for veterinary students with a special interest in working with captive and free-ranging wildlife. After a tour of the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center, Dr. Gai discussed veterinary care at PAWS and the unique aspects of providing care for elderly animals, many with histories of trauma and abuse. Ed Stewart spoke to the group about elephants, and together with Brian Busta and Dr. Gai, he demonstrated protected contact training with Asian bull elephant Nicholas (above) and how this training is successfully used to provide comprehensive veterinary care for all of our elephants. It is exciting to meet and interact with these future veterinarians and we appreciate the opportunity to contribute toward their education.
PVMA presentation – Dr. Gai (right) presented a special evening talk for the Peninsula Veterinary Medical Association ( PVMA ) about geriatric medicine and caring for the animals at PAWS. Veterinarians and support staff from throughout the San Francisco Peninsula area listened to stories about PAWS' animals and learned about the similarities and differences between small domestic animal medicine and captive wildlife medicine. After Dr. Gai's talk, audience members participated in a question and answer session that led to many in-depth discussions about medical problems and societal issues affecting wild animals in captivity. PAWS staff member Debbie Casey, and long-time volunteer Lonnie Jones, were also present to answer questions and provide additional information about PAWS. Dr. Gai was invited to speak by outgoing PVMA president Dr. Amy Farcas. Dr. Farcas is a board certified veterinary nutritionist. She and her husband, Dr. Nicodin Farcas, a board certified veterinary dental specialist, own Animal Dental Clinic in San Carlos, California, and have assisted us with several dental procedures on bears and tigers at PAWS. We are deeply grateful for their friendship and support.
Reaching out to school children – ARK 2000 Sanctuary Manager and Senior Elephant Keeper Brian Busta (above and left) visited with three different classrooms of 4th and 5th grade students at the Mark Twain Elementary School in Angels Camp, California. Brian does local presentations several times a year for students who are excited to learn about the animals we care for at PAWS. Interacting with the students and answering their questions is always rewarding. Elephants are definitely a hot topic!

Dates are still available for "Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife" program – PAWS is again offering this innovative program for college professors and their classes, held at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. The class teaches young women and men about the natural biology and behavior of tigers, black bears and elephants; discusses the complex issues involved in captivity; and looks at how our perception of wild animals affects them in captivity and in nature. Only a few dates remain. For information, contact

Tickets For PAWS March 14
ARK 2000 Open House Are Now on Sale
We have a limited number of tickets available for our upcoming ARK 2000 Open House to be held on Saturday, March 14th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $50 for adults, $35 for seniors (65 and over) and $35 for children age 12 and under. If you're planning to attend, we advise you to purchase your tickets early.  No tickets will be sold at the gate on the day of the event and these events do sell out.
Visitors to ARK 2000 open houses will board shuttles to the bear, lion, tiger, leopard and elephant habitats. Once you exit the shuttle you will be walking on grass, dirt, gravel, and sometimes paved surfaces, so please wear comfortable shoes. PAWS management, keepers and volunteers will be on hand to tell you about the animals and answer questions. A gift shop will be available on the day of the event. We accept cash, checks and all major credit cards.
This event happens rain or shine. Tickets are not refundable.
Two ways to purchase:  Click here  to buy online and print your tickets at home; or call 209-745-2606, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PST, to charge by phone. Visit our calendar of events page for more information.  Ticket sales close on Thursday, March 12th, or earlier if this event sells out.
Thank You January
Amazon Wish List Donors
Renee Hendry: one Probiocin, one box of Crananidin, 75#. Linda: one 25 lb. bag of peanuts. Mary: one 25 lb. bag of peanuts. Lynn and Ryan Cooper: one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat. P. Banchik-Rothschild: one bag of Greenies Pill Pockets, 60#; one Probiocin. Marisa Landsberg: one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium; one box of Denamarin, 30#; one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Denise: three 13 oz. cans of Raisins; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Peggy Buckner: two Laxatone, 4.25 oz. Tara Jensen: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one box of Denamarin, 30#. Kirk Lewis: one box of Denamarin, 30#; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Joyce Zee: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: two 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin and Coat; one 10 lb. tub of Psyllium; two boxes of Denamarin, 30#; four bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; four 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin and Coat; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium.

Click on the Amazon Wish List link below to donate
specific items that are needed at our sanctuaries:
View "wish list" items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list,  here .
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.
Connect with us:
P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606