Couch (above) is one of 39 tigers rescued from a Colton, California, facility.

Celebrating Tigers!
PAWS is deeply committed to tigers, who are desperately in need of help both in the wild and in captivity. As part of our commitment, we rescue and provide lifelong care for tigers in great need. The tigers at PAWS receive top notch daily and veterinary care, and live in a natural habitat environment in which they can heal from the stress, abuse, or insufferable living conditions they may have had to endure before coming to the sanctuary. We also actively support legislation to bring about the changes needed to end the suffering of tigers in captivity.
Dedicated to Rescue

Tiger Rescue in Colton, California.
PAWS has a long history of rescuing tigers, but our greatest undertaking took place in 2004, when we saved 39 sick and starving tigers from Tiger Rescue in Colton, California, a facility that once offered tours to the public and photos with tiger cubs. It was the largest big cat rescue in U.S. history at the time. When state officials closed the facility and confiscated the animals, they found more than 90 dead tigers, 58 dead tiger cubs in freezers, and dozens of live tigers in terrible condition. The rescue was an enormous undertaking for PAWS, and 13 years later we continue to care for the remaining aging tigers at great expense. The cost to date is estimated at
$3.75 million for their housing, food, staff and veterinary care .

Click on the arrow above to watch the documentary "39 Tigers."


  Wilhelm is one of eight tigers rescued from a roadside zoo in Colorado earlier this year.

this year PAWS provided safe refuge for eight tigers from a defunct roadside zoo in Colorado that was breeding the animals to produce cubs the public could handle for a fee. These operations must constantly breed to maintain a supply of cubs, who can only be used for a short time. Once larger and even more unsafe for the public to handle, the young animals become unprofitable. They are then sold to unscrupulous dealers, roadside zoos, private menageries, or as exotic pets, and often end up living in miserable conditions.
Tigers Roy, Kim and Claire have been with PAWS for 14 years now, since they were just four months old. They are the product of exploitation by a roadside zoo that was breeding big cats for other disreputable zoos, the exotic pet trade, and "pay to pet" operations. The siblings have been spayed or neutered, as PAWS never breeds any of the animals in our care.

Zeus (left), Jake and Apollo arrived at PAWS in April 2012. They were part of a rescue of 32 wild and exotic animals from a failing facility in Ohio. Today these tigers roam an expansive natural enclosure filled with bushes, trees and grass.

Click here to learn more about the tigers living at ARK 2000. As space allows, and with your help, PAWS plans to rescue even more tigers in need.
Working to end the problem
Facilities that breed big cats for profit care only about producing more cubs and making money. They couldn't care less about the ill effects that irresponsible and uncontrolled breeding can have on the health and welfare of the animals. That's why PAWS not only rescues captive tigers in need, we also advocate for an end to the non-stop breeding of big cats that causes so much suffering.
PAWS is strongly supporting a federal bill, The Big Cat Public Safety Act, that would end the rampant breeding of big cats for "pay to pet" operations. Introduced by Congressman Jeff Denham of California, this bill better protects the public and the animals, and it needs your support.
How you can help : Please call your U.S. Representative ( click here   to locate name and phone number). You don't have to be an expert on the issue. What is important is that your Representative knows a constituent supports the bill.
When you call: Tell the aide who answers the phone that you live in the Congressman's district, and give your zip code. Then simply say you are calling to urge the Representative to cosponsor HR 1818, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. (Click here to see if your Representative has already cosponsored the bill.) Always be calm and polite. Because few people call their legislators your call will have much more impact than an email.
International Tiger Day
On July 29, the world will be recognizing International Tiger Day to raise awareness of tiger conservation.
Did you know that:
  • Tigers are the largest of the big cats, and they are on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 4,000 living in less than four percent of their former range. Only 100 years ago, 100,000 tigers roamed across Asia.
  • Poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, overhunting of prey species by local people, habitat loss and fragmentation, and human-tiger conflict are driving the disastrous decline of the tiger population.
  • There are 5,000-10,000 tigers held captive in U.S. backyards, petting zoos and even truck stops - more than the number of tigers in the wild!
  • An estimated 5,000-6,000 captive tigers are "farmed" in China for their skins, bones and body parts, which are sold as status symbols and in medicinal markets. There may be as many as 8,000 tigers on farms across Asia and Southeast Asia. Tiger farms are also found in South Africa.
  • Domestic and international trade in tiger parts has grown, despite a 2007 international agreement that tigers should not be bred for this purpose.

Factory farming of tigers in row after row of enclosures at the Guilin Xiongsen Bear & Tiger Farm, Southwest China. Photo courtesy of International Fund for Animal Welfare (Sinopix)

Captive operations like tiger farms in Asia and petting zoos in the U.S.  do not help conserve tigers . National Geographic reports that tiger farms range from small operations to industrial-size facilities, like those in China. Some are promoted as zoos or sanctuaries to attract tourists who come to gawk at the tigers, especially cubs. The tigers are later slaughtered, and their pelts, bones and body parts sold. Conservationists agree that tiger farms simply increase the demand for products derived from tigers and remove the stigma surrounding their purchase, encouraging even more sales. This in turn fuels the poaching of wild tigers. Many consumers prefer "medicines" derived from wild tigers believing they are more potent than those from captive-bred tigers.
In the U.S., "pay to pet" operations are continually producing more tigers. Their main concern is about profits and not the welfare of the animals, or whether the facilities to which tigers are sent can provide proper care. Tigers sent to private owners are likely to go unmonitored by government officials, making them easy targets for the black market. Those sales threaten wild populations by driving the demand for products derived from tigers, which leads to more poaching.
Through irresponsible and unethical breeding practices, roadside zoos across the U.S. are creating "Frankencats" (right) - tigers with birth defects due to incestuous inbreeding to produce white colored coats, and tiger-lion hybrids such as ligers, tigons and liligers - hybrids that would never occur in nature. Earlier this year, PAWS was part of a group of organizations that submitted a petition for rulemaking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking to stop the breeding of these unnatural hybrids. These cats are more likely to experience a range of debilitating health problems than other big cats. White tigers are also highly inbred, and, contrary to misleading claims, have no conservation value. Better-run zoos prohibit such breeding.
Actions you can take for International Tiger Day (and every day!) include: 
  • Avoid visiting roadside zoos.
  • Never have your photo taken with a tiger cub.
  • When traveling to Asia, avoid attractions that allow you to pet adult or young tigers, or force tigers to perform tricks.
  • Do not attend circuses with wild animals.
  • Never buy any product derived from tigers.
  • Share what you've learned about tigers with friends, family and colleagues, through word of mouth and social media.
  • Support an organization that fights to conserve and protect wild tigers such as Environmental Investigation Agency, Wildlife Trust of India, or Panthera.
  • Make a donation to PAWS!

PAWS' Notable Dates In July

21st Birthday:
Robert the bobcat (left), who turned 21 this month, has lived at PAWS' Galt sanctuary for nearly 19 years. He was still a kitten when he was purchased in Montana and brought to California where his owners had been keeping him as an illegal pet. He was confiscated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and arrived at PAWS in September 1998.

17th Birthday:
Paka (right), a female Serval, was approximately six months old when she arrived at PAWS in early 2000. She came to us from an animal shelter in Northern California after she was turned in by individuals who said they had trapped her in a feral cat trap. As usual, there was no information about her original owners or the animal dealer who declawed her and sold her as a pet. Paka lives in a grassy habitat at our Galt sanctuary. We would love to see this beautiful African wildcat moved to a larger habitat at ARK 2000 when funds become available.

14 years at PAWS:
Sampson (shown left, with Cinnamon) and Oma, both 23, and Cinnamon, age 21, are three of the many older black bears in our care. The trio arrived at PAWS in July 2003 and lived at our Galt sanctuary until 2011 when we moved them to much larger enclosures in the Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000. The three bears came to PAWS from the Houston SPCA where they were being temporarily housed after Texas authorities confiscated them from a dilapidated, drive-through roadside zoo.

6 years at PAWS:
Asian bull elephant Prince arrived at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary on July 21, 2011. Prince is a retired circus elephant donated voluntarily to PAWS, at its request, by Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. He was born in 1987 at the Portland Zoo.

Nelson Redford: In Memoriam

Nelson Redford, born in 1996, was one of two tigers owned by a man in Texas who was breeding the exotic cats and selling the cubs. (Unfortunately, this unregulated "backyard breeding" is still a common occurrence in many states.) When authorities in Texas were finally able to rescue Nelson and his pregnant female companion, both tigers were literally starving to death. Despite the valiant efforts by a team of veterinarians at the Houston SPCA, the pregnant female died shortly after arriving at their facility. Officials noted that she and her three unborn cubs weighed less than half their normal weight. The Houston SPCA made arrangements for Nelson's safe travel to PAWS, and he arrived at our Galt sanctuary on July 9, 2003, along with four black bears: Scarface, Cinnamon, Sampson, and Oma, who were confiscated from a roadside zoo in the same area.

Nelson Redford was given his name by a family in Galt, California, home to our first sanctuary. They were some of PAWS' earliest supporters and are still with us today. They were also the first to "adopt" Nelson after his arrival.

Nelson lived in a large grassy enclosure with a swimming pool. A declaw procedure performed years before his arrival had caused his paws to be deformed, and made walking on hard surfaces painful. The soft soil and lush grass of his enclosure provided relief for his sore paws, and swimming in his pool allowed him to build muscle tone and strength. Tigers are one the few large cats that don't mind getting wet, and some enjoy it more than others. Nelson took a long swim in his pool every day, usually in the morning. He would often carry a large ball into the pool and play with it as it floated on the surface. His strength was impressive: He was seen jumping out of the pool with a large barrel full of water held in his mouth - a barrel that probably weighed hundreds of pounds.
Tigers are apex predators in the wild, with senses acutely tuned into their surroundings as they hunt for prey. In captivity, it can be challenging to provide an environment that stimulates and engages them. PAWS' dedicated keeper staff provided new and interesting things for Nelson to play and interact with, such as fragrant tree branches, spices sprinkled here and there on logs, and even large "toys." Keepers recall that he especially enjoyed finding the surprise scents they placed throughout his enclosure (his favorite scent was ground cloves), rubbing his cheeks on the scented areas before flopping over on his side and rolling in the grass in apparent bliss.
In March of this year Nelson began showing subtle signs of illness, and a physical examination performed under anesthesia by our veterinary staff revealed both kidney and liver disease, as well as a large mass in his abdomen. He was prescribed a large list of medications and supplements specially chosen to support his kidneys and liver, and also to help with arthritis. Keepers hid his pills in favorite foods, and he received two meals a day so he could receive medications at the proper times. Nelson thrived on the extra TLC from the keeper and veterinary staff, and he enjoyed four more months of normal, active life. In early July, when it was clear that Nelson's liver was failing, the difficult but most humane decision was made to prevent suffering and he was euthanized in the loving presence of many who had cared for him.
Nelson will forever be remembered for his good natured and cheerful personality, and the special way that he "talked" to keepers by calling out in his unique voice, and chuffing a greeting whenever they passed by. He was estimated to be 21 years old at the time of his passing.


PAWS Contributes to Animal Protection, Welfare and Science

I n addition to rescuing and providing safe refuge for captive wild animals, PAWS contributes to furthering the cause of animal protection, welfare, and science through our biennial International Captive Wildlife Conference (coming in November 2018) and participation in professional conferences.
PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart will be participating in a panel at The Animal Law Conference, presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lewis and Clark Law School, in Portland, Oregon, October 13-15. The panel, entitled "Animal Sanctuaries - More Than Just a Place to Live," takes place on Saturday, October 14, 2017. For more information about the conference  click here .
In June, Catherine Doyle, PAWS' director of science, research and advocacy, participated in the International Society for Anthrozoology Conference at the University of California at Davis. She presented a poster on her research titled "Do African elephants in a zoo and a sanctuary show a preference for certain keepers as measured by responses to olfactory and auditory cues?", which looked at elephant-keeper relationships from the elephants' point of view.

Good News for Animals
Kingman, Arizona has become the first city in the state to ban the use of animals in circuses . Kudos to the organizations and activists involved in passing this legislation!
Slovakia will ban wild animal performances . Government authorities will release regulations in the fall detailing species to be restricted, such as lions and tigers. There are no Slovakia-based circuses; foreign circuses entering the country with restricted species will not be allowed to perform. The regulations are expected to go into effect in January 2018.
Online travel company Expedia will be removing bookable wildlife tours and activities that pose a threat to animal welfare . The company has also announced plans to launch a "Wildlife Tourism Education Portal" with detailed information on whether an activity involves animal interactions, and a direct link on wildlife tourism and animal welfare.
Animals Asia has announced an historic agreement with the government of Vietnam to permanently shut down all bear bile farms and rescue the approximately 1,000 bears still caged on farms across the country. Bile from the gall bladders of bears confined in tiny cages is extracted through cruel and painful methods, causing unimaginable suffering and long-term physical and psychological problems. Many bears are never released from their agony - suffering up to 30 years of continuous torture. Bear bile is used in traditional Asian medicine. Animals Asia, which exposed this cruel trade to the world, has rescued more than 500 bears in Vietnam and China, and provides sanctuary for these animals. For more information click here.) Unfortunately, China continues to practice bear bile farming.

July Amazon Wish List Donors
Carole Bognar: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Karen Buchinger: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat. Anonymous Donors: one 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo, one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium, one bottle of AminAvast 60#, two bottles of CosequinDS 132#, two Libman push brooms, one box of 42 gallon trash bags, one pack of AA batteries (24 ct.), two 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat, one gallon of bleach.
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

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

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
You can help us make sure captive wildlife in need of shelter will always have a PAWS sanctuary to call home!
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 makes great gifts for any occasion !
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