PAWS' 2016 International Captive Wildlife Conference a Huge Success!
More than 200 people from around the world attended the PAWS' 2016 International Captive Wildlife Conference in San Andreas, California, which took place on November 11 and 12. Attendees heard from 26 speakers and expert panelists, who addressed issues concerning bears, big cats and elephants, and enjoyed a special afternoon on "next wave" sanctuaries.
PAWS President Ed Stewart (pictured above) opened the conference by welcoming attendees and providing a lively history of the organization. He introduced each session - big cats and bears on the first day, and elephants and "next wave" sanctuaries on the second - which included featured speakers followed by a moderated panel discussion with the presenters and additional experts. Panel participants represented diverse backgrounds, including animal protection organizations, zoos, science, conservation and academia.

Friday's lively discussion on Big Cats featured panelists (L-R) Carney Anne Nasser,  Senior Counsel for Animal Legal Defense Fund; Joel Parrott, DVM, President and CEO of the Oakland Zoo; Carson Barylak, Campaigns Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare; Bill Nimmo, Founder and President of Tigers In America; Carole Baskin, Founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue;  and Howard Baskin, Advisory Board Chairman of Big Cat Rescue.

The first day's Big Cats session focused largely on the scourge of roadside zoos and cub petting and the rampant breeding that is needed to sustain these businesses - while causing the suffering and deaths of tigers, lions, cougars and other cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act, which would close a loophole in existing federal law that allows the continued breeding of big cats, was offered as a solution. (Watch PAWS' newsletters for more information on this important bill and how you can help.)
Following the panel, the organization Tigers in America premiered its new video, "The Entertainers." This short documentary provides a compelling history of tigers in entertainment, covers the issue of breeding for roadside zoos and cub petting and photo sessions, and closes on a hopeful note by showing tigers in various sanctuaries, including PAWS. (You can view the video here.)


Detroit Zoological Society CEO Ron Kagan, left, served as moderator of the panel discussion about bears in captivity. Panelists included (L-R): Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions, Tigers and Bears; Jamie Sherman, UC Davis/California Department of Fish & Wildlife; Pat Lampi, Executive Director of the Alaska Zoo;  Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director, Zoocheck; Dr. Jackie Gai, Director of Veterinary Services, PAWS; and attorney Brittany Peet, PETA Foundation.

The Bears session followed Big Cats, and included four featured speakers that addressed the natural history of black bears; the lives of bears in the wild versus those living in captivity; issues involving bears in Canada, including the capture of wild bears for zoos; and the breeding and use of bears in roadside zoos, for photo sessions, and as exotic "pets." During the panel discussion, Bobbi Brink, founder of Lions, Tigers and Bears in California, chillingly told the audience that the fates of hundreds of captive-bred bear cubs are unknown each year - we simply don't know where they go.
In future newsletters, PAWS will be writing more about the problem of breeding big cats and bears for petting zoos and roadside facilities. Many of our sanctuary residents share this background, and we can testify to the suffering and lifelong problems these animals experience.
The first day of the conference was followed by an Ice Breaker party for attendees that featured amazing food prepared by MJ Espiritu-Gerometta of Pivotal Foods, an all plant-based foods company. MJ also prepared the conference lunches and snacks, which received rave reviews.
Attendees at the Ice Breaker were treated to a performance by Jeff Newland and Lance Taber (Taber is known for his work on music video games, including Guitar Hero) of a song specially composed for PAWS, titled "Moment for Pause (PAWS)." Written by Kelcey Hall Taber and produced by Kelcey and Lance Taber, the song is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play, with all proceeds going to PAWS. A music video of "Moment for Pause" also was played at the conference. View the video here.

Saturday's discussion on elephants was moderated by Chris Draper (left), Associate Director for Animal Care and Welfare, Born Free Foundation. Panelists included (L-R): Ed Stewart, President and Cofounder, PAWS; Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, Research and Advocacy, PAWS; Scott Blais, CEO and President, Global Sanctuary for Elephants - Brazil; Jackie Gai, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services, PAWS; Janice Zeitlin, CEO, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee; Dr. Keith Lindsay, Collaborating Researcher, Amboseli Elephant Research Project, Kenya; and Bob Jacobs, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience, Colorado College.

The second day of the conference began with a session on elephants, and covered such topics as conservation and the trade in ivory and live elephants; the state of elephants in captivity; the health and welfare of captive elephants; and a fascinating presentation on the elephant brain and cognition by neuroscientist Dr. Bob Jacobs, who was featured in the National Geographic special, "Mind of a Giant."

Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and Board Secretary for the accrediting organization Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), opened the last session of the conference on "next wave" sanctuaries.

The final session of the conference addressed "next wave" sanctuaries for chimpanzees, captive cetaceans, elephants, big cats and bears. While
The Whale Sanctuary Project is still in the planning stages, Project Chimps is caring for chimpanzees retired from medical research, Global Sanctuary for Elephants -Brazil recently received its first two elephants who were once used in circuses, and the organization Four Paws is caring for bears and big cats at its sanctuaries in Europe and in South Africa, where it is also fighting the canned lion hunt trade.

On Sunday morning, conference attendees visited PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary. Here they listen to Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta (right), and meet Asian bull elephant Nicholas.

On Sunday, November 13, conference attendees visited PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary, a 2,300-acre, natural habitat refuge. Ed Stewart, Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, and Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai spoke to the visitors, telling them the stories of our elephants, big cats and bears and educating them about the lives that they now have at our sanctuary.

PAWS President and Cofounder Ed Stewart talks about elephants at Sunday's ARK 2000 tour. 

Save the Date!

The next PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference will take place in Los Angeles in November 2018, with three days of outstanding presentations and panel discussions on a broad range of captive wildlife topics. See you there!

Visit PAWS Facebook page to view more photos from this year's International Captive Wildlife Conference.

Thank You to Everyone
Who Helped Make This Year's International Captive Wildlife Conference Possible!

Our generous sponsors who provided support for the conference:

All the speakers, moderators and expert panelists who shared their insight and expertise, inspiring conference attendees:  


Chef MJ Espiritu-Gerometta (right) with volunteer Jill 
Melchione Spinelli.

The Chefs:
MJ Espiritu-Gerometta of Pivotal Foods who created the plant-based
lunches and hors d'oeuvres served at Friday evening's Ice Breaker;
and Cindy Anderson and Rachael Silva, who provided vegan and gluten-free baked goods including breakfast bars, cupcakes, cookies and fruit tarts
for the conference and Ice Breaker.

Cupcakes by Cindy Anderson and Rachael Silva.

Mountain Oaks School
Special thanks to Joel Sanchez and Claudia Davis.

In Kind Donations - Ice Breaker Reception

Our Amazing PAWS Volunteers!
Cindy Klein Anderson, Sylvia Arispe, Priscilla Chalmers, Priscilla Davis, Linda Dodge, Chuck Espiritu, Barry Gardner, Rhianna Gardner, M J Espiritu-Gerometta, Kitty Good, Ruth Huffman, Michelle Humphreys, Olivia Humphreys, Galen Hazelhofer, Janelle Kessler, Lonnie Jones, Leilani Lagge, Lorrie Morris, Kyleigh Saunders, Rachael Silva, Jill Melchione Spinelli, Nancy Stehura, Lori Swearingen, Bert Vue, Donna Wilhelm and Kerry Worgan.

Thank You to All of Our
#GivingTuesday Supporters!

PAWS thanks everyone who donated on #GivingTuesday, an annual day of charitable giving that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Because of your incredible generosity, PAWS met its goal of raising $15,000 in 24 hours to purchase a very much needed 4x4 utility vehicle (UTV) for use at our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary. Thanks to you, our staff will be able to deliver food, supplies, and TLC more quickly and efficiently to the deserving tigers, lion, leopard and bears who call ARK 2000 home.

Good News for Animals

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, will no longer offer elephant rides, after opting not to renew a contract with notorious elephant ride provider Have Trunk Will Travel. The decision precedes a statewide ban on elephant bullhooks that goes into effect in January 2018 - legislation that PAWS co-sponsored - and comes just weeks after TripAdvisor announced it will cease selling tickets to elephant rides and tourism involving public contact with captive wild animals. Congrats to Advocates for the Animals at Six Flags, who worked to end the elephant rides.
Vietnam destroyed a stockpile of nearly 5,000 pounds of ivory and over 150 pounds of rhino horn in advance of a key international conference in the country addressing the illegal wildlife trade. The destroyed ivory and horns represent some 330 elephants and 23 rhinos slaughtered by poachers. The move is considered a step in the right direction for a country that is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of trafficked wildlife.

  Above: Black leopard Alexander with his pine tree branches.

ARK 2000 Holiday Open House,  December 10th

Tickets Now On Sale
We have a limited number of tickets still available for our ARK 2000 Holiday Open House to be held on Saturday, December 10th, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for seniors (60 and over) and $25 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.
PAWS' 2,300-acre captive wildlife sanctuary, ARK 2000, is located at 1248 Pool Station Road in San Andreas, CA 95249.
Visitors to the ARK 2000 Holiday Open House 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.
If you would like to bring a holiday gift for the animals, we suggest any of the following favorites: apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, squash, pumpkins, melons, pears, unsalted peanuts in the shell, fresh mint leaves and fresh rosemary. You may drop off your gift by the front gate, or near the gift shop table when you arrive, or as you're leaving. The animals thank you!
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, December 8, 2016, or earlier if this event sells out.
*  *  *  *  
PLEASE READ:  Folding wheelchairs and strollers may be taken on most shuttles. Special arrangements for visitors with power scooters and power wheelchairs can be made by calling Kim Gardner at 916-539-5305. Yes, you may bring your cameras. There is no smoking on any PAWS property, including in our parking lots. We take fire prevention very seriously. No pets are allowed on any PAWS property, including in our parking lots. Please leave your pets at home. You will not touch any animals and all visitors will be required to stay a safe distance away from the animals. 

A BIG Thank You!

November Amazon Wish List Donors

Brittney, Nui and Nick: one 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo, one 5 lb. Psyllium. Roslynn Witte: 2 Probiocin. Patricia L. Connelly: one case of copy paper. Elizabeth Martin: one #90 bottle of Azodyl. Carole Bognar: one #60 bottle of Renal Essentials. Robin E. Kister: one 20 lb. Psyllium; two #180 Duralactin.  Anonymous Donors: one 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo, one case of Banker Boxes.
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.
PAWS is rated
a 4-Star Charity 
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 the holidays !
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.
Stay Connected
PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606