Mara and Thika by the African elephant lake at ARK 2000.

Toka and Thika:
Four Years  at ARK 2000!
Four years ago PAWS welcomed African elephants Thika and Toka to our ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary, where each day they can be seen roaming their spacious natural habitats. The third elephant who arrived with Toka and Thika from the Toronto Zoo, our much loved Iringa, was humanely euthanized in 2015 following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease, the leading reasons for euthanasia of elephants in captivity.

This month marks Thika's 37th birthday.
She was born on October 18, 1980, at the Toronto Zoo. Happy Birthday, Thika!

When new elephants first arrive at ARK 2000, there is always a period of transition. As PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, used to say, we work on "elephant time." This means that elephants are given the space, respect and time they need to get settled in, for however long that takes. During that transition time, we get to know more about the elephants' personalities and preferences,  including affinities and comfort levels with other elephants. As a result, Thika has become best friends with Mara, our longest resident at PAWS, and Toka has become attached to Maggie and Lulu.
In nature, female elephants live in tight-knit family groups in which they form enduring, lifelong bonds, and they remain with their mothers for life. The family group would not naturally include unrelated elephants. In contrast, most captive elephants were taken from their natal families in the wild as babies and exported for display in zoos and circuses, where they are housed with unrelated elephants. 

After a morning mud bath
Toka takes a nap.
In captivity elephants typically cannot choose their cage mates. Among these mostly unrelated elephants, some will get along and even form close bonds with other elephants, while others may merely tolerate one another. Some may simply be incompatible with one or more other elephants. Incompatibility can lead to bullying, injuries and even deaths, as elephants are often unable to escape one another in confined spaces.
By the time elephants arrive at PAWS they have distinct life histories that affect their behavior and attitudes toward other elephants. Fortunately, at ARK 2000 we have the time to observe the elephants and let them tell us what would be best for them - this is one of the many ways they can make choices, which we fully encourage and respect. We also have the space and flexibility to create the social blend of elephants that will be the most beneficial for everyone.
Mara and Thika, who are the same age, have proven to be a good combination.  Thika is the only captive born elephant among the Africans. She follows Mara up and down the hills of the habitat, and they are rarely more than a few feet away from each other. Perhaps Thika is learning from the active and confident Mara. And during the times that Thika has taken a solo swim in the lake (watch video here), Mara is never far away. Sadly, Thika's  mother rejected her shortly after birth. In nature, female elephants learn how to care for their babies by observing their own mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts, and also by helping to care for their own siblings when they are young. In captivity, it is not uncommon for mothers to reject their own calves, or even kill them, as they lack the nurturing, supportive family structure of a wild family.

Lulu, Maggie and Toka.

Toka, Maggie and Lulu are another success story. These three elephants easily integrated with one another, and can usually be found close together as they forage on natural vegetation, explore their habitat, or just rest. Toka has joined Lulu in "standing guard" over Maggie when she takes an afternoon nap. The elephants will remain until Maggie rises, and then go about their usual activities.
PAWS is honored to provide a lifelong home for Thika and Toka. It is incredibly satisfying to see them stroll through the grass, bathe and splash in a mud hole, and explore their environment in the company of other elephants. We are also happy that our keepers and veterinarians have developed close, trusting relationships with Thika and Toka, which also helped smooth the transition to their new lives at PAWS.

PAWS' Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai examines an elephant's foot. During her interview on the radio show Aches and Gains, she  shares how she detects pain in elephants, and some surprising methods of treating it.

Elephants Get Arthritis Too:
How PAWS' Veterinarians Provide Pain Relief

Listen to Dr. Paul Christo's Radio Show
Aches and Gains Featuring PAWS
Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai and Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle were featured on a very special radio show this month talking about elephants. They appeared on Aches and Gains, an award winning, nationally syndicated SIRIUS XM radio talk show on overcoming pain, hosted by Dr. Paul Christo, one of the world's leading pain specialists. In a two-part program, he focuses on elephants in captivity and the health challenges they face due to unnatural confines. Like humans, elephants experience painful diseases, including foot disease and crippling arthritis. Dr. Christo states: "Living conditions in zoos and circuses lead to pain and suffering often hidden from the public."
In the show, Catherine uncovers what life is like for elephants in zoos and circuses, and what PAWS is doing to improve captive elephants' lives. Dr. Gai shares how she detects pain in elephants, and some surprising methods of treating it. You can listen to Part One of the show here , and Part Two here .
PAWS thanks Dr. Christo for presenting this special program on pain in elephants (animal topics are not usually part of the show). We also thank David Reuben for making this important show happen, and for his ongoing dedication to raising awareness about elephants in captivity.

PAWS' Education and Outreach:
Ed Stewart Participates in Key Animal Conferences

PAWS' President Ed Stewart speaking at The Animal Law Conference.

Earlier this month,
PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart (right) participated in a panel, Animal Sanctuaries - More Than Just a Place to Live, at The Animal Law Conference, presented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Lewis and Clark Law School, in Portland, Oregon. This panel focused on the other roles that sanctuaries play in education, law, public policy, and animal rehabilitation, and their importance in developing principles of animal protection.
Ed also presented at the Animal Grantmakers 2017 annual conference in Portland. Animal Grantmakers is an affinity group of funders from across the U.S. working to increase the amount and effectiveness of philanthropy in animal protection. He spoke on a panel titled Animals in Entertainment: Recent Victories and Ongoing Challenges, which explored shifting attitudes regarding the use of animals in entertainment and the challenges to reducing and eliminating their use.

Kris Reiger (left), wildlife care director for the Suisun Wildlife Center,
with PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai.
Wildfires in California: PAWS Lends a Hand
Our hearts go out to the thousands of people and animals affected by the recent wildfires in California. These fires left a path of unprecedented devastation in their wake, tragically took many lives, destroyed thousands of homes, crops and businesses, and displaced many domestic and wild animals from their homes. The fires burning in Northern California were all located more than 100 miles away from PAWS and never threatened any of our sanctuaries. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who called and emailed us inquiring about our safety.

Dr. Jackie Gai, DVM (right), examines an egret who was brought into the Suisun Wildlife Center on Oct. 13th, one of many birds and other animals affected by the recent wildfires in Northern California.

As a member of the California Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps, PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai was recently deployed to Sonoma County to help care for cats and dogs, many of whom were suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. In addition to her dedication to caring for the deserving animals that call our sanctuaries home, Dr. Gai has a heartfelt commitment to community service, including volunteer work during disasters and lending a hand to wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Dr. Gai has been volunteering her services with the Suisun Wildlife Center in Suisun, California, for the past 15 years. This small but vital facility works tirelessly to heal injured native wild animals from Solano County so they can be released back into the wild, and also cares for a small population of non-releasable wild animals. After hearing from Dr. Gai that the non-profit's annual fundraiser was cancelled because of heavy smoke from nearby fires, PAWS President Ed Stewart donated $1,000 to the Wildlife Center on behalf of PAWS to help provide care for wild animals affected by the fires. "We are very honored to receive this donation from PAWS,' said Kris Reiger, wildlife care director for the Center. "We operate on an annual budget of $50,000, so this generous gift will help us immensely!"

More than 50,000 Names on
Bob Barker/PAWS Petition to Protest Use of Live Elephant in New Film Production!
Last month Bob Barker and PAWS joined together on a petition  asking FJ Productions to reconsider use of a live elephant in its production of the film, Saving Flora, about an elephant fleeing a menacing circus with the help of two teens. The response has been tremendous! More than 50,000 people have signed the petition so far, and we are working toward 75,000 signatures to send a very strong and clear message that the public does not want to see elephants used for entertainment.
In real life, the elephant used in the film, Tai, is subjected to the same training methods used in abusive circuses, and has even been made to perform in circuses. Have Trunk Will Travel, the California-based company that owns her, was videotaped by Animal Defenders International (click here to view)  during a training session in which handlers forcefully struck and hooked elephants with a bullhook - a weapon resembling a fireplace poker with a sharpened metal tip and hook .
The petition on calls for FJ Productions to reconsider its use of Tai (or any live elephant) and instead employ a computer-generated elephant. In addition, PAWS, Bob Barker, top celebrities, elephant sanctuaries, national animal protection organizations, and conservationists signed an open letter  to FJ Productions, urging the company to replace Tai with a computer-generated elephant. Read the letter here.

PAWS President Ed Stewart has long referred to Bob Barker as "the world's most important animal activist." We are pleased to work together with him on this petition and its very important message.
Have you signed the petition yet? If not, you can sign now by clicking on the link below! Ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign, and share widely on social media.

The Tide Continues to Turn for Captive Elephants:
New York State Bans
Use of Elephants  in Entertainment!
New York State just became the second state to end the use of elephants for entertainment. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Elephant Protection Act into law, which will ban elephants in entertainment acts such as circuses, carnivals, and parades. The law, sponsored by Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, goes into effect in two years. New York joins Illinois in prohibiting performing elephants.
Governor Cuomo said in a statement: "The use of elephants in these types of settings is dangerous to their health and potentially abusive. The Elephant Protection Act furthers this administration's efforts to fight animal cruelty, and create a stronger, more humane New York."
PAWS actively supported both the New York State and Illinois bills, and we co-sponsored the successful drive to ban cruel bullhooks in California, ending the use of this menacing weapon designed to control elephants through fear and pain. That law goes into effect on January 1, 2018. We also teamed up on the statewide ban on bullhooks in Rhode Island. Without the bullhook, handlers cannot use elephants for rides, circuses, parades and other entertainment.
PAWS continues to work toward a day when no wild animal is abused and exploited for entertainment. Animals like lioness Camba and elephants Nicholas, Prince and Gypsy. Their days of performing ridiculous tricks through painful punishment and living in cramped cages and pens are far behind them. Today they roam spacious habitats filled with green grass and trees, amid the peace and quiet of nature.

We've been working since 1984 on these issues, and PAWS will not stop until we achieve our goal: forever ending the use of all captive wild animals in entertainment - circuses, elephant rides, tiger cub petting, TV, film and advertising. With your help, we can make it happen!

PAWS congratulates the students of the Environmental Policy Clinic at Pace College in New York, who originated the idea of the Elephant Protection Act under the guidance of professors Michelle Land and John Cronin. We also thank Bob Barker for writing to Governor Cuomo in support of this important bill, and everyone who took action to ensure its passage.

Robert the Bobcat: In Memoriam
Robert the bobcat was still a tiny kitten dependent on his mother's milk when he was sold into the Montana exotic pet trade in 1996. His new "owner," who legally purchased Robert, hand raised him in the hopes of keeping him as a tame family pet. The family moved to California soon afterwards, where it is illegal to keep bobcats as pets. (In 1986, PAWS sponsored landmark legislation that made it illegal to own wild animals in California.)  As Robert grew, it quickly became apparent that he was no house pet. Once he became aggressive his owners surrendered him to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. No matter how they are raised, bobcats are wild animals with natural instincts and needs that can't be met in captivity, and they have wild behaviors that make them dangerous to people and pets. Put simply, wild animals do not make good pets!
Robert found a permanent home at PAWS' Galt sanctuary in 1998. He lived in a tree-shaded habitat with a soft soil substrate, places to hide, structures to climb, and a high perch where he loved to rest and watch birds in the trees and the quiet activities of the sanctuary. Like so many of the animals that have called our sanctuaries home, Robert had a special affinity for PAWS co-founder Pat Derby. For Pat, Robert would run to the fence of his enclosure and greet her with a friendly purr. For the rest of us, he seemed to get a kick out of making us jump with a sudden snarl and hiss as we passed by.  
The average lifespan of wild bobcats is about 12 years of age.  As Robert got older (in his early teens) he began to show signs of arthritis, so Galt supervisor Larry built special walkways and ramps that made it easier for him to get up and down from his high perches. Thanks to these special amendments to his habitats and the extra care and attention provided by our dedicated staff, Robert was able to stay active throughout his life. In April, Robert was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease by our veterinarians - a condition that is very common in elderly domestic cats, as well as captive wild cats. A few months later he began having occasional, brief seizures. To protect him from falling during a seizure, a lower platform was built so he could still rest on the high perch that was always his favorite place to survey the world around him.
Robert received extra TLC from his caregivers and special medications hidden in his food to help with his conditions. He stayed active, inquisitive, and spunky until one September day when he had a sudden grand mal seizure that was more prolonged than the few he had experienced previously. PAWS veterinarians treated and monitored him for several hours afterward, but it soon became apparent that this seizure had caused irreparable brain damage, so the difficult but most humane decision was made to gently release him from this life by euthanasia. Robert passed away on September 20th in the loving presence of Dr. Jackie Gai and supervisor Larry, who had both known him for many years. Robert was 21 years old. We will always have fond memories of his feisty spirit and his golden, ever-watchful eyes.

Farewell to Tony the Truck Stop Tiger
Tony, a Siberian-Bengal tiger held for 17 years in a cage at the Tiger Truck Stop parking lot in Gross Tete, Louisiana, has died. He was at the center of a years-long controversy and legal battle over his fate. Despite the efforts of activists, organizations and more than seven years of complex legal challenges by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Tony never was freed from his miserable confinement. The truck stop owner reportedly wants to obtain another tiger, though state law forbids it under its Big Cat Ban.
Tony's tragic story is a stark reminder of why we need to end the rampant breeding of big cats and their use in entertainment. To do so we need to change hearts and minds, and ensure that places like the Tiger Truck Stop cannot abuse and exploit captive wild animals.

ARK 2000 Holiday Open House, December 9th
Tickets Now On Sale
We have a limited number of tickets available for our ARK 2000 Holiday Open House to be held on Saturday, December 9, 2017, 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.
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. Thank you!
This event happens rain or shine. Tickets are not refundable.
Two ways to purchase: Click here to buy tickets 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 7, 2017, 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 but no drones are allowed. There is no smoking on any PAWS property, including in our parking lots. We take fire prevention very seriously every day of the year. 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 all animals.

Thank you
October  Amazon Wish List Donors
Nancy Gordon: two 6 ft. folding tables. Patricia L. Connelly: one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#. Cathleen deOrnelas: two bottles Renal Essentials, 60#; three bottles CosequinDS, 132#; one gallon Optima 365; one bottle AminAvast, 60#. Frances Coletti: one gallon Optima 365; one 10 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat; one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle AminAvast, 60#. Carole Bognar: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Eric Hielscher: one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat. Elke Riesterer: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium; one quart Red Cell. Barbara Moran: one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Nina Dillingham: one 10 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#. Erin R. Blatter: three bottles Renal Essentials, 60#. Lanette Cooper: one 5 lb. bag Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat. Anonymous Donors: one 10 lb. tub Psyllium; one bottle Renal Essentials, 60#; one bottle CosequinDS, 132#.
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

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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!

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and Matching Fund Programs
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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.

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Purchase PAWS apparel and merchandise.

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and makes great gifts for any occasion !
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"Seeing the Elephant" Weekend Getaways | PAWS Animal Adoptions
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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606