Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

October 2020 | Newsletter
Mungar relaxes in his habitat at ARK 2000.

Happy 1-Year Anniversary to
Tigers Czar, Mungar and Tessa!
On October 8, 2019, we welcomed three new tigers to our ARK 2000 sanctuary. The three were in need of permanent placement when their previous home, Southern California's Wildlife Waystation, permanently ceased operations and relinquished their permit to keep wild animals. PAWS and other GFAS-accredited sanctuaries offered homes for a number of large cats after being contacted by Tigers in America, who helped coordinate permanent placement for the animals.
Mungar, age 15, is a resilient survivor with a strong and confident demeanor. He has several unique physical challenges, including poor eyesight, a malformed lower jaw, and weakness and incoordination in his lower back and rear legs. These issues are attributed to poor genetics due to irresponsible breeding practices. Mungar takes these physical challenges in stride, and our dedicated staff take special care to supply the support he needs, like cutting his food into easy-to-chew pieces, providing a pool with low sides that he can get in and out of easily, and giving him soft, comfortable places to rest. Mungar enjoys exuberantly playing with his "toys" every day (thank you to everyone who donated for their purchase!). He growls at his play ball and rolls it long distances around his habitat, and he has a special barrel-shaped cylinder that he straddles, scratches, and bites while rolling it around. This vigorous play is also a form of physical therapy that helps strengthen the muscles in his back and legs. Mungar enjoys being close to tiger neighbor Apollo, who has similar mobility problems, and their friendship has helped Apollo heal after his close companion Zeus' death in 2018. Mungar is truly remarkable for his ability to adapt to change and challenges.
Czar has become quite a social butterfly. This 18-year-old tiger shares fence lines with tiger neighbors Tessa on one side and Apollo on the other. Ever since his first day at PAWS, Czar has shown an interest in Tessa. Each morning, he waits for her to finish her breakfast before greeting her with a friendly "chuff." He then trots alongside her as they venture out into their large side-by-side habitats. Czar can often be seen sleeping on his back in the grass under an oak tree. Tiger Supervisor Renae says that he loves to swim in his pool and enjoys smacking his play ball around after drooling and rubbing on it. Czar is a handsome, outgoing, and fun-loving tiger.
Eighteen-year old Tessa has found a friend in her tiger neighbor Sawyer. Together they joyfully run along their shared fence line and prowl through the tall grass of their adjoining habitats. Tessa's personality was on the shy side when she first arrived, but she has become more relaxed and outgoing as a result of their friendship. Her favorite toy is a big, sturdy, red play ball, which she affectionately wraps her paws around in a hug. Tessa is a beautiful tiger who often uses her unique voice to express herself.
In honor of Tessa (pictured with her red ball), Czar and Mungar's 1-year anniversary, please consider making a donation to PAWS for the care of the 13 rescued tigers who live at our ARK 2000 sanctuary.

Click here to donate.

You can also “adopt” Tessa, Czar or Mungar – or all three – for one year by clicking here.
African elephants Lulu, Maggie and Toka at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary.

Seven Years at PAWS:
Celebrating African Elephants Toka and Thika
It was seven years ago this month that African elephants Toka, Thika, and Iringa (now deceased) arrived at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary after their cross-border journey from Canada (right). We vividly remember the excitement that their arrival stirred among our staff, and African elephants Maggie, Mara and Lulu who rumbled and trumpeted their welcome.
We remain just as excited about these very special elephants and are pleased with how well they have adapted to life at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. You can always find Toka, age 50, in the company of Maggie and Lulu. The three usually travel together throughout their expansive habitat as they forage on grass and other fresh vegetation. Thika, age 40, is paired with Mara, and the two elephants usually can be found close together as they climb the gentle hills of their habitat, forage under shady oak trees, or stroll in the sun. Thika has really taken to Mara, and often follows close behind her. Thika is the tallest of the African elephants and she is the only one who was captive born. Today, everyone is content, relaxed and able to be the elephants they are – as it should be.
Thika and Mara
Every day, we strive to give Thika, Toka and all of the elephants a life that is far more natural, with open spaces, freedom of choice, and a dynamic environment that offers changing sights, sounds and smells. We are committed to providing the best life possible for all of our animals, and we appreciate your support!
A special shout out to our Canadian friends who are passionate about Toka And Thika. We appreciate your enthusiasm and support!
National Pumpkin Day at ARK 2000
Each year, PAWS celebrates National Pumpkin Day (October 26), a time to recognize an autumn decoration and food favored by people – and our animals! Our bears, including Ben (pictured below), like to eat them, and the big cats have fun playing with them. Here are a few of our favorite ARK 2000 pumpkin photos taken in recognition of this special day.
Elephant Tourism in the U.S.:
New Name but Same Old Tricks
for Elephant Exploiters
In last month’s newsletter, we wrote about elephant tourism in Asia and warned against patronizing facilities that offer direct interactions with elephants, including riding, petting, or bathing them. You might be shocked to learn that similar elephant “encounters” are offered in the U.S. This form of elephant exploitation also involves inhumane training and handling, a serious public safety risk, and ineffective welfare oversight. In other words, there is nothing humane about paid interactions with elephants, no matter where they take place.
The demise of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2017, after years of falling ticket sales, signaled the end of an era for wild animal acts. Local and statewide bans on the use of elephants and, in some cases, all wild animals in circuses, proliferated. Some exhibitors saw the writing on the wall and created new ways to commodify their elephants by offering “encounters”, albeit under a different name. (We will not be providing the new names of these facilities in order to avoid giving them any publicity.)
One such facility is run by an exhibitor, formerly based in California, that used their elephants for rides, circus acts, and as props for film and advertising. Their punishing training sessions were caught on video, showing the owners and others brutally striking elephants with a bullhook and shocking them with a handheld electric prod.
After California banned the use of bullhooks (a bill that PAWS co-sponsored) in 2016, the exhibitor left the state and changed their name. However, they continue to exploit their five elephants under the guise of “conservation” and “education”, charging $95 per person to touch, bathe, and take a photo with them. We would have liked to say that at least the elephants have a more spacious and enriched living area or that their lives have been significantly improved. But the website for this venture says absolutely nothing about the welfare of the elephants, and they continue to be controlled with bullhooks by the very same people.
A Midwest-based circus runs an operation it calls a “retirement ranch” for its elephants – although it still breeds, trains and uses many of its elephants in circuses. The facility offers interactions with the elephants, including petting, photos, feeding, and "trunk hugs" – all at a price.
Elephant calves bred by this circus have been inhumanely trained and forced to travel and perform in circus acts. One of their trainers explicitly demonstrated, in an undercover video of a training session in 1999, how elephants are controlled through punishment and pain. He instructed others to dig the bullhook into the elephants’ flesh and twist it in order to “make ‘em scream” and ensure their submission. (He reportedly continues to manage elephant training at the "retirement ranch", possibly including a recently born calf.) The circus has been cited for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act and paid penalties to settle federal lawsuits for their illegal actions.

Five other facilities (one to open next month) offer "encounters" with elephants formerly used in circuses and other entertainment. Activities include bathing, touching, photos, and even rides. The only reason the public can approach and directly interact with an elephant is because that elephant has been physically and mentally broken at some point in their life. This does not mean that it is safe to be in close contact with an elephant. For “encounters” – nothing more than a brief period of entertainment – elephants are dominated by handlers wielding bullhooks that carry the threat of painful punishment. Visitors don't get to see what really happens behind the scenes, which is where most abuses take place. (The federal Animal Welfare Act provides extremely minimal protections; inspectors do not monitor training sessions.)

In order to "legitimize" their exploitation of elephants, these operations advertise interactions as "education" and "conservation." You can be sure that paying customers never get a real education on the realities of circus life for elephants, such as brutal training methods, prolonged chaining, and travel in filthy, cramped trucks – and how the elephants continue to be strictly controlled. Research suggests that seeing wild animals in an entertainment context can actually harm conservation efforts because the public does not perceive them as threatened or endangered, further debunking education and conservation claims.
Former circus and ride elephants may no longer be traveling or performing the same old tricks – which is better for them – but they continue to be used for people’s entertainment and as photo props. None of these elephants are truly “retired” – and they never will be. They will continue to be money-makers for their captors, likely until they die.
If you truly care about elephants and other captive wild animals:

  • Never patronize a facility that offers interactions with captive wildlife.
  • Do not take a photo with an elephant, big-cat cub, or any other captive wild animal.
  • Don’t ever ride an elephant – at home or abroad.
  • Avoid wild animal circuses and shows, including those advertised as "educational."
  • Encourage others to avoid elephant “encounters.”
Ringling Bros. Circus Elephants
Last newsletter, we shared the news that 30 Asian elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be transferred to the White Oak Conservation Center in Florida after completion of a 2,500-acre facility that will provide meadows, wetlands, and watering holes.
Michelle Gadd, Chief of Conservation at White Oak, recently was interviewed by Duncan Strauss on his popular weekly radio show, Talking Animals. She talked about how the new facility will greatly improve the welfare of the elephants, who had spent their entire lives in the circus. Unfortunately, she also confirmed that White Oak will be breeding some of the elephants, stating that they will make them “available for genetic diversity.”
We are disappointed to hear this, as the captive breeding of elephants is not conservation. No elephants born in captivity will be returned to the wild. Facilities talk about creating an “assurance” population of animals outside their home ranges. However, it is well known that zoos in North America have been unable to create a sustainable captive population of Asian (or African) elephants. Breeding elephants at White Oak will not change that. If we are to conserve elephants in the wild, our focus must remain on protecting elephants and their habitats.
The expectation of breeding explains the support expressed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which applauded the elephants’ transfer to White Oak while at the same time overlooking the confinement of elephants in outdated zoo exhibits. Also expressing support is the International Elephant Foundation, whose officers and board include representatives from a Canadian theme park that offers elephant rides, a U.S. zoo that refuses to stop using bullhooks to control its elephants, a Mexican safari park that lied about “rescuing” imported wild-caught African elephants (they simply bought them), and Have Trunk Will Travel, an outfit that exploited elephants for rides and circuses and now, under a different name, sells elephant interactions to the public. (See story above, Elephant Tourism in the U.S.)
Overall, this situation demonstrates the stark contrast between true sanctuaries and other captive facilities (Gadd stated that White Oak does not call itself a sanctuary). At a true sanctuary like PAWS, we do not manage our elephants in the interest of a continental population or the “species.” Our obligation is to the elephants as individuals who we recognize as having intrinsic value, versus a value based on their genetics for breeding.
While we are pleased that the welfare of the elephants from Ringling will be greatly improved, we remain concerned that White Oak will be breeding more elephants who will spend their lives in captivity. No matter how natural the facility – including our own – it is still captivity and cannot ever meet elephants’ complex needs.
We continue to hope that White Oak will reconsider bringing more elephants into a captive world that fails them in so many ways.
Good News for Animals
Vermont has become the 12th state in the U.S. to prohibit the sale of ivory and other parts or products from imperiled species. Species covered under the law include elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, jaguars, leopards, lions, pangolins, rays, sea turtles, sharks, tigers, nonhuman primates and whales. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2022. Other states that have passed similar laws include California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Book a PAWS Speaker for Your Online Class!

If you are looking for a unique way to broaden your students’ online learning experience, PAWS can provide a guest speaker for your college, high school or elementary school classes. Topics can range from an overview of our sanctuary work to more in-depth discussions of captive wild animal issues, ethics, and care. Contact PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy at for more information. Speakers are provided at no charge.
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.
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
Did you know that PAWS has an Amazon Wish List? We have chosen specific items that are needed at the sanctuary, which you can purchase directly from Amazon. 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.
Thank You October
Amazon Wish List Donors!
Dobroslawa Zalewska: three gallons of Red Cell; one 64 oz. box of raisins; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium. Beverly Archer: one 5 lb. bag of Canine Skin & Coat; three Probiocin. Margaret, Henry and Casey Hague: one gallon of Red Cell; two 64 oz. boxes of raisins. Susan Stangland: one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#. Sara L. Nickerson: one 8 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Azadeh and Craig Morrison: three one gallon bottles of Red Cell; one quart of Red Cell; one 64 oz. box of raisins. Linda Allen: one 32 oz. bottle of EicosaDerm. Ryan and Lynn Coplen: two boxes of Denamarin, 30#; two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Jan: one quart of Red Cell. Barbara Najera: two gallons of Red Cell; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Dennis and Jinn Jacobson: one 64 oz. box of raisins. Jane G. Droogsma: six 64 oz. boxes of raisins; one bottle of Azodyl, 90#; two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin & Coat; two bottles of CosequinDS, #132; four bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Anonymous Donors: one quart of Red Cell; one gallon of Red Cell; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium; two sets of Cobra radios; six 10 lb. bags of Missing Link Skin and Coat; four 25 lb. bags of peanuts.
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.