Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

December 2018 | Newsletter
Happy Birthday to
Asian Elephant Nicholas!
Asian elephant Nicholas marked his 25 th birthday on December 15. In his 11 years at PAWS we have seen such amazing and beautiful changes in this elephant – underscoring the rehabilitative power of true sanctuaries.
Nicholas had the misfortune of being born into the circus. He was separated from his mother before he was two years old – a time when calves are still entirely dependent on their mothers – and forced to perform unnatural tricks such as riding a tricycle and walking on a balance beam. But this wouldn’t last long. By the time Nicholas was five years old, he would have begun to realize his own strength and challenge his handlers. In circuses this type of natural rebellion is met harshly. Punishment is meted out with the cruel bullhook, a menacing weapon used to control elephants through fear and pain. 
Nicholas was labeled as dangerous and unmanageable and essentially “warehoused.” Bull elephants in circuses are often doomed to spend their lives on chains and intensively confined. Fortunately, the company that owned him was involved in a consent agreement with the federal government , which allowed Nicholas and female Asian elephant Gypsy to be transferred to PAWS. Emmy Award-winning game show host Bob Barker provided the generous financial assistance that made the move possible.
When Nicholas first arrived at PAWS he was angry and distrustful of humans. This enormous animal would cringe if you as much as lifted your arm too quickly, expecting to be hit. PAWS’ staff, including Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, patiently worked with Nicholas to gain his trust. Today, Brian and Nicholas enjoy a special relationship. The once “dangerous and unmanageable” elephant now voluntarily cooperates during training sessions and necessary husbandry and veterinary care. His favorite treat after training is wheat bran, which he carefully gathers up in his trunk, while making a contended “purring” sound.
Nicholas has already come a long way in his young life. PAWS is proud to provide this circus survivor with a far more natural life, including a grassy habitat set among the rolling hills of the ARK 2000 sanctuary. Nicholas is a special elephant who is much valued, loved and respected, and has stolen all of our hearts. Happy birthday, Nicholas!
A Message From
PAWS' President

All of us at PAWS are so thankful for your support and belief in the work we do for captive wildlife. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you, and want you to know how very important you are to the animals we care for and love. PAWS was hard at work in 2018, always looking to further our mission of rescue, education and advocacy, and we'll reach even higher next year – our 35 th year of working for the animals! I eagerly look forward to what the new year will bring knowing that together we can change the world for captive wild animals!
Best wishes for the New Year from the staff, board, volunteers – and all the animals – at PAWS!
Ed Stewart
President and Co-Founder
Looking Back at 2018:
PAWS' Year in Review
Event of the Year
PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference

In November, the PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference took place over three days in Burbank, California, attended by more than 200 people. Nearly 50 speakers from a dozen countries participated, with riveting presentations on their work involving circuses, zoos, tourism, marine parks, animal law, science, conservation, and more. Speakers and attendees came away from the conference inspired and filled with hope for the future. (The next PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference will take place in November 2020 in San Andreas, California.)
Key Moments in Animal Care
Tiger Rosemary Arnot and Black Bear Winston

PAWS is proud of the high quality, compassionate care we provide to the animals living in our sanctuaries, including dental care. This was the year of the root canal. (Ouch!) Captive wild animals are often prone to dental issues, such as broken or worn teeth, so dental care is very important for all of the animals at PAWS. In 2018, tiger Rosemary Arnot and black bear Winston both underwent successful root canal procedures. PAWS thanks Dr. Nicodin Farcas, a board-certified veterinary dental specialist, and his team for generously donating their time and expertise to provide state-of-the-art care for these deserving animals.  
PAWS Educates
Wildlife in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife – A New Educational Program at PAWS

In March, PAWS launched an exciting new program for college students aimed at motivating them to think more deeply about their interactions with captive wildlife in circuses, zoos, and private menageries. The program, which takes place at the ARK 2000 sanctuary, explores the links between captivity, animal use and larger wildlife issues, and ways that students can embrace these issues in their current studies and future careers. Five college classes have participated so far, including 75 students and faculty. The program will continue in Spring 2019. PAWS thanks David Reuben for inspiring this innovative program and providing the funding to make it happen. For more information, email .
Reaching Out to Veterinary Students and Others: In January, PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai hosted veterinary students from the University of California, Davis, enrolled in the “Zoo and Wildlife Medicine” course. The day at ARK 2000 included discussions of ethical and medical issues involving wild animals in captivity.
In February, undergraduate students from the “Human-Animal Interactions, Benefits and Issues” course at the University of California, Davis, visited ARK 2000. The group included those studying Animal Behavior, Animal Science, and Veterinary Medicine. The tour marked the 31 st year that this class, led by Professor Lynette Hart, has toured the sanctuary.
Professional Outreach
In March, PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai spoke before 200 attendees at the 2018 Wildlife and Exotic Animal Symposium at the University of California, Davis. Her presentation was titled “Caring for Elderly Wild Animals in Captivity.” Dr. Gai also participated in a Career Panel, sharing her experience with those interested in wildlife medicine.
In April, PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle spoke at the Free the Elephants International Conference in Portland, Oregon, organized by FOZE (Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants). Her topic was “Bullhook Bans and Beyond: Action for Elephants in Captivity.” Catherine also participated in the panel, “On the Front Lines: Action for Change.”
In May, PAWS President Ed Stewart spoke to the California Federation of Women's Clubs Conference in Sacramento. He also addressed the audience at Digital Hollywood's Influencer Awards Nominees' Dinner in Los Angeles, speaking before more than 250 attendees.
That same month, Catherine Doyle presented at the first NextGEM (Next Generation Elephant Management) Elephant Workshop, hosted by ZooTampa in Florida. Her paper was titled, “Public Perception of Elephant Sanctuaries: Space, Naturalness, and Values.” The workshop aimed to bring together elephant care professionals to discuss the future of elephant management.
PAWS Advocacy in Action
Each year PAWS receives numerous requests for letters of support and expert testimony on legislation affecting captive wild animals. PAWS was proud to support New Jersey’s statewide ban on exotic and wild animals in traveling shows, recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, through our alerts and expert letters. We also provided written expert testimony for Hawaii's prohibition on the importation of dangerous wild animals for circuses and other public exhibitions, recently signed by Governor Ige. Today, five states, and more than 135 localities in 37 states, have enacted restrictions on the use of wild animals in traveling shows. PAWS applauds The Humane Society of the United States for their persistence and hard work in passing both bills, as well as all the other animal protection groups involved in these important legislative actions.
Animal Law
PAWS has provided expert affidavits in two important legal cases brought on behalf of captive elephants by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP). The elephants include Asian elephants Beulah and Minnie and African elephant Karen, with the Commerford Zoo in Connecticut (2017); and Happy, an Asian elephant living at the Bronx Zoo in New York (2018). Recently, a New York Supreme Court heard arguments on Happy’s case in the world’s first habeas corpus hearing on behalf of an elephant. The NhRP’s filing for a writ of habeas corpus demands recognition of Happy’s legal personhood and fundamental right to bodily liberty. They are awaiting an order from the judge.
The Best of PAWS’ Newsletters
The PAWS newsletter is a source of information not just about the animals we care for, but also important captive wildlife issues. Here are just a few of the stories:
  • Bears in Captivity: The Overlooked Animals (February) Bears don’t get nearly the attention they need, despite suffering in roadside zoos, cub petting operations and traveling shows.
  • Exotic and Wild Animal Attractions: Are They Coming to Your Local Fair? (May) Elephant rides, photos with cubs (pictured above), bear and big cat acts. PAWS reports on these attractions and some you may not have heard about.
  • Setting the Record Straight: Age and Elephants in Captivity (August) Explains the facts and fiction surrounding elephant life span in captivity.
  • The Importance of True Sanctuary (October) Definitive article on the significant differences between PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary and other captive facilities.
Other articles of interest:

  • The Colorado Eight: One Year After Rescue (January)
  • Report from the Field: Elephants After Dark (August)
  • Celebrating Toka and Thika’s Five-Year Anniversary at PAWS – with article “reprint” by Dr. Joyce Poole of ElephantVoices, “Toka Enters PAWS’ African Barn to an Elephantine Greeting” (October)
Reasons to Celebrate!
Animal anniversaries and birthdays at PAWS:
  • Black bear Winston, born at a breeding compound to become someone’s exotic “pet”, turned 25 years old! 
  • African lion Camba (right), who spent years penned up or performing in a Bolivian circus, marked her 8th year of freedom at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. 
  • Black leopard Alexander, an exotic “pet” who was chained in a backyard and then nearly euthanized, celebrated his 20th year of life. 
  • Tiger siblings Roy, Kim and Claire – destined for a lifetime of exploitation in the exotic animal trade until saved by PAWS – turned 15 years old. 
  • Black bear Sampson, rescued from horrific conditions in a dilapidated roadside zoo, has enjoyed a more natural life at PAWS for 15 years. 
  • African elephants Thika and Toka, relocated from the Toronto Zoo to PAWS, have been roaming the hills of their spacious natural habitats for five years. 
  • Asian elephant Nicholas, whose story is told in this newsletter, is now 25 years old.
Time For Thanks
It is with heartfelt appreciation that we thank: 
You, our supporters , who touch the lives of each and every animal at PAWS and make our work possible.
PAWS' dedicated staff  who work so hard to ensure the health and welfare of the animals.
Our committed volunteers , who give of their time and talents, come rain or shine.
The generous companies and individuals  who provide in-kind services in support of our mission.
All of the animals we care for at PAWS , who teach us the importance of preserving wild places and protecting wild animals where they live. 
We wish you all the very best in 2019!
Last Chance to Make Your
2018 Tax-deductible Gift to PAWS!

There is still time to make a year-end, tax-deductible gift for the elephants, big cats, bears and other wild animals who have found sanctuary at PAWS . ( To everyone who has already donated - thank you! Your year-end gift provides high quality daily and veterinary care, round the clock monitoring, and spacious natural habitats. 
To make your contribution, online simply click on the “Donate” button below. Or call the PAWS office at 209-745-2606 (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST; closed Dec. 25th). To gift a stock donation, please contact Kim Gardner at or call 916-539-5305 for more information.  Thank you!

2019 "Seeing the Elephant" Dates Announced
If you’ve ever wanted to experience elephants as they live in a natural habitat sanctuary and learn more about these amazing animals, you’ll want to reserve your spot for PAWS’ educational “Seeing the Elephant” weekend. This one-of-a-kind program, led by PAWS’ President and Co-Founder Ed Stewart and Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, usually sells out. So make your reservations now !

The program takes place at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary, situated in the rolling hills of California’s scenic Gold Country. Participants will observe PAWS' eight resident elephants and gain insight into their personal histories, individual personalities, and the special care required for the planet’s largest land mammal. 
One - and two-day options are available. The one-day Saturday program focuses on elephants only and includes lunch. Participants in the two-day package, which includes a two-night stay in a charming bed and breakfast, return on Sunday to learn about PAWS' big cats and bears.  
Click here for available dates, pricing, and to learn more about the "Seeing the Elephant" weekends. Contact PAWS' Director of Programs Kim Gardner to book your visit. Call (916) 539-5305 or email We're sorry but this program is not suitable for those under the age of 15.

G ift certificates are available.
Thank You December
Amazon Wish List Donors
Carol L. Johnson: two gallons of Red Cell. Barbara (last name not given) : two 5 lb. bags of Missing Link Ultimate Skin and Coat. Lisa Klotz: one bottle of Renal Essentials #60. Dan Brinkman: one 10x10 pop-up tent. Anonymous Donors: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; five bags of diced pineapple; five bags of diced papaya; one 50 lb. bag of peanuts in shell; one 20 lb. tub of Psyllium; one bottle Azodyl #90; one bottle Renal Essentials #60.

Click on "wish list" links 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