Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

September 2021 | Newsletter
The cubs preferred being on top of their den box,
so PAWS' staff made it cozy with branches, leaves, and pine needles.

PAWS Helps Orphaned Bear Cubs
Along Their Journey Back to Freedom
PAWS is often called on to help wild animals in need, but in this case three bear cubs will have the best outcome possible: They will one day again live as free-ranging bears!
It began with a phone call from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), asking if PAWS would temporarily care for three orphaned black bear cubs. The cubs had been found wandering without their mother in Mariposa County, in close proximity to people. Out of concern for their safety the agency captured them, and determined that the cubs were too young to survive on their own. Of course we said yes to caring for the cubs.

The bears, who are all female and estimated to be about six months old, were brought to PAWS on September 4, 2021. We are pleased to report that they were just recently transferred from PAWS to the San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center, where they will be cared for until they are ready for release back to the wild. The cubs received an exam upon their arrival, and they are in good health.
Wild black bear cubs typically stay with their mothers for up to two years after birth, learning important survival skills such as where to find food and water, and how to stay safe and avoid danger. Bear cubs are very intelligent and curious, and great care must be taken while they are in captivity to discourage them from becoming habituated to, and dependent on, humans. PAWS' Bob Barker Bear Habitat at ARK 2000 provided a peaceful, natural setting for the cubs, far from most human activity. It is a piece of unspoiled California foothill habitat filled with oak trees and native grasses, where the cubs were surrounded by the sights, smells, and sounds of nature.

The bear cubs enjoyed using their claws and teeth to dig through logs to find the delicious termites and other insects inside.
PAWS' experienced bear caregiver staff did a wonderful job caring for the cubs. They provided nutritious foods such as acorns and other nuts and fruits still attached to branches. This helped the cubs to learn about foods that may be components of their diet after they are returned to the wild. Staff also hid food items under leaves and pine needles (pictured), under rocks and logs, and hung berries on the vine around their enclosure so the cubs were encouraged to forage for food. PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai and our staff received helpful tips from the Ramona Wildlife Center, with ideas on how to care for the cubs while preserving their wildness as much as is possible.

A favorite treat was crabapples, which the cubs could pluck from tree branches. This helped them learn about foods that could be a part of their diet in the wild.
Wildfires and drought have made 2021 an especially challenging year for California wildlife, with many animals injured, killed, or displaced from their home territories. Animals that suffer burn injuries require lengthy, specialized care to heal from their injuries. The cubs we cared for were not burned, but by accepting them for temporary care PAWS helped free up a bear enclosure at a CDFW facility. This allowed wildlife officials to take in injured adult bears in need – a ripple effect, benefitting more than just the cubs. 
We are grateful for the opportunity to help care for these little bears, and we are honored to partner with CDFW and the Ramona Wildlife Center to play a role in returning them to the wild, where they belong. We wish them a long and fulfilling life!

Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated so generously for the care of these young bears!
PAWS staff members helped California Fish and Wildlife biologists carefully carry the crates containing the cubs to the vehicle that transported them to the Ramona Wildlife Center, and their eventual return to the wild.
Have You Taken the Pledge?
PAWS has launched a new campaign called Take the Pledge! to bring attention to the use of elephants for tourism and elephant “encounters” overseas and in the U.S. The only way to stop this form of exploitation is through education and by decreasing demand for these attractions.
Elephant tourism facilities prey on people who love elephants and want to be near them. They offer different types of interactions, from riding or bathing an elephant to taking up-close photos. These tourist attractions are never humane for the elephants.
While the quality of conditions and care may differ at each facility, the one thing they all have in common – no matter the country – is that handlers must keep the elephants under strict control due to their close proximity to the public. This is achieved through harmful training practices that are reinforced throughout an elephant’s life – and hidden from public view.
Training starts at a young age, when calves are traumatically separated from their mothers, subjected to cruel training, and often confined in deplorable conditions. Handlers rely on the bullhook (or ankus) – a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker with a sharpened steel tip – to establish control of an elephant and instill fear of painful punishment with the device (pictured). Even so, elephants have lashed out and killed tourists and handlers.
Elephant tourism is found in various countries, including India, Thailand, Africa, and the U.S. Until last year, the elephant tourism industry was booming in Thailand, where an increasing number of elephants were being produced to meet demand for this highly profitable business sector. (Some calves are still taken from the wild, despite the highly endangered status of Asian elephants.) The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how unsustainable the industry is, when elephants were going unfed after tourists disappeared.
At facilities in the U.S., elephants perform circus-style tricks, paint, and pose for photos with paying customers – while under the control of bullhook wielding handlers. There are virtually no protections for the public.  Despite their claims, these places have no true education or conservation value. They exist purely for people’s entertainment – and for profit. (See PAWS’ previous article on elephant tourism in the U.S. here.)
There is nothing humane about interacting with captive elephants. These highly intelligent, emotionally complex, and self-aware animals deserve our respect and protection.
That’s why PAWS wants your pledge to:

  • NEVER ride an elephant in another country or at home – or at a fair or circus.
  • NEVER pet, bathe, or participate in an up-close photo op with an elephant.
  • NEVER patronize places where elephants perform tricks.
You can take action to end this terrible exploitation of elephants.
Visit PAWS’ Take the Pledge! site and find out what the elephant tourism industry doesn’t want you to know.
Sign PAWS' petition and make your pledge official! Share the petition widely!
Make a donation to PAWS so we can continue our work to eradicate elephant exploitation and care for the seven rescued or retired elephants at our ARK 2000 sanctuary.
Share this information with friends, family and colleagues.
If you plan to travel overseas, only support facilities that provide observation-only experiences with high quality elephant care. Check out World Animal Protection’s Elephant-Friendly Checklist of facilities in Thailand, Cambodia and Nepal. (No U.S. facility meets their standards.)
Consequences of Captivity
for Elephant and Cetacean Brains
PAWS is proud to announce the publication of a review of the evidence for neurobiological harms to cetaceans and elephants confined to zoos, marine parks, and other impoverished settings. PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle is a co-author on this important paper, titled “Putative neural consequences of captivity for elephants and cetaceans.” Authors are Bob Jacobs, Heather Rally, Catherine Doyle, Lester O’Brien, Mackenzie Tennison, and Lori Marino.
While the impact of the captive environment on physical and behavioral health has been well-documented, relatively little attention has been paid to the brain itself. This review assesses the potential neural impact of impoverished, captive environments on elephants and cetaceans, which share several characteristics, including being large, wide-ranging, long-lived, cognitively sophisticated, highly social, and large-brained.
This paper introduces a critical new element to the discussion surrounding the confinement of elephants and cetaceans. Click here for free access to the review.
PAWS' Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai
A Moving Donation!
PAWS wishes to express our gratitude for the recent donation of a Chevrolet Equinox SUV (above), for use by our veterinary staff. The vehicle will be used to carry medical equipment and supplies from the Pat Derby Animal Wellness Center to various areas of the sanctuary, where it is needed to perform important veterinary work. The veterinary staff are grateful to have a dedicated vehicle that can carry a large amount of equipment, as well as handle the sanctuary’s dirt roads. Heartfelt thanks to our donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for helping to improve the lives of animals (and veterinarians!) at PAWS.
Help Stop Cruel Cub Petting and the Big Cat Pet Trade
Big cats need your help! Please support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R.263/S.1210) that would ban the private ownership of big cats such as lions and tigers and restrict public contact with these animals. the bill would end inhumane cub petting operations, where both babies and their mothers suffer, and stop the endless breeding of big cats for profit.
PAWS cares for tigers rescued from the exotic “pet” trade and defunct cub petting facilities – including Kim, Claire, Bigelow, Morris, Nimmo, Rosemary, Sawyer and Wilhelm. We need your help to pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act and ensure that big cats no longer harmed for entertainment and profit.

Click here for more information and to see what you can do to help.
Rescued bobcat Owen plays in his habitat at ARK 2000.

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.
PAWS is proud of its 4-star rating with Charity Navigator - the highest rating possible. We are part of an elite group of charities with an "exceptional" designation (at least four consecutive years of 4-star ratings), meaning that your gift will have the greatest impact possible. CharityWatch gives PAWS an "A" rating.
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. We have an ongoing need for many of the products listed. 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.
September Amazon Wish List Donors:
Theresa Dixon: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Valarie Marini: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Nancy Gordon: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#; two bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Ann Lichtfoss: five bottles of Renal Essentials, 60#. Ben Suni: two Probiocin. Lisa Klotz: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Stuart Products: twelve bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol, 1000 ml. Anonymous Donors: one bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one bottle of Renal Essentials, 60#; four Probiocin.
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
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

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Give to one of PAWS' ongoing MightyCause campaigns: Our "Dollars for Dirt" or "Give BIG for PAWS' Elephants" fundraisers for the elephants, or our "Support a Rescued Tiger" fundraiser to benefit the 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!

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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. Due to COVID-19 concerns, all PAWS' events have been cancelled until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.