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Published: April 9th 2008
21 April 2008: I returned from my journey to PAWS. Actually, PAWS has two sanctuaries (both located out of the Sacramento area). The new one that will eventually house all of PAWS' animals is called ARK 2000 (2400 Acres of land in San Andreas, California). I was able to spend a full day there, mostly just hanging out and watching the elephants. I could have done that for another full day easily! PAWS currently has 11 elephants total (Asian and African, which are kept separated). ARK 2000 also now has over 30 tigers. At the original sanctuary (which I was also able to visit) is located in Galt, California (PAWS in Galt is on approx. 80 Acres+). There are a variety of wild animals from monkeys, 1 black leopard, lions, tigers, mountain lions (cougars), bears, 1 coyote, and 2 Asian Elephants (Gypsy and Nicholas).
Gypsy and Nicholas were both rescued from Hawthorn Cooperation which is an organization that purchases, trains, and leases out elephants to circuses. Several of these elephants and its' workers were diagnosed as having TB, and eventually 10 of the elephants were relocated to sanctuaries (8 to the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary and 2 to PAWS). Hawthorn has
PAWS' Elephant Trailor
Great website: www.pawsweb.org
been closed down for now, with them also being sighted for animal mistreatment. Gypsy and Nicholas will be getting a large area and new barn at ARK 2000. Both of these projects are currently under construction, but will take some time to get done. The fencing is very expensive at a cost of $168.00 a square foot. Donations are greatly needed to support the building of new habitats at ARK 2000. Eventually, the old Sanctuary will be sold, to give more support to the new one. Please check out their website, as it is a fantastic organization. I can say with a grateful heart that I was able to experience a "True" Sanctuary at ARK 2000, and know without a doubt, I have experienced a model for one that just may be the best in the world. Please go visit PAWS if you have an opportunity, and certainly donate to them if you are able. With the amount of land they now have available at PAWS 2000, it will be the hope that other fortunate animals can find a healing home there in the future. (A kudos' to CostCo! I learned they regularly supply the sanctuaries with produce!)
For those who are really interested in what is going on with elephants in circuses and zoos, and where they come from: Please order the book "Everything You Should Know About Elephants" - this book was produced by The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). It is an eye-opener! Let us know what we supporting as tourists. The PAWS website has many items available in their gift shop and this book can be ordered through them. Your purchases would of coarse go to support the sanctuaries. Included in this entry are my thoughts before going on my visit to PAWS, and also some excerpts from PAWS' own website.
Comments prior to the trip (April 9th, 2008): I am pleased to be visiting PAWS' ARK2000 (PAWS stands for Performing Animal Welfare Society) located in San Andreas, California the weekend of April 19, 2008. This is a continuation of my own journey to learn more about animal sanctuaries and the true story behind the many animals that are purchased as exotic pets, or living their lives in captivity or performing (e.g. in zoos, circuses, and the entertainment field). While this will be an opportunity to see a variety of animals that have
$168.00 a foot for freedom
PAWS - ARK 2000 is 2400 acres of hills, mountains, and varying terrain in San Andreas, California. PAWS will be moving their other sanctuary over to these new grounds, but for this expansion and "freedom" to happen, each fence will cost $168. a foot.
been "rescued"- seeing the elephants and the large habitats created for them I know will be the highlight for me. Will I finally find a "true sanctuary" there? I think so. I will add pictures when I return, and certainly will have more to say then.
From their website: www.pawsweb.org
PAWS is dedicated to the protection of performing animals, to providing sanctuary to abused, abandoned and retired captive wildlife, to enforcing the best standards of care for all captive wildlife, to the preservation of wild species and their habitat and to promoting public education about captive wildlife issues.
The Performing Animal Welfare Society captive wildlife sanctuary is a place where abandoned, abused, or retired performing animals and victims of the exotic animal trade can live in peace and dignity. For more than twenty years PAWS has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades. PAWS investigates reports of abused performing and exotic animals, documents cruelty and assists in investigations and prosecutions by regulatory agencies to alleviate the suffering of captive
Who's looking at who?
PAWS has over 32 Siberian and Bengal Tigers... They were rescued as cubs and older in an illegal breeding operation. Some have vision impairments and other birth defects because of inbreeding, and at first they did not like the company of humans (for good reason).
Founded in 1984, by former Hollywood animal trainer and author, Pat Derby, and her partner, Ed Stewart, PAWS maintains three sanctuaries for captive wildlife - 30 acres in Galt, California, 100 acres (The Amanda Blake Wildlife Refuge) in Herald, California and 2,300 acres of pristine, natural habitat (ARK 2000) in San Andreas, California.
The story of PAWS began when co-founder, Pat Derby, worked with exotic animals as a trainer on the set of many popular television shows in the 1970's ("Flipper", "Daktari", "Gunsmoke", "Lassie", "Gentle Ben") and other animal films. She was also the trainer and spokesperson for famed Lincoln Mercury car commercial cougars - Chauncey and Christopher. In the process of developing her own training methods based on trust and love instead of fear, Pat was shocked to discover a profession rampant with neglect and abuse. Her autobiography, Lady and Her Tiger (Dutton 1976), was the first expos'e of the harsh training methods and minimal care which were standard in the entertainment industry.
It was during this time that Ms. Derby met Ed Stewart and retired her animals, but stories of abusive training on movie and television sets prompted them to advocate for legislation which
would mandate better standards of care and handling for captive wildlife.
Pat Derby has appeared on "Entertainment Tonight", "The Crusaders", "Inside Edition", "Nightline", "Inside America's Courts", "The World's Most Dangerous Animals", "Dateline", "20/20", "Animal Planet", "The Leeza Show", "Montel Williams", " The Today Show", "CBS Evening News", "The Fine Living Network", and other national media programs educating the public on the need to protect wildlife habitat and to control captive breeding of exotic animal species.
Pat Derby and Ed Stewart have pioneered a method of elephant handling that uses NO bull hooks, weapons or aversive training techniques. PAWS was the first facility to use this "non-dominance" technique successfully, and since 1985, the work of Derby and Stewart has been a model for elephant handlers around the world.
PAWS is internationally recognized as a leader in animal welfare - among our greatest concerns is the treatment of animals in traveling shows, animal acts, television and movies, captive breeding, the exotic animal trade and inadequate standards of care for all captive wildlife. PAWS also protects wild species and their habitat with international programs established in India, Mexico, Africa and Cambodia to diminish human/elephant conflict and to establish protected areas
Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax
Please also visit the website for the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary. Along with PAWS, they are actively rescuing and caring for elephants that have spent most of their lives in zoos and circuses. In visiting their website, you will be able to read and see pictures of the individual elephants they have there: and learn for yourself what living a life in captivity and as a performing elephant does. The stories of the elephants are heart-warming: especially when it is realized that each of these elephants were able to find a place of refuge and peace.
Also please visit my website @ www.animaldreamers.org for more information about some of my favorite charities that are helping elephants and other animals in need.
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