Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

July 2022 | Newsletter
African elephants Mara and Thika

Secrets of the Elephant Trunk
by Catherine Doyle, M.S.
As Director of Science, Research and Advocacy for PAWS, I have been conducting ongoing behavioral observations of the African elephants at our ARK 2000 sanctuary. During a recent round of observations, I took extra notice of the ways the elephants use their trunks, those amazing appendages that serve a multitude of functions.

The elephant’s trunk is used to breathe, suck up water and transfer it to the mouth to drink, bathe, smell, toss dust or mud onto themselves, socialize, call, explore, and rub their eyes and scratch their heads. Just like people are left or right handed, elephants may have a preference for the way they rotate the trunk to gather or grab vegetation and the side of the mouth where they place their food. The Elephant Ethogram, a library of the behavior and communication of African elephants created by our friends at ElephantVoices, documents at least 250 separate trunk-related actions.
An elephant’s trunk is boneless, with an array of 40,000 muscles (humans have about 650 muscles in their entire body). It weighs about 200 pounds and is capable of lifting more than 700 pounds. African elephants have two opposable “fingers” at the end of the trunk that are so dextrous they can pick a single blade of grass (Asian elephants have one “finger”). At the same time, the trunk is so powerful it can tear down a huge tree limb (as I once watched our elephant Mara do). Scientists have found that the trunk can suck up three liters (0.8 gallons) of water in a second. To move water this quickly requires inhaling at 330 miles per hour!
According to a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, muscles are not the only factor in how an elephant stretches the trunk – its folded skin plays an important role. When reaching out, an elephant telescopically stretches the trunk, first extending the section that includes the tip, then moving up to the next section as stretching increases, gradually working back toward the mouth. Researchers found that the elephant's skin does not stretch uniformly; the top side of the trunk, which has skin folds, is more flexible than the bottom side that has wrinkles. This makes it easier to reach downward – which elephants do when foraging for food and picking up items. This combination of muscle and skin provides the trunk’s strength and versatility.
It’s always fascinating to watch the elephants at PAWS and the incredible ways they use their trunks, whether it’s picking up a single acorn, breaking apart tree limbs, or enjoying a good mud bath. The spacious, natural habitats at the ARK 2000 sanctuary offer the opportunity for elephants to engage in these natural behaviors and many more.
Click on the arrow above to watch a super close-up video of African elephant Toka using her trunk to forage for fresh vegetation in her habitat at PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary. Do you think she’s left or right "trunk-handed"?
Register Now!
PAWS 2022 International
Captive Wildlife Conference
The PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference is back! It’s been four years since our last conference and a lot has happened during that time on important animal issues. In keeping with our theme of “Back Together in the Fight for Captive Wildlife”, this will be an in-person conference.
The conference will take place November 11-12 in Sacramento, Calif. There is an optional visit to PAWS’ 2,300-acre ARK 2000 sanctuary – home to elephants, tigers and bears – on November 13.
More than 30 speakers from around the world will bring you up to speed on issues and actions concerning captive wild animals, including elephants, big cats, cetaceans, and nonhuman primates. Topics include animals in entertainment, zoos and tourism, and updates on the latest in legislation, law and science.
Conference space is very limited, so be sure to register today!
Here are just a few of our conference speakers:
New to the conference: The “super panel” where experts tackle tough questions involving captive wild animals and how to bring about change.
Special event: Photographer Colleen Plumb book signing, “Thirty Times a Minute.” (Available for purchase at conference.)
Registration is open now. Click on the "Register Now" button for more information and to register.
The health and safety of conference participants is a top priority. Please read PAWS' COVID Health and Safety Protocols before you register. Link available on registration page.
See you in November!

Thank you to our Main Conference Sponsor David Reuben and his steadfast support for all animals!
International Tiger Day is July 29
Friday, July 29, is International Tiger Day – a time to honor and take action to support these highly endangered animals who are so very close to our hearts, especially here at PAWS. We are privileged to care for nine rescued tigers at the ARK 2000 sanctuary, and thanks to people like you they roam spacious natural habitats, stretch and scratch on sturdy oak trees, and play in their own pools.

Rosemary and Morris (above) are among eight tigers PAWS rescued from a defunct roadside zoo that sold photo opportunities with helpless cubs to the public. These places constantly breed tigers, rip the cubs from their mothers shortly after birth, and exploit them for as long as they can. Once the cubs get too big, they are sold off, kept for breeding, or simply “disappear.”
Claire (pictured) was bred to be sold like unfeeling merchandise. She was fated to become someone’s exotic “pet” or displayed in a dismal roadside zoo. It would have meant a lifetime of depressing confinement in a small space, with poor nutrition and lack of proper veterinary care.
Our tigers are a daily reminder that big cats simply do not belong in captivity, where their complex needs can never be fully met, and that we must strive to protect those tigers remaining in the wild – which is the only place they belong.
You can help wild tigers
  • Learn more about these endangered big cats – the largest cat species in the world. Tigers are threatened by habitat fragmentation and loss, lack of prey, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict. Share what you’ve learned with others.
  • Don’t be fooled by fake “conservation” claims. No tigers born in captivity will ever be introduced to the wild. White tigers, which have absolutely no conservation value, are highly inbred and often unhealthy. Support conservation work by legitimate organizations working in Asia to save tigers.
  • Reduce your environmental footprint. Wild tigers are being affected by climate change, such as in the Sundarbans in India where they are losing mangrove forest habitat due to rising waters. Learn how you can reduce your carbon emissions using the EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator. Drive less by carpooling, using mass transit, and combining errand trips whenever you can. Think green!

Take action for captive tigers
  • Never patronize a place that offers up-close “encounters” with tigers or other wild animals, including cub petting, photos, or other interactions.
  • Do not “like” social media posts showing people holding or posing with tiger cubs. Reach out and educate the person about why tiger exploitation is inhumane.
  • Avoid wild animal shows, including circuses and those at local fairs.
  • Support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act to end the private ownership of big cats and end cruel cub petting operations. Follow PAWS on social media for the most up-to-date action you can take.
Care for a PAWS tiger for a day with a $55 donation
Celebrate our rescued tigers by making a $55 contribution today – the cost of care for one of our tigers for a day. Please consider making a monthly donation to supply the ongoing support our tigers need. Click here to donate.
Amanda "Miss Kitty" Blake Estate
Weekly eBay Auction to Benefit PAWS
Amanda Blake, known for her role as "Miss Kitty" on the television series "Gunsmoke", graciously left the majority of her estate to PAWS when she passed away in 1989. It helped fund the elephant habitat at PAWS' first sanctuary in Galt, California. Most of Amanda's Gunsmoke memorabilia, as well as numerous personal items, were sold during estate sales held in the years following her death.

Many of Amanda's remaining treasures became part of the displays featured in the now-closed Amanda Blake Museum, once located on the grounds of PAWS' Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald, California. Other personal mementos were packed away in storage. A selection of these prized keepsakes are now being sold on eBay, with new items listed every week. All proceeds go to the care of the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals living at PAWS' sanctuaries.

Click here to view the items currently up for auction on eBay and to read more about Amanda Blake and her history with PAWS.
July Amazon Wish List Donors:
Pamela Rogers-Ibitz: one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one 4 lb. bag of almonds; one 3 lb. bag of walnuts; one 4 lb. bag of sunflower kernels. Daniel: one 3.3 lb. tub of Equithrive. Mary Warrick: three bottles of CosequinDS 132#. Pat Sides: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one bottle of AminAvast 60#. Staci Sanders: six 6.5 oz. bags of Diced Papaya. Steven Hicks: one 5 lb. box of oranges. Anonymous Donors: two sets of Walkie Talkies; one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive.
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.
Connect with us:
Share this newsletter:
P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
Rescued tigers Morris and Rosemary
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 gifts make this excellent care possible.
There are many ways
you can help PAWS animals:
Donate. 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. When you make a contribution for the wild animals at PAWS, it is unlike any other. How many people can say they’ve gifted elephants with spacious rolling hills and a more natural life, or made a present of a lush, tree-filled habitat for a tiger? Or given a bear a new chance at life? And you ensure we are prepared for the next wild animal in dire need of rescue. Three ways to give and every donation matters. Learn more
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.
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.
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
Corporate Donations and Matching Fund Programs. Learn more about what is needed.
Purchase PAWS apparel and merchandise. Clothing for adults, kids, toddlers and infants, as well as other fun merchandise like notecards and coffee mugs - available from our CafePress online gift shop.

PAWS Amazon Wish List. We have chosen specific items that are needed at the sanctuary, which you can purchase directly from Amazon. Many items are ongoing. The list is always current! 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!
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
Donate Your Vehicle To PAWS. Learn more
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.