Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.
Since 1984

JUNE 2022 | Newsletter
Bigelow in his habitat at ARK 2000.

Rescue Is Just the Beginning
The rescue of any captive wild animal, and the events leading up to it, are often the time when people are most engaged in an animal’s story. In fact, the act of rescuing an animal is just the beginning of their journey with us, one that will last their lifetime.
In 2017, PAWS welcomed eight tigers from a defunct roadside zoo where people once paid to pet, hold, and take photos with baby tigers. This practice, called cub petting, is immensely cruel for tigers. Females are repeatedly bred, only to have their babies taken away from them for use in cub petting sessions. Cubs can legally be used for only about one month, but during this short time they are subjected to long hours of handling. Those who resist may be abused by their keepers. Once they can no longer be handled, most cubs will be discarded – sent to decrepit roadside zoos or dumped into the exotic pet trade, endangering both the animals and people. Others may be kept for breeding to produce more cubs. Some cubs simply “disappear.”
Bigelow (pictured above and below) is one of the tigers rescued from such a despicable place, although we will never know exactly what he encountered there. While the other tigers settled into their new habitats at ARK 2000 and became comfortable with their caregivers, Bigelow remained wary of them. Even though he seemed content and relaxed, he would not “chuff” at his caregivers like the other tigers did. Chuffing, also called prusten, is a friendly vocalization that tigers use with each other or familiar people. It sounds like a breathy snort. Bigelow would chuff at his brothers but never his caregivers. He also would not seek their attention for anything other than basic needs like food. This went on for four years, but this past year things changed.
While the tigers are safely locked in their holding areas, caregivers will sprinkle the ground with novel scents to give our tigers a new sensory experience. After a few tries, Bigelow decided that he really loved cinnamon. He reveled and rubbed in it, contentedly drooled, and for the very first time he chuffed at his caregivers! So they continued to provide Bigelow with cinnamon, watching as he delightedly rolled onto his back and played in it. Today, Bigelow’s personality has blossomed. He has become more trusting, and he greets his caregivers at the fence with a friendly chuff – even without a sprinkling of cinnamon. When he wants his favorite spice, Bigelow lets his caregivers know by making endearing tiger sounds.

This story encapsulates the transformative work of a true captive wildlife sanctuary. Our dedicated caregivers are the key to that success, and we couldn’t be prouder of Big Cat Supervisor Renae Smith and her staff. As seen with Bigelow, they are always coming up with ideas to improve the tigers’ lives even more. The staff has a deep understanding of the animals they care for: They know each tiger’s likes, dislikes, behaviors, and personality traits. Because these caregivers know the tigers so well, they can pick up small changes as the cats go through different life stages and make necessary adjustments to their care. All this allows our tigers to relax and be as content as they can be in a captive situation. And, of course, greet their caregivers with that cherished friendly “chuff.”
Big Cat Public Safety Act Update
Good news! Earlier this month, the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act passed the House Natural Resources Committee on a 25-17 vote. The bill (H.R. 263) would ban the private ownership of big cats and prohibit direct contact with these animals. H.R. 263 now moves to the House of Representatives, where it has bipartisan support and is backed by a majority of members including 50 Republicans. (In the last Congress, the House passed the bill, but the Senate never considered it.) A companion bill in the Senate, S. 1210, awaits a committee hearing.
You can help pass the Big Cat Public Safety Act! Click here for information on contacting your representative and senators to urge their support for this critical bill.
Amanda "Miss Kitty" Blake
Online Auction to Benefit PAWS
You may remember Amanda Blake, known as “Miss Kitty” on the television series Gunsmoke. What you might not know is that she had a very close, personal tie to PAWS – and more than 30 years after her death, this dear friend is still helping the animals she loved.
PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby (pictured with Amanda), met Amanda in the 1960s. Pat worked with wild animals in Hollywood and handled many of the animal "actors" on Gunsmoke. Pat and Amanda became fast friends because of their mutual love of animals, and they remained close until Amanda’s death in 1989.

During her final years, Amanda lived with Pat and her partner, PAWS President and Co-founder Ed Stewart, in their home on the grounds of the first PAWS sanctuary in Galt, Calif.
Amanda graciously left the majority of her estate to PAWS. It helped fund the first elephant habitat in Galt. To honor their dear friend, in 1997 PAWS established one of the first sanctuaries for exotic ruminants in the country. During its 25 years of operation, the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald, California, has been home to rescued fallow deer, eland, rhea, emus, and a small herd of scimitar-horned oryx. In 2001 PAWS opened the Amanda Blake Museum and Visitor’s Center on the grounds of the Refuge.

Most of Amanda's Gunsmoke memorabilia, African and wildlife art, furniture, as well as numerous personal items were sold during estate sales held in San Francisco, Hollywood and Sacramento in the years following her death. Many treasures became part of the displays featured in the Amanda Blake Museum. Other items were packed away in storage.

The Amanda Blake Museum is now permanently closed. A selection of items from the museum*, as well as stored treasures from Amanda's life, are now being sold on eBay. All proceeds go to the care of the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears and other wild animals currently 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. New items will be added weekly.

*An additional sale/auction of items from the Amanda Blake Museum will be announced at a later date.
Click on the arrow above to watch Gunsmoke's Amanda Blake receive a special "surprise" award from PAWS at a 1989 Gala and Awards banquet held in Sacramento, California. The telegraph from Dennis Weaver that was part of Amanda's award presentation is currently up for bid on eBay.
Good News For Animals!
Kentucky has adopted new regulations that prohibit circuses from using endangered species, bans elephant rides, and ends exotic animal shows at state and county fairs. This is one of many efforts that PAWS has supported with expert written testimony. 
Are Wild Animal Acts Coming to Your Local Fair?
It’s summer and the fair season is in full swing, including county and Renaissance fairs. Unfortunately, these events may present wild animal acts featuring big cats, bears and monkeys, or they may offer elephant rides. Just like circuses, traveling shows are outdated and inhumane. Here’s what you need to know.
Intensive confinement 
Traveling shows cover hundreds, if not thousands of miles each year. During that time animals are confined in cramped cages, and elephants are chained in trucks. Transport cages for big cats are so small that the animals can barely stand up and turn around. At the fair site, the animals are confined in tiny cages or pens, spending little time in larger performance areas. Elephants are chained in place, usually surrounded by electrified wire fencing, when they are not giving rides or performing.
Cruel training 
Captive wild animals don’t perform or give rides because they choose to. They are forced by handlers who often employ violent training methods, using whips, rods, elephant bullhooks, and electric shock devices. Smaller animals such as monkeys may be punched or beaten. The public never sees this aspect of the animals’ lives, which exhibitors keep well hidden.
Sterile environments 
Wild animals used in traveling shows are biologically the same as their wild relatives, yet these complex, intelligent animals are denied everything natural to them. Cages and holding areas are barren, preventing any opportunity to engage in essential behaviors. Social needs often are ignored. In addition, the animals are subjected to loud sounds, large crowds and performing in front of noisy audiences, all of which are very stressful for captive wild animals.
Abnormal behavior 
Performing wild animals frequently display abnormal repetitive behaviors generally associated with deficient environments and poor welfare. Big cats and bears may pace back and forth and elephants head bob and rock. These behaviors are extremely common in circuses and traveling acts.
Public safety risk 
The wild animals you see in traveling acts are not domesticated. Even if born in captivity they retain their natural instincts, which they may act on when threatened or frightened. By their very nature these shows are transient, with dangerous animals frequently moved and held in temporary caging. Elephants and big cats have escaped traveling shows such as circuses, and they have attacked and killed handlers.
No education or conservation value 
Animal shows distort the public’s perception of wild animals, making endangered species such as tigers appear plentiful when in fact they are in danger of extinction. Research suggests that seeing wild animals in an entertainment context actually hinders conservation efforts and may make these animals, however dangerous, appealing as exotic “pets.”
Here’s what you can do to help:
  • Avoid fairs with wild animal acts. Contact the organizer and tell them why you are not attending the fair.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, urging the fair to reject wild animal shows.
  • Post a comment on social media sites for the fair, politely asking that they exclude wild animal acts.
  • Never ride an elephant or camel.
  • Report wild animal shows in your area, whether at community events or fairs. Contact PAWS at
Dates Set for PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference 2022!

The PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference will take place November 11-12, 2022, in Sacramento, California, with an optional visit to the ARK 2000 sanctuary in nearby San Andreas on November 13. We are lining up an array of exceptional speakers for this in-person conference that will address issues involving big cats, cetaceans, elephants, and more. Registration will open on July 15.
June Amazon Wish List Donors:
Kelly Heidel: one bottle of CosequinDS, #132; one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat; one 3.3 lb. tub of Equithrive. Lynn Bruser: one 10 lb. tub of Equithrive. Nancy Gordon: two bags of dried pineapple; one 5 lb. bag of walnuts. Julie Sklare: one bottle of Emcelle Tocopherol. Joanne and Paul Osburn: two bottles of Emcelle Tocopherol, one 10 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin & Coat. Sandy Gwinner: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Gordon Holmes: one DJI Phantom 4 Professional. Anonymous Donors: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; three bags of dried pineapple; one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one box of Denamarin, 30#; 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.
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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
Rescued black bear Mack explores 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 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.