Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.

Since 1984

Newsletter | December 2022


Holiday Message from

PAWS President and CEO Ed Stewart

This year is certainly going out with a bang! Who would have thought we would be celebrating the Big Cat Public Safety Act becoming law? This bill will end the private ownership of big cats and stop cruel cub petting operations – something PAWS has long fought for.


This is the kind of accomplishment that gives me so much hope for the future. For nearly 40 years, PAWS has been fighting to end the suffering of captive big cats and other wildlife used for entertainment. And we are gaining momentum every year with key wins like the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.


As we begin the New Year, I’m counting on you to be there alongside us as we continue our fight to free captive wild animals from exploitation and abuse. After all, you are the driving force behind all that we do!


I sincerely thank you for your belief in our lifesaving work, and for being there for the animals through your support and advocacy action.


All of us at PAWS – staff, Board, volunteers, and the animals – wish you a joyous holiday season!

Big Cat Public Safety Act Is Now Federal Law!

We pledged that we would never stop working to pass the landmark Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263/ S. 1210) – the bill to end the private ownership of big cats and cruel cub petting operations. We are thrilled to report that President Biden has signed the bill into law!

The Big Cat Public Safety Act prohibits private ownership of certain big cats and their hybrids. The law allows current owners to keep their cats but they must register them with the government and they cannot breed, acquire more cats, or sell them. It also bans direct contact with the cats by the public, ending cub petting operations using those animals.


Cub petting attractions continuously breed big cats, then tear the cubs away from their mothers so operators can sell handling sessions and photo opportunities to the public. When the cubs grow too big for people to handle, they are dumped at decrepit roadside zoos, the backyard cages of private owners, or they simply “disappear.”


PAWS has been working for years to pass this critical law. We’ve collaborated with other organizations, including the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance, reached out to legislators, and motivated our supporters to take action. We are grateful to everyone who contacted their representative and senators!


All of the tigers at PAWS were rescued from roadside zoos that offered cubs for photo and play sessions. We see firsthand how big cats suffer for entertainment and the lifelong mental and physical scars it leaves on them.


This is all about to change, thanks to the work of so many dedicated people and organizations – and because of your wonderful support. On behalf of the big cats, thank you!

PAWS' Highlights From 2022

The Big Reveal!

This year we were finally able to reveal the identities of two rescued tigers, Herman (pictured) and Falcor. They were part of a major government action against the owners of a private zoo in Oklahoma, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, featured in the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King.” The Lowes are now permanently banned from exhibiting animals, and their 68 big cats have been placed in accredited sanctuaries.


PAWS Conference

Returns to Rave Reviews

In November, PAWS once again presented the International Captive Wildlife Conference in Sacramento, California. Nearly 30 experts from eight countries talked about captive elephants, chimpanzees, big cats, and cetaceans from the perspective of science, law, advocacy, filmmaking arts, and animal care and welfare. The energy in the room was electric, and attendees gave the event enthusiastic reviews.


The next PAWS conference will take place in the fall of 2024 in Los Angeles. We also will be celebrating our 40th anniversary, so expect something extra special for this event! 


In 2022 PAWS was effective in leveraging our expertise and contributing to these positive outcomes:

  • The Big Cat Public Safety Act was signed into law by President Biden (see article above).
  • Magician Jay Owenhouse was prohibited from bringing his tiger act to Las Vegas.
  • Indiana passed a law prohibiting public contact with certain captive big cats and any hybrids of those cats, and bears.
  • An Oklahoma bill to enshrine the use of cruel elephant bullhooks failed to pass.
  • Kentucky adopted new regulations that prohibit circuses from using endangered species, ban elephant rides, and end exotic animal shows at state and county fairs.
  • PAWS shut down public interactions with young captive mountain lions at a roadside zoo in California.


Education is the key to changing the world for captive wildlife. Here is a sample of our efforts in 2022:

  • Another successful PAWS International Captive Wildlife Conference – our biggest educational event.
  • PAWS hosted 63 students from the University of California-Davis at the ARK 2000 sanctuary, as part of their Human-Animal Interactions class.
  • PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai co-authored a chapter in the new book, Ethics in Veterinary Practice: Balancing Conflicting Interests.
  • PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle participated in the webinar, Wild Animal Sanctuaries – New Centers of Humane Education.
  • PAWS COO Chris Draper, PhD, spoke at the International Animal Welfare Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, about the exotic animal trade and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
  • PAWS President and CEO Ed Stewart spoke at the 2022 Animal Grantmakers Conference held in Berkeley, California. His presentation examined PAWS’ nearly 40-year battle to pull back the curtain on the captive animal industry, while providing sanctuary and dignity to hundreds of rescued animals. 
  • Our “Take the Pledge” campaign to end elephant tourism in the U.S. and abroad has reached hundreds of thousands of people and our petition is nearing 35,000 signatures! (Sign the petition here.)

Special Animal Anniversaries

When PAWS rescues a wild animal in need, we provide them with a home for life. Here are some notable anniversaries in 2022:

A Big Birthday in 2022

Asian elephant Prince (pictured), retired from a circus, turned 35.

Asian elephants Nicholas and Gypsy: 15 Years at PAWS

Nicholas and Gypsy were the last two Asian elephants relinquished by a circus training facility. Gypsy, age 55, spent 40 years in the circus. Nicholas, now 29, was born into the circus and immediately trained to perform. For 15 years now, these two elephants have been roaming their expansive natural habitats at ARK 2000 and living a far more natural life.


Ben the Bear - 10 Year Anniversary

Ben has enjoyed 10 years of loving care at PAWS. Once confined in a barren, tiny cage in a dismal roadside zoo, today Ben wanders among trees and bushes in his spacious sanctuary home. At age 21, he is elderly but still very active!


Emu Georgette - 5 Years at PAWS

Georgette was rescued five years ago, after she was found roaming the streets of a town not too far from the PAWS sanctuary. She joined our existing “mob” of emu.


Rescued From Cub Petting Attraction 5 Years Ago

Tigers Bigelow, Morris, Nimmo, Rosemary, and Wilhelm were rescued from a defunct roadside zoo that sold cub petting sessions to the public. Upon exiting their transport cages at PAWS, the tigers delighted in their new habitats and were soon rolling in lush green grass.

Last Chance to Make Your

2022 Tax-deductible Gift to PAWS!

The clock is ticking but there is still time to make a year-end, tax-deductible gift for the rescued and retired elephants, tigers, bears, monkeys and other wild animals at PAWS. (To everyone who has already donated - thank you!)


Your generous year-end gift ensures that we start the new year strong, with exceptional care for the animals. This includes wholesome diets, spacious natural habitats, and expert veterinary care.


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) to charge a donation to your credit card. If you wish to gift a stock donation, please contact Kim Gardner at 916-539-5305 or email for more information.

Thank you!


#GivingTuesday 2022:

Thank You for Making it a Big Success!

A big, heartfelt thank you to everyone who made a donation on #GivingTuesday! The event was a terrific success for the seven elephants we care for at our sanctuary, raising more than $110,000 in 24 hours. Once again, we exceeded our fundraising goal.


It costs more than $44,000 each month to feed and tend to elephants Mara, Lulu, Gypsy, Thika, Toka, Nicholas, and Prince. Thanks to your generosity, we raised enough to cover two months of care, and then some!


We truly appreciate your love and support. Thank you!


PAWS is grateful to these caring donors who provided $48,750 in matching funds: Peg Cheng and Andrew Baldinger; Margo Duckett, Colonel, USAF NC; Sandy and Ray Monticelli; Isabelle and John Stawicki; Nona Entertainment; and three other donors who wish to remain anonymous.

A Huge Holiday Thank You!

It is with heartfelt appreciation that we thank:


Our supporters. You provide wild animals in need with a lifetime home, spacious natural surroundings, and loving care. You truly make a difference!


PAWS’ dedicated caregivers and staff. You are the heart of all that we do for the animals. 


Our volunteers. Your dedication to the animals is invaluable. We couldn’t do it without you!


In-kind companies and individual donors. You supply key support for our mission.


The animals we care for at PAWSand those yet to be rescued. You are our motivation and inspiration. 


Best wishes for the holidays and New Year! 


December Amazon Wish List Donors:

Kris Cooper: one box of AA batteries, 24#. Joleene M. Ladyman: four 6.5 oz. bags of dried Papaya. Joyce E. Hodel: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#. Callie Kooiker: one 5 lb. bag of Missing Link Skin and Coat. Theresa Baumgartner: two bottles of Amcelle Tocopherol (Vitamin E). Jim Hemphill and Kelly Goodner: one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Deidre Dieterle: 35 lbs. of popcorn kernels. Nancy Gordon: one 8 lb. bucket of Simply Flax. Betina Williams: one 6.5 oz. bag of dried Pineapple; one 4 lb. bag of Sunflower kernels. Anonymous Donors: one bottle of Denamarin, 30#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#.

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.

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P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606
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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.

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. Visit PAWS eBay page to view our current listings and to bid. List your 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 or buying!

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