Rescue. Advocacy. Sanctuary. For Life.

Since 1984

Newsletter | May 2023

Rescued tigers Morris and Rosemary in their habitat at PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary.

Celebrating Tigers Rosemary and Morris

PAWS is marking the birthdays of two tiger siblings, Rosemary and Morris (pictured), who turned 11 years old this month. The two were rescued from a defunct roadside zoo that exploited big cats for profit, selling cruel cub petting sessions and photo ops to the public. They arrived at PAWS in 2017, part of the “Colorado Eight” group of tigers.


The siblings (who are spayed and neutered) share a spacious habitat at ARK 2000 filled with trees and native vegetation – yet they couldn’t be more different.


Rosemary is our smallest tiger – with a big personality. Her caregivers describe her as energetic and playful, and report that she loves to spend time in her pool. She also has a knack for annoying her brother.


Morris, on the other hand, is very mellow and laid back, preferring to spend his days lounging in the sun or playing with his large enrichment ball. He is also inquisitive, quietly watching the comings and goings of PAWS staff.


Despite their differences, Rosemary and Morris are very fond of one another. We are proud to provide a lifetime home and loving care for these two special tigers.

PAWS Hosts Modesto Junior College Vet Tech Club for Special Captive Wildlife Program

This month PAWS hosted students from the Vet Tech Club at Modesto Junior College, California, as part of our college outreach program, Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife. The program invites professors to bring their classes to ARK 2000 to learn about the natural biology and behavior of tigers, black bears and elephants, and the many issues surrounding their captivity. Students are also guided through the sanctuary and learn about the animals’ individual histories and how they were brought to PAWS.


This special program promotes critical thinking about the way captive situations shape perceptions of wild animals and how that perpetuates their exploitation for entertainment and profit.


Thank you to Jenn Gomez, RVT, from Modesto Junior College, School of Agriculture, for bringing a great group of students to the sanctuary!


For information on how your college class can participate in Wild Animals in Captivity: Exploring the Interface Between Humans and Wildlife, please contact Catherine Doyle at The program will be offered again in the fall.

When a wild bear (above) rubs against tree bark it unleashes tars, resins and saps that stick to the bear's fur and skin. Photo courtesy of the New York Times, Pat McKillen/Alamy

Bears Are Amazing Animals: Self Medication

As part of our Year of the Bear campaign, PAWS is drawing attention to an animal that deserves more of our respect and protection in the wild and in captivity. Each month, we provide interesting and sometimes little-known facts about bears – their intelligence, agility, and complex behaviors.


Many mammals in the wild use self-medication. For example, capuchin monkeys rub their fur with citrus as an insect repellent, and dolphins treat their skin by rubbing on specific corals and sponges that may aid skin health.


A new study, reported on by the New York Times (Feb. 6, 2023), suggests that bears rub against particular trees for relief from ticks.


Bears often scratch their bodies against trees to remove excess fur or relieve an itch; it can also be a form of communication by scent-marking trees. However, biologists have long known that brown and black bears are irresistibly attracted to certain trees, especially beeches. But why those trees?


When bears shimmy and scratch against the beech tree’s bark, it releases tars, resins, and sap. The thick tar sticks to the fur and skin the longest, and it’s water resistant. In a laboratory experiment, scientists proved that ticks react strongly to beech tar and move quickly to avoid it.


Researchers focused on ticks as the likely target for this behavior because these insects are geographically widespread, and climate change is causing ticks to spread farther and remain active longer during the year.


While repelling ticks is probably not the primary reason that bears rub on trees, the protection provided could be an additional benefit provided by nature.

Click here to "Take the Pledge for Bears"

PAWS Elephant News

Happy Birthday

to Prince!

Asian elephant Prince (pictured), who arrived at PAWS in 2011, turned 36 years old this month. Born at the Portland Zoo in Oregon, he was sent to the circus before he turned age 2. Prince was donated voluntarily to PAWS, at its request, by Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Today he enjoys roaming his large habitat and napping in the sun on the hillside.

Habitat Update

for Nicholas

PAWS made some modifications to Nicholas’ habitat (pictured), which he explored for the first time this month. His first order of business was to hit the sand pile for a good dust bath! Click here to watch a video of Nicholas on Facebook.

Captive Wildlife Legislation


The following bills concerning captive wildlife are currently in progress. If you live in any of these cities/states, please take action to support passage of these bills.


New York StateSenate Bill S4363. Prohibits the issuance of permits authorizing the use of wild animals in circuses or traveling animal acts.

Sponsor: Nathalia Fernandez.

Status: Referred to Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Action: If your state senator sits on this committee (see members here), contact them and ask that they support the bill. Locate your NY state senator here.

Track the bill here.


Massachusetts – S. 2197/S. 2189/H. 3245. An Act relative to the use of elephants, big cats, primates, giraffes, and bears in traveling exhibits and shows.

Sponsors: Senators Bruce Tarr and Adam Gomez; Representatives Carole Fiola and Bradley Jones.

Status: Awaiting hearing in Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development.

Action: If your senator/representative sits on this committee (see members here), contact them and ask that they support the bill. Locate your Mass. state legislators here.

Track the bill here.


Illinois – SB 1883. Wild Animal Public Safety Act. Prohibits public contact with bears and nonhuman primates.

Sponsors: Senate sponsors Sen. Linda Holmes and Javier L. Cervantes; House sponsors Rep. Joyce Mason and Jonathan Carroll.

Status: This bill has passed the Illinois House and Senate, and it will soon be on Governor Pritzker's desk for him to sign.

Action: Contact Governor Pritzker and ask him to sign SB 1883 into law. Send a message here. In the subject line please type: Support for SB 1883 to ban public contact with bears, nonhuman primates.

Track the bill here.


New York City – A bill has been introduced by Councilmember Shahana Hanif that would set new humane standards for elephants that essentially prohibit keeping these animals in New York City. If passed, it would be the first elephant captivity ban in the country, and it would mean that the Bronx Zoo – the only facility with elephants in the city – would have to relocate its two elephants, Happy and Patty. The measure requires a minimum of 15 acres of space and prohibits any riding on elephants or forcing them to work or perform, as well as breeding the animals. As this measure moves forward, we will inform you of action to take at the appropriate time.

2023 Big Day of Giving

a Tremendous Success – Thanks to You!

A BIG thank you to all of our amazing supporters who donated so generously to PAWS during the 2023 Big Day of Giving on May 4th. With your help, we exceeded our goal by thousands of dollars, raising more than $104,000!


Your kind support provides a more natural life for elephants, bears, tigers, monkeys and other wild animals rescued or retired from circuses, zoos, and the exotic “pet” trade – along with individualized care, veterinary treatments, and nutritious diets.


We appreciate each and every contribution, large and small, because we know you give from the heart. This year, friends from 40 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Singapore, showed their generosity.


All of us at PAWS thank you for your compassionate support for the animals!


PAWS is grateful to these wonderful friends for their matching gifts: Kristina Wiley, D.D.S. ($1,000); Kevin and Susan McCourt ($1,000); Laura Dowling and Doug Davis ($2,000); Peg Cheng ($2,500); Sandy and Ray Monticelli ($10,000); Tigers In America ($2,500); Deb Hoffman, M.D. ($2,500); Margo Duckett, Colonel, USAF NC (ret) ($5,000); Kerr Family Foundation ($5,000); Nicholas Rubin ($1,500); and one donor who wishes to remain anonymous ($500).


Big Day of Giving is an annual fundraising event to benefit non-profits in the Sacramento, California, area.

PAWS Bids Farewell to Tiger Claire

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of tiger Claire (above and below), who called PAWS home for nearly 20 years.


Claire arrived at PAWS in October 2003 from a failing roadside zoo in New Hampshire, together with siblings Roy and Kim. The small, four-month-old bundles of energy were blissfully unaware of how lucky they were to escape a future at the zoo that included public handling, breeding, and the exotic pet trade.


After settling into their large, grassy enclosure at our Galt sanctuary, the cubs underwent spay and neuter surgeries to allow them to continue to live together with no risk of breeding. We made sure the cubs got a good start on their development with a wholesome, nutritious diet, and they grew healthy and strong.

In 2010 the trio, who were known throughout their lives as "the cubs", moved to a much larger area at our ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas. Here, they enjoyed lounging under large shady oak trees on warm days, napping in a thick carpet of native grasses, and taking dips in a pool that was deep enough for them to swim in.


Claire was especially fond of her big brother Roy, and the two were often seen sleeping close together in the tall grass. Claire was the most independent of the three, even perhaps a bit shy with caregiving staff. When Roy and Kim would eagerly run in from the habitat for feeding when called, Claire often teasingly plopped down in the tall grass to joyfully roll about for a while before deciding to join them. 


When Roy passed away in 2020, Claire's personality changed, and she became more outgoing with caregiving staff. She would greet us with a friendly "chuff" and rub her face and body along the fence, a sign of affection.

Tiger Supervisor Renae remembers how Claire’s playful personality blossomed in her later years, gleefully shredding cardboard boxes into tiny pieces, and playfully swatting and chuffing at the fence line at neighbor tigers Nimmo and Wilhelm who enjoyed her attention immensely.


When sister Kim passed away last year, Claire basked under the tender loving care of staff who doted on her every need. Above all, her favorite place to be was hidden in the soft grass of her habitat.


Claire had her share of medical challenges, but they never seemed to faze her sweet, cheerful nature. PAWS’ caregiving staff is dedicated to providing individualized care for all resident animals, and Renae and Dr. Gai worked together to come up with different ways to address Claire’s special needs.


When Claire developed significant eye problems later in life, similar to brother Roy's, she successfully underwent groundbreaking corneal grafting surgeries by a team of veterinary ophthalmologists from University of California-Davis led by Dr. Kathy Good to save her vision. As she got older and struggled with arthritis and kidney disease, caregivers created resting platforms and pools that were easier to access, bedded her cozy den down with extra fluffy hay, and made sure she got special medications and supplements that kept her comfortable and active.

In late April, Claire's appetite and mobility began to decline rapidly, signs that her kidney disease and arthritis had taken a turn for the worse. When it became obvious that additional medications were not helping, the heart-wrenching but most compassionate decision was made to euthanize her to prevent suffering.


Claire passed from this life just shy of her 20th birthday surrounded by many who loved her, including her lifetime doctor, Jackie Gai, Ed Stewart, Brian Busta, her longtime caregivers, and Renae who had lovingly cared for her for over 16 years. The last of "the cubs", Claire will always be in our hearts – remembered for her sweet chuff greetings, her love of nature and her beautiful habitat, and for her patience, resilience, and positive outlook on life.


May Amazon Wish List Donors:

Karen M. Osgood: two bottles of CosequinDS, 132#. Leona Heraty: one 3 lb. bag of walnuts. Louis Boitano: one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Judy Webb: one 4 lb. bag of almonds; one bottle of CosequinDS, 132#; one bottle of AminAvast, 60#. Linda Starr: one 5 lb. bag of pumpkin seeds; one 2 lb. bag of banana chips; one 4 lb. bag of almonds; one 2 lb. bag of almonds.

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 sanctuary 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, like Prince (pictured), or our "Help Captive Tigers" 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 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.


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