Performing Animal Welfare Society
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The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is a U.S.-based group for abandoned or abused performing animals as well victims of the exotic animal trade. They claim 30,000 members. As a member accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS), the society follows guidelines stipulated by TAOS, one of which is that none of the elephants be bred.
Founded by former Hollywood animal trainer and author Pat Derby and partner Ed Stewart, PAWS works to ensure that animals are protected by the Endangered Species and the Animal Welfare Acts, as well as by local laws. In 2007, with the arrival of a retired circus elephant named Nicholas, PAWS' ARK 2000 became the first sanctuary in the United States to house bull elephants. Today, the sanctuary is home to three bull elephants following the arrival of Sabu in September 2010, and Prince in July 2011. Sabu and Prince are both retired circus elephants.
PAWS maintains three sanctuaries for captive wildlife—a 30 acre sanctuary in Galt, California, the 100-acre (0.40 km2) Amanda Blake Wildlife Refuge in Herald, California and a third, Ark 2000, which comprises 2,300 acres (9.3 km2) in San Andreas, California. The Galt sanctuary was the first in the United States equipped to care for elephants.
The animals live in facilities specifically designed for their needs; the elephants, for example, have access to 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land and have been given a jacuzzi for the more arthritic members of their family.
Ark 2000 is supported by private and corporate donations. Its membership list is said to have 33,000 names.
The sanctuaries currently house approximately six Asian elephants, five African elephants, 41 exotic cats such as tigers, lions, cougars, a black leopard, a serval, and a bobcat, eight bears (mostly American black bears), eight primates (mostly White-headed capuchins), one coyote, emu, rhea, fallow deer, eland, Muntjack deer and a herd of scimitar-horned oryx.