Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

A nonprofit organization

$136,210 raised by 454 donors

9% complete

$1,500,000 Goal

Established in 1984, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) operates three captive wildlife sanctuaries in California, including the 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge where we care for elephants, big cats, bears, and other wild animals rescued or retired from circuses, zoos, roadside attractions, and the exotic “pet” trade. 

Many of the animals in our care suffered greatly before their rescue: 

  • Elephants forced to perform in circuses
  • Tigers found starving and malnourished 
  • “Pet” bears with serious injuries

At the ARK 2000 sanctuary, captive wild animals enjoy a private, safe haven where they roam expansive, natural habitats with plenty of native vegetation, shady oak trees, and refreshing lakes and pools. The animals can engage in behaviors that are natural to them and just be their wild selves.  

The welfare of the animals is our number one priority, with a team of dedicated caregivers and veterinarians looking after their well-being and a veterinary clinic for on-site healthcare. The animals are cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and treated with respect and love. 

Not only do we rescue captive wild animals, we work hard to end their exploitation through advocacy, protective legislation, and education.  

PAWS is a true sanctuary, meaning we do not buy, sell, breed, or trade animals or make them perform. To ensure the animals have the most natural, intrusion-free lives possible, PAWS’ sanctuaries are not open to the public except for a limited number of educational events at ARK 2000. 

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PAWS is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

PAWS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our federal ID #  is 94-3005157.

All gifts to PAWS are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of donated services.

PAWS is rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator and has received an "A" rating from Charity Watch.

Organization Data


Organization name

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

other names


Tax id (EIN)





P. O. Box 849 (11435 Simmerhorn Rd.)
Galt, CA 95632



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