Not Many People Know About This Exotic Animal Sanctuary Right Here In Northern California
Lions, tigers, and bears—oh my! Northern California is home to a delightful exotic animal sanctuary that most people don’t even know about. Boasting wide open spaces for their beautiful animals, this sanctuary is meant to provide comfort and a good quality of life to animals who were once victims to the exotic animal trade or were abandoned or abused as performing animals. There are three different sanctuary locations throughout Northern California and although they may not be open to the public on a day-to-day basis, you still have a chance at seeing these gorgeous creatures with your own eyes. Take a look:
The Performing Animal Welfare Society (known simply as PAWS) describes their sanctuary as a place where "abandoned, abused, or retired peforming animals and victims of the exotic animal trade can live in peace and dignity". This place is a true wildlife
sanctuary and it shows.
PAWS was originally founded in 1984 by former Hollywood animal trainer and author, Pat Derby, along with her partner, Ed Stewart. Together, they created three sanctuaries throughout Northern California for captive wildlife to live as they were meant to live.
The original PAWS sanctuary was located in Galt and was comprised of 30 acres. Later on, they expanded to a 2,300-acre location in San Andreas. They also created the Amanda Blake Memorial Wildlife Refuge in Herald which is home to various animal species such as emu, rhea, fallow deer, eland, and scimitar-horned oryx.
However, the San Andreas sanctuary, known as ARK 2000, is their "Big Kahuna". The massive sanctuary contains a pristine and natural habitat for lions, elephants, bears, and tigers. Although they acknowledge that captive enclosures can never substitute for a wild habitat, their sanctuary enclosures are specifically designed with consideration for the animal's health and happiness.
For instance, ARK 2000 is home to both African and Asian elephants. Their habitats contain various natural terrain for them to roam, lakes to bathe in, and state-of-the-art barns equipped with heated stalls and an indoor therapeutic pool. These majestic animals are certainly well-cared for!
The animals at PAWS aren't bred, traded, sold, rented, or forced to perform in any way. They are meant to simply just live and act out their natural behaviors. PAWS provides them a space to do just that.
This means that PAWS sanctuaries are not open to the public...most of the time. They do, however, schedule a limited amount of special events throughout the year for the public to attend. Open houses and "getaways" are scheduled approximately once a month so that people can see these beautiful animals up close and understand what a difference sanctuary living can make.
PAWS is no zoo. At these sanctuaries, the animals' health and well-being comes first. However, seeing these animals with your own eyes is a magical experience you're bound to remember for years to come. If you get the chance, pay a PAWS sanctuary a visit and prepare to be swept off your feet.
For more information about PAWS and their mission, visit their website
What do you think? Did you know about this wonderful animal sanctuary in our state? Looking for more exotic animal attractions? Check out this
One Park In Northern California That’s Unlike Any Other In America.