Calaveras Enterprise

PAWS honored by animal welfare society



Ed Stewart and Pat Derby with Mara, an African elephant at theARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas. Enterprise filephoto

Ed Stewart and Pat Derby with Mara, an African elephant at theARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas. Enterprise filephoto

Performing Animal Welfare Society founders Ed Stewart and Pat Derby were stunned when they were announced the winner of the prestigious Bärle Award from the Detroit Zoo’s Center for Animal Welfare.

The pair was attending the zoo’s symposium, titled “From Good Care to Great Welfare,” when they were honored with the award recognizing “significant advancement of captive exotic animal welfare science, practice or policy,” according to a media release.

“It was a total surprise,” Derby said. “We were taken aback, to say the least. The zoo is a very prestigious and respected zoo. We have great respect for them. And the symposium was comprised of scientists and professors and very eminent people in the zoo world from all over the world. So we were really surprised and gratified.”

“It’s lovely, and it meant even more to us because the award is named after a polar bear who was in a horrible circus in South America, and the Detroit Zoo offered to give her a home after she was rescued. And she has one of the most beautiful captive polar bear habitats I’ve ever seen. They built it especially for her. So this bear who suffered so much in a circus had a very, very happy retirement.”

 

 

PAWS already had a special relationship with the Detroit Zoo: Six years ago, the zoo sent two Asian elephants to the ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas.

“The keepers and the docents, everybody there, loved the elephants, but they all realized it was just too cold there for them. So they made the very unselfish decision to send them to a warmer climate,” Derby explained.

The older elephant has since died, but Wanda has become “the mischievous, delightful darling of our Asian group,” Derby wrote in a release. Detroit zookeepers visit once or twice a year to check in on Wanda and take a tour of the sights in Calaveras County.

For more information on the Detroit Zoo or the center, visit detroitzoo.org and click the “Conservation” link. For more information on PAWS, including the backstories and photos of the elephants, visit pawsweb.org.

Contact Brionna Friedrich at brionna@calaverasenterprise.com.

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