Thursday, March 19, 2015

Searching for Spring



Searching for Spring Wildflowers




 
The weather has been unusually warm and everywhere the flowers are sprouting.  The roses in front of my home were starting to bloom at least 3 weeks earlier than usual.  Although officially, Spring is only starting March 21, here California it definitely looks and smells like Spring.  The daffodils are long gone even in the higher elevations.  The Daffodil Hills Ranch in the Foothill of the Sierra closed their doors this week but 2 weeks ago it was in full bloom and a delight to see.  It was quite crowded the afternoon I visited and seeing the profusion of yellow and white was for sure delightful.

 

McLaughlin Ranch, an old working ranch
 

 
 

 

 
 
 
Closer to my Palo Alto home, Gamble Gardens and Filoli Gardens are a-wash in tulip blooms – a colorful palette of reds, pinks and white and all colors in between.


An inviting place to sit and contemplate.
 
 
A visitor on a forget-me-not



 
 
With the weather almost like feeling like summer, I continued searching for poppies and wild irises spending a day on the coast around Mount Tamalpais and Point Reyes and was rewarded to find the wild iris in full bloom.  The coastal hills were lush green with the occasional poppy [probably in full bloom in a week or so] but lots of yellow mustard along the road.

 


 




Pierce Ranch
 
 
Heart's Beach
 
 
 I ended up photographing the abandoned boat on Tomales Bay and stayed into the late evening/night capturing the north star above the boat.  There I met Lauren, a young photographer who wanted to try her hand with astro-landscape photography and star trails.  It is always nice to share the night and have the time go by faster than being alone.  Lauren, this image is for you!  I hope you got something good out of your efforts to capture the beautiful scenery!

 
... and a beautiful night it was!
For those of you who are still living with snow and cold, don't despair - Spring will come to your area soon.
Til next time,
Meggi

[Technical Note:  all images except for the night image were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, a mirroless micro 4/3 that I am evaluating with pleasing results.]
All images:  Copyright M. Raeder-Photography
 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Galapagos Tortoises


Conservation Notes:
 
Good news!
Young Tortoises spotted on Galapagos Island

 


Tortoise hatchlings spotted on the tiny island of Pinzón last year are the first to have survived there in more than a century.  Thanks to conservation efforts, tortoises are making a comeback.

In 2014, researchers discovered Galapagos tortoise hatchlings on the Galapagos island of Pinzón.  The young tortoises are the first to have survived there in more than a century. It’s a sign that decades of conservation programs to protect the giant reptile are starting to pay off.

Gigantic tortoises were once common on the Galapagos Islands, but after many years of overhunting, habitat destruction, and disruption by non-native species, the population crashed.  Now, thanks to the hard work of the Galapagos National Park Service and its collaborators, the tortoises are making a comeback.

The Galapagos Islands are located in the equatorial Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador.  The remote islands with their unique flora and fauna are famous for having helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.  The Galapagos tortoises are among the islands most iconic species.

Scientists estimate that 250,000 tortoises once inhabited the Galapagos Islands prior to the 16th century. In the 19th century, the tortoises were hunted heavily by whalers that often visited the islands.  Moreover, some of their habitat was converted to agricultural land by early settlers. Humans also introduced non-native species to the islands like goats, which compete with the tortoises for food, and rats, which prey on the tortoise eggs and hatchlings.  All of these factors took a heavy toll on the tortoise population. By the 1970s, only about 3000 tortoises remained.

In attempt to boost the Galapagos tortoise population, several conservation programs were put in place.  For example, large areas of the Galapagos Islands are now protected parkland and park officials collect tortoise eggs and rear the hatchlings in captivity until the young tortoises are large enough to withstand a rat attack.  To date, approximately 6,200 tortoises have been successfully reared and released back onto the Galapagos Islands.

In 2012, rats on the island of Pinzón were eradicated through the use of poisoned bait.  During a follow up survey on the island in 2014, James Gibbs reported seeing several young tortoises.  He said:

During our treks around Pinzón, the team also found many young hatchlings, a truly exciting find as they are the first hatchlings to survive on Pinzón in more than a century.  Once black rats were introduced to Pinzón in the late 1800s, they preyed on 100 percent of tortoise hatchlings.  This new bunch of “little guys” is one of the important results of the rat eradication campaign, tangible proof that with dedication, hard work, support, and heart, conservation efforts can effect positive change.

James Gibbs is a professor with the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry.




Today, the tortoise population size has increased to 20,000 individuals.  Clearly, the conservation programs are starting to pay off.

 
Bottom line: Galapagos tortoise populations are showing signs of recovery after several decades of conservation efforts to protect the giant reptiles.

 
This article was first published in EarthSky  [http://earthsky.org/]
 
Til next time,
Meggi

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ringling Circus ends elephant program



Performing Animal Welfare Society Credits California Bullhook Bans as Turning Point
in Circus Decision to Eliminate Elephant Acts
 
Nation's First Elephant Sanctuary
Applauds Historic Announcement

San Andreas, Calif. (March 5, 2015)  - The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), which founded and operates the nation's first elephant sanctuary, is applauding the news that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus will end the use of elephants in its traveling shows. PAWS is attributing the decision, in great part, to the Los Angeles City Council's unanimous decision in 2013 to ban the use of bullhooks - a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker that is used to control elephants through fear and pain - as circuses had stated they would no longer visit the city.
 
"The Los Angeles bullhook ban was really the tipping point for elephants in circuses," said PAWS president Ed Stewart, "and PAWS is proud to have played a key role in passing that game-changing ordinance."
 California's Oakland City Council followed Los Angeles in passing its own bullhook ban in December 2014. Other cities across the U.S. were gearing up to consider similar legislation when Ringling announced its decision.
 "We are thrilled at the news that the end is in sight for the use of elephants in the largest U.S. circus," said Stewart. "This is an historic announcement. It signals the beginning of the end of the use of elephants in entertainment."
 "PAWS was the first organization to investigate and expose the horrific lives of elephants and other animals used in entertainment," said Stewart, recalling how he and his partner, the late Pat Derby, began documenting the use of animals used in live entertainment, especially circuses, and started the worldwide effort to end their suffering.
 Derby, a former Hollywood animal trainer, first championed the cause of performing wild animals nearly 40 years ago following the publication of her tell-all book, The Lady and Her Tiger, which exposed the behind-the-scenes abuse of wild animals used in entertainment. Stewart stated, "She was THE voice for lions and tigers in cramped traveling cages and elephants chained by their legs in trucks and railroad cars."
 
Since its founding 31 years ago, PAWS has continued its investigations, public awareness campaigns and legislative advocacy on behalf of performing animals.
 PAWS cares for nine elephants at its 2300-acre natural habitat ARK 2000 sanctuary in San Andreas, California, along with tigers, lions, bears and a black leopard. Among those are former circus elephants who now spend their days roaming spacious habitats and sunning themselves on grassy hillsides, free from chains and bullhooks.
 Stewart concluded: "This decision should set an example for anyone who uses elephants for entertainment, including in circuses, rides, and in film, advertising, and television. It's all just wrong."

For more information about the Performing Animal Welfare Society, please visit www.pawsweb.org.
 
#  #  #
 
Founded in 1984, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) operates three sanctuaries in Northern California, including the 2300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat refuge, that are home to a large variety of species including Asian and African elephants, African lions, tigers, and other exotic animals rescued or retired from circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.
 
PAWS is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and is rated a four-star charity by Charity Navigator and received an "A" rating from CharityWatch.

Friday, March 6, 2015

PAWS News: Wanda


All of you who have visited PAWS Ark 2000 with me over the years, will remember Wanda, one of the Asian elephants, who with her friend Gypsy enjoyed a large enclosure with grass to forage and a pond to swim in.  The 2 elephants were always seen together enjoying each others company.  They had met more than 20 years ago during their years in captive situations and remembered each other once reunited.  After 10 years at PAWS, Wanda died recently and will be remembered fondly by all who knew her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PAWS Announces the Death of
Beloved Asian Elephant Wanda
 
PERFORMING ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY 
Thirty-one years of protection, education, advocacy & sanctuary.
Press Release

 
 

San Andreas, Calif. (February 12, 2015) - The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) today announced the death of much-loved Asian elephant Wanda at the ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, California. She was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, following a long history of arthritis and foot disease, the leading reasons for euthanizing elephants in captivity. At age 57, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

 

"Every elephant at PAWS is special, but Wanda stood out for her adventurous spirit. She will be very much missed," said PAWS president Ed Stewart. "I'm proud we were able to give her a more natural and enriched life at the PAWS sanctuary for nearly 10 years."

 
Wanda was born in the wild in Asia around 1958, and captured at a young age to be put on display in the United States. During her lifetime, she was moved from one location to another at least seven times, including to Disneyland (according to the Asian Elephant North American Regional Studbook), a circus, zoos in Texas, and then the Detroit Zoo in Michigan.

 
The Detroit Zoo, which is recognized as a leader in animal welfare as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue, brought about the two greatest changes in Wanda's life. Until her transfer to Detroit, keepers trained her with the bullhook - a menacing weapon resembling a fireplace poker that is used to control elephants through fear and pain - and kept her on chains. The zoo instead utilized a more progressive and humane management system based on positive reinforcement training that greatly improved Wanda's quality of life and freed her from chains and bullhooks.

 
In 2004 the Detroit Zoo decided to end its elephant program for the good of the elephants, after determining it could not provide the conditions necessary to meet their needs, such as a warmer climate and far more space. The zoo opted to relocate Wanda and fellow Asian elephant Winky to PAWS' ARK 2000 sanctuary in April 2005. (Winky passed away in 2008.)

 
"Everyone at PAWS felt a special obligation to the people of Detroit who loved Wanda so much," stated Stewart. "We provided her with a life that was closer to what nature intended for elephants, which was the Detroit Zoo's goal in sending Wanda to PAWS. We did our very best for Wanda every minute of every day she was at the sanctuary. She was very special to us too."

 
Upon arriving at ARK 2000, Wanda wasted no time in getting to know her new elephant companions and joyfully exploring her new home that was unlike any captive facility she had ever experienced before. At PAWS she loved to forage for natural vegetation in the sanctuary's sprawling habitat, nap in soft grass on the hillside or under a tree, and take therapeutic swims in the lake. The moderate California climate allowed her to enjoy these activities year-round.

 
After another Asian elephant, Gypsy, later arrived at the sanctuary, it was discovered that the two had been in a circus together more than 20 years earlier. The elephants instantly remembered one another and could always be found close together. Even in death their friendship endured. After Wanda passed away, Gypsy approached her friend and stayed at her side for a period of time, gently touching her body and "speaking" to her in soft rumbles, before slowly walking away.

 
Throughout the years, PAWS developed a close personal relationship with the Detroit Zoo staff. Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan, keepers, curators and veterinarians regularly visited Wanda, with whom they had a deep, loving bond. PAWS staff often sent photos to Detroit of Wanda roaming the habitat, playing in the lake, or simply soaking up the sun.

 
Stewart concluded: "I want to thank the animal care staff from the Detroit Zoo and past and present staff of PAWS for changing Wanda's life so dramatically and giving her the opportunity to just be an elephant again."

As is customary for all elephants that pass away at PAWS, a necropsy is being performed on Wanda's remains by pathologists from U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and tissue samples sent to a laboratory.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
 
I will be at PAWS in several weeks and I am sure I will miss seeing her hanging out with her friend Gypsy!  Thank you, PAWS, for giving her 10 good years in your loving care!
In quiet reflection,
Meggi

Monday, January 26, 2015

Warming Arctic



Little Auks Adapt to Warming Arctic

Last month I gave you a little glimpse into my experience traveling to the Antarctic.
Today, I would like to take you to the opposite pole, to the Arctic, and share some recent findings by researchers who studied the Little Auk, a small black and white bird that is a so-called sentinel species, one that can be used as a proxy for the health of an entire ecosystem, much like the polar bear.  It is a fascinating story and video involving the migration of southern krill to the northern waters as the ocean waters warm and the glaciers melt.

So by studying this little bird, that looks kind of like a flying penguin, scientists are rethinking how polar ecosystems are changing in our warming world.


Little Auks [Copyright Hopkins]

In July of 2013, a team of scientists from France, Russia and the United States descended upon an uninhabited archipelago in the Russian Arctic called Franz-Josef Land, the northern most archipelago in the world. There they spent two months at Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island, one of the archipelago’s 191 islands, tagging and studying a small black and white seabird called the little auk (Alle Alle), which nests on cliffs and dives for its dinner in the frigid water.

Their findings call into question some models of climate change impacts on polar ecosystems, argues David Grémillet, the lead scientist of the group, in research published in Global Change Biology in mid-January.

Given its remote high-Arctic location, Franz-Josef Land has long been considered a kind of Arctic Eden, sheltered from the impacts of climate change. Nearly 85 percent of its land mass is blanketed by glaciers and its islands are surrounded by extensive sea ice. But temperatures in the Arctic are rising, and are predicted to increase by as much as 14 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Grémillet and his colleagues wanted to measure how the ecosystem of this icy Arcadia is responding.


Little Auks in Franz-Joseph Land [Copyright Cory Richards]

They chose the little auk as a subject because it is a so-called sentinel species, one that can be used as a proxy for the health of an entire ecosystem, much like the polar bear. The most abundant seabird in the Atlantic Arctic, with over 40 million individuals, the little auk is a major part of the food chain in polar ecosystems. Previous research has suggested that the little auk is quite flexible in the face of changes to its environment. But Grémillet and his colleagues suspected the bird might reach a breaking point due to its high energy costs and metabolic rate, as well as a diet primarily made up of copepods—tiny crustaceans that are themselves highly reactive to changes in sea ice and water temperature.



 


Using remote sensing data, the scientists measured changes in the volume and area of sea ice and glaciers between 1979 and 2013. They also tagged a number of little auks from one colony with tiny electronic devices affixed to legs or breast feathers to track their foraging behavior. These devices, called miniaturized temperature–depth recorders, provided information on the depth and duration of every dive, as well as the hours spent each day gathering food. The researchers then compared current and historical data on the diet, body weight and chick growth of little auks at Franz-Josef Land.
The data they collected revealed some bad news and some good news. The bad news: Sea ice in the Franz-Josef archipelago has, in fact, retreated markedly during the last decade, disappearing entirely during summer by 2005—a harbinger of future conditions elsewhere in the Arctic Ocean. Coastal glaciers have also retreated, dumping large volumes of meltwater into the sea. The good news: while disappearing sea ice curtailed the birds’ traditional feeding grounds, retreating glaciers created new ones. The little auks were able to adapt, feeding at the boundaries where glacier melt discharged into coastal waters at Tikhaya Bay, close to the their breeding areas. Local zooplankton were shocked by cold temperatures and dramatic contrasts in salt concentrations between the fresh meltwater and saline oceans, making them easy prey. The little auks were able to maintain chick growth weights, while adults lost just 4% of body mass.

Frozen Franz-Joseph Land, August 2011 [Copyright NASA Earth Observatory]
The little auks’ adaptability in Franz-Josef raises questions about previous research on the birds. In a 2010 paper, Nina Karnovsky of Pomona College predicted that 40% of all little auks would disappear from the Atlantic Arctic by the end of the 21st century, Grémillet and his colleagues note. They argue that this prediction must now be revisited. They also call for further study of little auks at other Arctic geographies, to see if they are as adaptable as the ones making a home at Franz-Josef Land.
The Franz-Josef little auk findings support the conclusions of other recent research on Adélie penguins in the Antarctic and seabirds and marine mammals in Alaska that suggest glacial melt can, in some cases, compensate for disappearing sea ice to support new feeding habits, benefitting certain animals within an ecosystem, according to the authors of the paper.
“There is currently a huge demand for predicting the fate of Arctic biodiversity exposed to ongoing climate change,” the authors write. “At the species level, this is achieved by building habitat models.” But if the models don’t take certain environmental interactions into account, inaccurate predictions will be made.
This article is republished by EarthSky.org [with permission from GlacierHub. This post was written by Kristen French.]
 
Til next time,
Meggi
 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Antarctica


Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, the Land of Ice - Penguins - Elephant seals - Albatross - and so much more

Magellanic Penguins

It was just about a year ago that I embarked on a long journey to Antarctica.  That was my second trip all the way to the tip of South America and then beyond.

It was a journey of many superlatives:  Seeing 500,000 King Penguins on a beach in South Georgia, experiencing the magnificence of the 9-foot wingspan of albatross when gliding over the water, hearing the King penguin chicks chirp to get food from the parents, maneuvering through a field of fur seals who can sometimes be aggressive, climbing up the uncharted hills to find the albatross nest and chicks, gliding soundlessly over the water when the zodiac's motor was shut off and just observing nature all around me.  There are many, many stories to tell but my memory all came back when I saw this National Geographic video by film maker Richard Sidey [all the way below], that I want to share together with some of my own images from this trip.

I visited the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.  I always said before the trip that the rough voyage through the Drake's Passage is the part of the price of entry - and although we only crossed through it on the return trip to Ushuaia, it was rough and I had never experienced breakers rolling all the way over the ship.  I stood on the captains bridge [behind glass] and felt at times I was under water.  Quite an experience.  I had taken enough antiemetic drugs to be able to be on my feet most of the time - I did not want to miss this!  During the 4+ weeks in the Southern Ocean, I was reminded how
beautiful unspoiled nature is.  Here the animals are not afraid of people, they are often actually curious.  Young elephant seals were approaching me when I sat still on the beach and King Penguins walked just by me, chatting all the way in their funny 'waddle' and 'talk'.  Words fall short of describing the incredible feeling of awe.  It was a journey of a lifetime!  And I feel thankful that I am healthy and fit to be able to journey into far away lands.  It gives me great pleasure to share just a glimpse of the incredible wildlife in the southern hemisphere.
Sit back and enjoy the images!

Cara Cara with chick, Falkland Island

Black-browed Albatross

Black-browed albatross - when these big birds take off, they run across the water until airborne

Juvenile Elephant Seas - a sleeping giant

Landing in Grytviken, South Georgia, in heavy snowfall.  
This is an old whaling station that is now a museum.

Magellanic Penguin

Antarctic Peninsula

Beautiful blue ice of a floating Iceberg

Squabbling Macaroni Penguins

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just above Antarctica, off the island of South Georgia, lies a breeding hot spot for elephant seals and king penguins known as Gold Harbour.  Filmmaker Richard Sidey captures incredible raw footage and the natural sound of this wild bounty for part of his series, Speechless.  With the absence of narrative, the viewer is left to create their own narrative and their own experience, without being told what to think.  "It gives everyone the possibility of seeing these places for what they are without the restrictions of cost and the environmental impact,” he says.


This video was first published by National Geographic on 12 Dec 2014.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Before I sign off for today, I want to thank all of my readers for their continued support, for your comments and notes - that make my day!  At times I wonder if my posts interest you, if anyone even reads them....  but finding a response from you in my inbox, makes all the efforts worthwhile.

Thank you!  You are a wonderful crowd.


As the year nears its end, I wish you a happy Holiday Season and health, fun, happy travel and all the best for the New Year 2015!  I hope to see you all sometime during the next year, maybe for a coffee, maybe for photographing together or just for a chat.

...til then,
Meggi


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PAWS-GoodBye to Annie

PAWS Says Goodbye to Beloved Asian Elephant Annie

Dear Friends,

It’s been a while that I shared stories from my travel and my wildlife conservation work with you.  In the fall, I spent almost 5 weeks in Europe visiting with family and celebrating my sister’s 70ties birthday.  It was nice to see the whole family together.  I further had a chance to travel to Turkey, Czech Republic and former East Germany, all places that were new to me.  Eventually, I will share my impressions and images with you. 

Once back, I had organized a Photo Walk at the PAWS Sanctuary [Performing Animals Welfare Society] in early November.  As most of you know I support the organization and offer these Photo Walks to raise awareness about issues surrounding animals in captivity.  Elephants suffer greatly in circuses and zoos.  PAWS has for the last 30 years given sanctuary not only for a variety of performing or captive animals including 39 tigers, but has created a wonderful habitat for 11 African and Asian elephants at the PAWS ARK 2000 in the Foothills of the Sierra.  Our group of 11 had a great day “Seeing the Elephants” and I will share some comments and a very insightful summary of the experience by one of my participants in my next blog.

Today though, I am saddened by the latest PAWS news [November 20, 2014] of the death of Annie, one of the Asian Elephants.  Please learn about her life in captivity in zoos prior to finding sanctuary at PAWS 1995.  Her last 20 years at PAWS were spend in an environment much closer to her natural needs with pastures to roam, a pond to swim and a warm barn with natural ground [not cement] to rest at night.  She was 55 when she succumbed to her severe arthritis and foot disease – a frequent affliction for captive elephants.  In the wild, these magnificent animals can live  to over 70 years, however, 55 years of age is old for a captive elephant.  Her last 20 years allowed her to gently age with dignity under the loving care at PAWS.

I remember Annie from my many visits at PAWS - here enjoying a “bath” from one of her keepers:



Rest in Peace, Annie, and be reunited with your natural family in elephant heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Below is the Newsletter released by PAWS on November 20, 2014:

PAWS Says Goodbye to Beloved Asian Elephant Annie

It is with very heavy hearts that we at PAWS share news of the passing of our dear friend, Asian elephant Annie - best known for her joyous romps in the lake that is part of our Asian elephant habitat at the ARK 2000 sanctuary. She had endured severe arthritis and foot disease, which gradually worsened over many years. After it became clear that the medications and treatments used to treat her chronic conditions were no longer providing relief, she was humanely euthanized on Tuesday, while lying on soft soil and surrounded by those who cared for and loved her. At age 55, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

"Everyone at PAWS will miss Annie. She was a very special elephant," said PAWS
president Ed Stewart. "I'm proud we were able to give her a peaceful and more natural life at the PAWS sanctuary for nearly 20 years. We restored her dignity and gave her the care and respect she deserved."

Annie was born in Assam, India, around 1960, and taken from her mother at a very early age for use in the zoo industry. She was immediately put on display in a zoo in Wisconsin, where she spent much of her life chained to a concrete floor.

In 1994, the nation was shocked by videos showing Annie and her companion Tammy being cruelly trained. While held by ropes and chains handlers "broke" the elephants, mercilessly beating them into submission. This was no undercover video; the zoo recorded the training session as instruction for other keepers. (This footage was included in the 2013 HBO documentary, "An Apology to Elephants," narrated by actress and comedienne - and friend of PAWS - Lily Tomlin.) Under public pressure, the zoo opted to relocate the elephants to PAWS. 

Annie arrived at PAWS in 1995, rescued from the Wisconsin zoo with Tammy, who passed away in 2003 at age 52 from chronic foot disease and arthritis - the leading causes of death for elephants in captivity. Despite their great intelligence and size, in captivity elephants are forced to live in small, barren enclosures that cause a multitude of physical and psychological harms. Their social, physical and psychological complexities may make them one of the most deprived of all captive wild animals.

Annie's life at the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary was far closer to what elephants naturally need. She had a sprawling habitat in which to roam, elephant companions, soft grass to lie down and nap on, and a lake in which she loved to bob, splash and swim. It was always a joy to see Annie enjoying her habitat - something we often shared with you on our Facebook page and on YouTube.

Over the years, Annie experienced a variety of health problems, including an injury caused by a bull elephant during forced mating. Her arthritis and foot problems had progressed, including a severe foot abscess. In 2012, Annie tested positive for tuberculosis, but never exhibited symptoms of the disease. Her general condition remained good, including normal appetite and weight, but Annie's arthritis and foot disease ultimately made movement unbearably painful for her. Tuberculosis has been diagnosed in many elephants used for circuses and to give rides, and in zoos such as the Oregon Zoo and St. Louis Zoo.

It is a sad fact that by the time most elephants come to PAWS they are suffering the debilitating effects of a life spent in inadequate captive conditions. Annie was no exception. Had she remained in her native home, she likely would have been leading a full and enriched life today, surrounded by a family of her own.

"Our job at PAWS is to restore dignity to captive elephants and, for elephants like Annie and Tammy, give them a life free from beatings and chains," explained Ed. "We did our best for them, and continue to make a significant difference in the lives of all the elephants and other wild animals under our care."

As is customary for all elephants that pass away at PAWS, a necropsy is being performed on Annie's remains by pathologists from U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and tissue samples sent to a laboratory. 

PAWS thanks everyone who has ever cared about and supported Annie and helped give her - and all of the wild animals at PAWS - a life of dignity, serenity, and love. On behalf of Annie and everyone at PAWS, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Annie goes swimming:


YouTube Video Published by PAWS on Jul 11, 2013


With quiet reflection and gratitude to PAWS,
Meggi