3 Ways to Save an Elephant.

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A few weekends ago, my dad got our family tickets to go see the PAWS wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, CA.  I have been so excited to go check it out because I think it’s amazing what they are doing for large/exotic animals.  Above you will see Ed Stewart who is one of the co-founders carrying the legacy of the sanctuary on for Pat Derby, his long time partner who unfortunately passed away a few years ago.  They started this sanctuary to help animals who have been held captive for entertainment and if you check out their site, you can find out all about it.  Some of the videos of the animals being released into their large areas of land at PAWS brought tears to my eyes because the animals were so used to being stuck in small cages for most of their lives.

I was so moved by our visit to PAWS, that I wanted to share ways that you can all help too if you want to do something for these beautiful animals but don’t know how to start.

1) You can make a donation via their site hosted by PayPal.

2) You can adopt one of these animals here and no that doesn’t mean you will be taking them home with you 🙂

3) You can plan a visit on one of their few open houses a year like we did (see below).  The money for the ticket goes towards the upkeep of the animals.

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To set expectations, this is not a zoo.  It’s a place where the creators wanted the animals to live out the rest of their lives in a humane way.  We were fortunate enough to see a lot of the animals but they won’t coax them out just for visitors.

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They have very nice, air conditioned charter buses to get you around in-between the different stops.  There are many acres of land for these animals so it’s not possible to walk.

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Driving through the property was amazing, so many elephants roaming free.

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This cutie was putting on a show!

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This Asian bull elephant came right up to the gates as well.

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The bull elephants have to have much stronger fence lines as they can be a bit more aggressive if they need to be.  Keep in mind, they also came from circus’s and other places where they were mistreated.

IMG_3409Turkeys roaming the open roads between sanctuaries.

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There were three female elephants we saw that were sharing a large enclosure.  They don’t need as strong of fencing.

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This is Prince rolling in the dirt.  He’s an African bull elephant that hates people because of his life in the circus.  I don’t blame him.  It was so fun to watch him roam around.

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I believe this pretty girl was Maggie.  They were so sweet with Ed.  He really knows these animals.  One of the most interesting facts he told us was how they receive these elephants when they are traveling to the Arc 2000 (aka PAWS sanctuary).  The air force helps transport these animals on C17’s in crates, takes a few cranes as well, and Ed explained how nervous he gets when flying with the animals.  If anything is to go wrong during flight, the airplane would have to drop the crate to save the flight from a crash.  The nerves you must experience while traveling with the elephants must be through the roof.  Eventually, they land and with the help of some more cranes and semi-trucks, they are able to successfully transport the animals to Arc 2000.

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One of the elephants had a very cute stance for such a large animal.

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I was so mesmerized by these beautiful elephants and how relaxed they seemed.  It was really touching to know they will now live their life where they won’t be kept inhumanely.

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Although they deserve to live full lives in the wild, it’d be impossible to try to put them back in the wild now.  They don’t have the necessary survival skills.  Seeing Arc 2000 though made me happy to know that someone cares enough for these animals to devote their lives to trying to give them a better life.  If you feel the same way and want to help, check out the links about 🙂

Make a Difference, Today.

Our good friend Antonio was in a terrible biking accident a few years ago and one of the things that he attributes to saving his life is the San Francisco General Hospital. He’s started his own fun run taking place in San Francisco this September to give back to the hospital who gave him so much- his life!

3030 runAntonio (right) and Dr. Campbell (left), who saved his life

Follow us on twitter @3030run and Like us on Facebook!

What made you want to create the 30/30 run?

Well, I created this event because in 2010 San Francisco General Hospital saved my life. I was riding my bicycle on my way to work, and got into a terrible wreck. I hit a rock in the road, lost complete control of the bicycle and flew through the back window of a parked car. I cut my neck open (24 cm), slicing my jugular vein and lost 5 liters of blood on the scene. I was rushed to the San Francisco General Hospital where, on the second day on the operating table, I had a stroke and nearly died.

This year, I’m turning 30 and I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for the amazing work they did for me at SFGH that day. So rather than doing something garish for my 30th birthday (i.e. spend way too much money in Vegas), I wanted to do something to show my gratitude to the hospital and give something back. So I’m organizing a 30k fun-run, while trying to raise $30k for SFGH’s Foundation. I’m calling it “The 30/30 Run”. 30 years, 30k run, raising $30k…The 30/30 run. The race itself is on Sunday September 28, 2014 @ Ft. Funston.

I’ve created a website for the event where users can register for the run and/or donate directly to the foundation. All donations are processed through the hospital’s GoFundMe page, so they are getting 100% of the donations. My goal is to get 1,000 people to donate $30 each to support this vital city institution and to keep SFGH thriving for all San Franciscans who may need Emergency Medical Services and the other incredible, life-saving, services they provide.

If people aren’t able to run themselves, how can they donate?

It’s super easy! MANY people are saying “Antonio, there’s no way that I’m going to run 30k with you (18 miles)…BUT I’d be happy to donate $30 to your cause” and all you have to do is go to 3030run.org and follow the directions for donations. Now, there’s also options for running half that distance (15k ~ 9 miles) or if you want to volunteer to help the event (being at water stops for runners, handing out finisher medals, cheering runners on, etc).

What’s one thing people should know about the San Francisco General Hospital?

San Francisco General Hospital is the only trauma hospital in the city and one of the best in the country. Meaning if you have a traumatic injury, there is literally no other place in the city, and in the bay area, that you would want to be!

What’s one thing people should know about you?

Rather than doing something for myself for my birthday, I completely recognize that I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for SFGH. The 30/30 Run isn’t being funded by any corporate sponsors, or any angel donors, all of the costs are coming out of my pocket. More importantly, all of the donations, literally, ALL OF THE DONATIONS, go directly to the hospital’s foundation. I’m not getting reimbursed for my own costs. My site (3030run.org) is merely a conduit between two parties: donors and the foundation. All of the donations are processed through the hospital’s GoFundMe page and is a tax-deductible donation. Just go to 3030run.org for all of the details.

Leave us with one last thought, something to take away from your fundraising efforts.

I realize that my goal of raising $30,000 for the SFGH Foundation is ambitious. Just as it took a team of incredible, selfless, amazing people to save my life, it’s going to take a team of the same kind of people to help me raise this money. I’m not going to corporations and asking for a big check, I’m not asking businesses to underwrite any of the costs of the event…I’m not asking a few people for a lot of money…quite the opposite.What I am doing is asking a lot of people for a little bit of money. That $30 donation, is far more valuable to the hospital and the foundation because, maybe, the person that donates $30 this year may continue to give throughout the course of their life to the hospital…meaning their $30 donation turns into so much more over the course of their lifetime. Also, the reason why I’m going grass roots and crowd sourcing is because I want to drive as much awareness for the amazing work that the hospital and foundation does every single day for the city and county of San Francisco. The people that work at SFGH and the SFGH Foundation are talented, selfless, talented, giving, brilliant, caring, loving, and genuine: all things that I find incredibly admirable and want to show to my gratitude in some small way.
Check out this inspiring video about the San Francisco General Hospital
We are donating to this amazing cause and hope you are able to too!