Media Relations for a Cause Initiative, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Transports Three Elephants Across the Country

Media Relations for a Cause Initiative, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Transports Three Elephants Across the Country

Client: Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)


  • Position PAWS as the international leader in exotic, performing animal welfare.
  • Increase awareness of PAWS and its mission.
  • Showcase the PAWS sanctuary as the best place for elephants to retire.
  • Encourage the Toronto Zoo and its supporters to understand the plight of the elephants and consider the merit of the California sanctuary to improve the elephants’ health.

Strategies and Tactics:

  • Use a strategic media relations program to pitch top tier media on the details involved in transferring the elephants nearly 3,000 miles, including former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker’s promise to fund the move and the elephants’ training for the journey.
  • Created an infographic to accompany the story and help volumize the content in digital channels.
  • Secured interest with Sue Manning, a reporter at Associated Press, for a feature on the logistics behind the elephants’ move to PAWS.
  • Coordinated interviews with Sue and Pat Derby, co-founder of PAWS, and Joyce Poole, co-founder of ElephantVoices, to discuss the move, highlighting the interesting aspects of the elephants’ training and sharing PAWS’ past success stories.
  • Worked with the PAWS’ internal team and a group of local supporters to secure emotionally powerful photos of the elephants in the Toronto Zoo, stressing their small habitats and showcasing their training for the international move.


As a result of SA’s media relations program, Sue Manning and the Associated Press issued a story, “Three Canadian Elephants are Flying to California,” on July 17th, 2012.  The story took a lighthearted look at what goes into flying three 10,000-pound elephants and succeeded in positioning PAWS as a the sanctuary for retired elephants.

The Associated Press story reached more than 230 million online readers, successfully sharing Toka, Thika and Iringa’s compelling retirement story and educating readers on PAWS, a world-renowned exotic animal sanctuary.


  • The story ran on prominent news sites including, but not limited to:
    • ABC News 12,408,367 online readers
    • Businessweek 3,378,097 online readers
    • CBS News 1,037,764 online readers
    • CNBC 3,223,520 online readers
    • Fox News 13,049,113 online readers
    • Huffington Post 31,862,844 online readers
    • MSN Money 10,099,405 online readers
    • MSNBC 11,959,856 online readers
    • NPR 2,868,661 online readers
    • Washington Post 8,521,788 online readers
  • The story also ran on Captivate Network, an elevator news and weather network that reaches more than 3.7 million professionals throughout the United States.

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