|Founder(s)||Thomas S. Kaplan|
|Key people||Alan Rabinowitz, George Schaller, Luke Hunter, Howard Quigley, Tom McCarthy|
|Focus(es)||Develops, implements, and oversees range-wide species conservation strategies|
|Mission||Conservation of the world's 37 species of wild cats|
Panthera Corporation, or Panthera is a Charitable organization devoted to preserving big cats and their ecosystems around the globe. Founded in 2006, Panthera focuses its efforts on conservation of the world's largest, most imperiled cats—tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards—while also developing conservation programs for cheetahs, leopards and mountain lions.
Programs and Projects
Panthera works in partnership with local and international NGOs, scientific institutions, and government agencies to develop and implement range-wide species conservation strategies. Panthera has funded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, with a diploma program in international wildlife practice. Panthera also awards a number of grants to support promising field conservationists. These grant programs include the Kaplan Graduate Awards, the Research and Conservation Grants, the Small Cat Action Fund, and the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Jaguar Small Grants.
Founders and Leadership
Panthera was founded by American entrepreneur Thomas S. Kaplan. Kaplan was first inspired by big cats while reading Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett at the age of seven. Kaplan serves as Panthera's executive chairman.
Michael Cline serves as a director and chairman of Tigers Forever program. Luke Hunter, formerly director of the Great Cats Program at WCS, acts as Panthera's President. George Schaller serves as both Panthera's vice president and chairman of its Cat Advisory Council.
Howard Quigley joined Panthera in 2009 and is currently the Director of Panthera's Jaguar Program. Since the 1970s, Quigley and George Schaller, Panthera's Vice President, have worked with local communities and political leaders in the Brazilian Pantanal for the jaguar conservation. Dr. Quigley also heads the Teton Cougar Project in the Yellowstone ecosystem.
Tom McCarthy is Director of the Snow Leopard Programs. Dr. McCarthy served as Executive Director of the Snow Leopard Network from 2002 to 2009, and then joined Panthera in July 2008. He is currently working with the GPS-collaring program in Pakistan, and is also directing two other brand new Panthera initiatives, both concerning the snow leopard. One of these works to maintain the species' natural breeding corridors in order to keep the full genetic pool available, and the other project uses in non-invasive observation techniques to keep track of the population of the snow leopards.
South and Central America Projects
In South America, Panthera is working on developing a transnational corridor to help protect the jaguar. In recent years conservationists discovered that jaguar survival and health depend on a network of corridors that span the continent, while past efforts focused on developing distinct sanctuaries. The jaguar's ability to travel long distances prevents inbreeding and the resulting possibility of extinction. In early 2010, Panthera signed a deal with the Colombian government to protect and develop the corridors there—essential because the Central and South American jaguar corridors converge in Colombia.
In August, 2010, in Belize, Panthera worked with the government to create the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary, which set aside more than 7,000 acres (28 km2) of land as a sanctuary and corridor for jaguars. The project is part of the Panthera Jaguar Corridor Initiative.
In Costa Rica, Panthera is researching the routes that jaguars travel, and encouraging politicians and developers to respect those routes. They are also sponsoring community outreach programs to alleviate "jaguar conflict issues."
Panthera has also bought large cattle ranches in Brazil, as part of their Pantanal Jaguar Project, to protect jaguars and their habitat. They are working with local ranchers to find benign ways to protect their cattle, rather than the typical approach of shooting the jaguars. New approaches are sometimes simple, such as the discovery that a single light bulb in a cattle corral will discourage jaguars. In addition, they are helping ranchers develop general improvements that will increase the rancher's profits without having to harm the jaguar. Panthera is working with the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to provide education and healthcare to those living in the jaguar corridors.
In Asia, Panthera's Tigers Forever project is planning a 5,000-mile (8,000 km) long corridor from Bhutan to Burma for wild tiger populations. The corridor would also include land in northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia, and possibly Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
In August, 2010, the government of Burma announced the expansion, by 4,248 square miles (11,000 km2), of the Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve, which is the world's largest tiger preserve. Panthera CEO Alan Rabinowitz helped bring together representatives from the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma government to make the expansion possible.
In Johor State, Malaysia, Panthera is working with the state government and the Wildlife Conservation Society to increase tiger numbers by 50% over a ten-year period. As part of that project, in early 2010, Panthera cameras captured an image of a rare Spotted Leopard in Taman Negara Endau-Rompin National Park, where only Black Leopards were believed to exist.
Panthera's Snow Leopard Program is studying the species in Mongolia, and surveying new regions where the animals are likely to live, but haven't yet been discovered. They work with local animal herders to train them in new approaches that will reduce livestock lost to the leopards. They are also working at protection for the estimated 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards living in Central Asia. Programs include giving a bonus to Mongolian herding communities that have gone one year without killing a snow leopard, and livestock vaccinations in Pakistan, where loss to disease is greater than leopard depredation.
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