Alan Rabinowitz

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Alan Robert Rabinowitz
Alan Rabinowitz - PopTech 2010 - Camden, Maine (5103727234).jpg
Rabinowitz at the PopTech 2010.
Born December 31, 1953
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality United States
Alma mater Western Maryland College
University of Tennessee
Known for Wildlife conservation
Jaguar Corridor concept
Awards International Wildlife Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)[1]
Scientific career
Institutions Bronx Zoo

Alan Robert Rabinowitz (born December 31, 1953), an American zoologist, is the Chief Scientist of Panthera, a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to protecting the world's 40 wild cat species.[2] Called the "Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection" by Time, he has studied jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, tigers, Sumatran rhinos, bears, leopard cats, raccoons, and civets.[3]

Early life[edit]

Alan Rabinowitz was born to Frank and Shirley Rabinowitz in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Queens, New York soon after.[4] In grade school, he was placed in a special education class due to a severe stutter.[5] Unable to communicate with his peers and teachers, Rabinowitz became interested in wildlife, to which he could communicate.[6]

Today, Rabinowitz frequently tells this childhood story in interviews, lectures, books and other publications to explain how he became interested in wildlife conservation.[7][8] In 2008, the video of Rabinowitz telling this story on The Colbert Report went viral.[9] He serves as a spokesperson for the Stuttering Foundation (SFA).[10]

In 1974, Rabinowitz received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in Westminster, Maryland. He then received his M.S.(1978) and Ph.D. (1981) in ecology from the University of Tennessee.


Prior to co-founding Panthera with the organization's Chairman, Thomas Kaplan, in 2006, he served as the Executive Director of the Science and Exploration Division for the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he worked for nearly 30 years.

While working in Myanmar's Hukaung Valley in 1997, he discovered four new species of mammals, including the most primitive deer species in the world, Muntiacus putaoensis, or the leaf deer.[11] His work in Myanmar led to the creation of five new protected wildlife areas, including the country's first marine park, Lampi Island National Park; Myanmar's first and largest Himalayan national park, Hkakabo Razi National Park; the country's largest wildlife sanctuary, Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary; the world's largest tiger reserve and one of the largest protected areas in the world, Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, and Hponkhan Razi National Park, an area which connects Hukaung Valley and Hkakabo Razi for a contiguous protected area of more than 5,000 square miles, called the Northern Forest Complex.[12]

Rabinowitz also established the world's first jaguar sanctuary[6] — the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve— in Belize and the Tawu Mountain Nature Reserve, Taiwan's largest protected area and last piece of intact lowland forest.[13] In Thailand, he conducted the first field research on Indochinese tigers, Indochinese leopards, and Asian leopard cats, leading to the designation of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary as a UNESCO world biosphere reserve.[14]

One of his achievements was the conceptualization and implementation of the Jaguar Corridor,[15] a series of biological and genetic corridors for jaguars across their entire range from Mexico to Argentina. Rabinowitz also initiated Panthera's Tiger Corridor Initiative, an effort to identify and protect the world's last remaining large interconnected tiger landscapes, with a primary focus on the remote and rugged Indo-Himalayan region of Asia.[16]

His project to establish a chain of protected tiger habitat across the southern Himalaya was the focus of the BBC Natural History Unit's 2010 documentary series Lost Land of the Tiger. An expedition team spent a month investigating the status of big cats in Bhutan, leading to the rediscovery of tigers living at much higher altitudes than previously realized.[17]

Today, Rabinowitz serves as the CEO of Panthera, where he oversees the organization's range-wide conservation programs focused on tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards and additional projects devoted to the protection of cougars, cheetahs, and leopards.[18]


2004: Our Time Theatre Company Award[19]

2004: Lowell Thomas Award – New York Explorer’s Club[20]

2005: George Rabb Conservation Award – Chicago Zoological Society[21]

2005: Flying Elephant Foundation Award[22]

2006: Kaplan Big Cat Lifetime Achievement Award[23]

2008: International Wildlife Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award[1]

2010: Cincinnati Zoo Wildlife Conservation Award

2011: Jackson Hole Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation[24]


Year Title
1986/2000 Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle to Establish the First Jaguar Preserve.[25]
1991/2002 Chasing the Dragon’s Tail: The Struggle to Save Thailand’s Wild Cats.[26]
2001 Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia’s Forbidden Wilderness.[27]
2005 People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence?[28]
2008 Life in the Valley of Death: The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold, and Greed.[29]
2014 An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar.
2014 "A Boy and a Jaguar." [30]


  1. ^ a b "International Wildlife Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Awards". Archived from the original on 2012-01-10. 
  2. ^ Matthew Bannister (2010-11-16). "A life devoted to big cats". BBC World Service, 24-minute interview on "Outlook". Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  3. ^ Walsh, Bryan (2008-01-10). "The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection". Time. 
  4. ^ Rabinowitz, Alan (2000). Jaguar. Island Press. 
  5. ^ Rabinowitz, Alan (2011-02-22). "Human Factor: 'Animals saved me'". CNN. 
  6. ^ a b Dreifus, Claudia (2007-12-18). "Zoologist Gives a Voice to Big Cats in the Wilderness". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Stuttering and the Big Cats is an Inspirational Story". The Stuttering Foundation. 2011-04-18. Archived from the original on 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ Tippet, Krista (2010-07-22). "A Voice for the Animals". American Public Media. Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. 
  9. ^ "Alan Rabinowitz on The Colbert Report". The Colbert Report. 2008-06-10. 
  10. ^ "Alan Rabinowitz Ph.D., explorer, wildlife conservationist and author". The Stuttering Foundation. 
  11. ^ Rabinowitz, A.; Myint, Than (1999). "Description of the leaf deer, Muntiacus putaoensis, a new species of muntjac from northern Myanmar". Journal of Zoology. The Zoological Society of London. 249 (04): 427–435. doi:10.1017/s095283699900984x. 
  12. ^ Alan Rabinowitz's Fight of His Life. National Geographic. Retrieved 16 August 2013
  13. ^ Guynup, Sharon (2011), The Jaguar Freeway (October 2011), Smithsonian, pp. 48–57 
  14. ^ "Alan Rabinowitz, PhD". Panthera. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Jaguar Corridor Initiative". Panthera. 
  16. ^ "Tiger Corridor Initiative". Panthera. 
  17. ^ Walker, Matt (2010-09-20). "Lost tiger population discovered in Bhutan mountains". BBC Earth News. 
  18. ^ "Panthera's Programs". Panthera. 
  19. ^ "Our Time Theatre Company Honors Dr. Alan Rabinowitz". 
  20. ^ "The Lowell Thomas Award". 
  21. ^ "Honoring a Leader". Archived from the original on 2012-05-16. 
  22. ^ "Flying Elephant Fellows". Archived from the original on 2012-01-02. 
  23. ^ "Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for Excellence in Cat Conservation". 
  24. ^ "2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, Jackson Hole Film Festival". Archived from the original on 2011-12-03. 
  25. ^ Rabinowitz, A (1986–2000). Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle to Establish the First Jaguar Preserve. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-802-9. 
  26. ^ Rabinowitz, A (1991–2000). Chasing the Dragon’s Tail: The Struggle to Save Thailand’s Wild Cats. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-980-4. 
  27. ^ Rabinowitz, A (2001). Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia’s Forbidden Wilderness. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-55963-800-5. 
  28. ^ Woodroffe, R; Thirgood, S.; Rabinowitz, A (2005). People and Wildlife: Conflict or Coexistence?. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-53203-7. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  29. ^ Rabinowitz, A (2008). Life in the Valley of Death: The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold, and Greed. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. ISBN 978-1-59726-129-6. 
  30. ^ Rabinowitz, A (2014). A Boy and a Jaguar. New York, New York.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-547-87507-1. 

External links[edit]