Panthera Corporation

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Panthera logo
FoundersThomas S. Kaplan
Alan Rabinowitz
TypeNon-profit organization
FocusDevelops, implements, and oversees range-wide species conservation strategies
Area served
Key people
George Schaller, Luke Hunter, Howard Quigley, Tom McCarthy

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, and also developing conservation programs for cheetahs, leopards and cougars.[1][2] The organization has offices in New York City and London.

Programs and projects[edit]

Panthera works in partnership with local and international NGOs, scientific institutions, and government agencies to develop and implement range-wide species conservation strategies. It has funded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, with a diploma program in international wildlife practice.[2] The organization 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.[1]

Founders and leadership[edit]

Panthera was founded by American entrepreneur Thomas S. Kaplan; who currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Alan Rabinowitz was the first President and CEO from 2001 until 2017 when he was succeeded by Fred Launay.[3] He started the world's first jaguar preserve in 1986, in Belize.[4] and was the main driving force behind the Jaguar Corridor that connects Mexico and Argentina.[2]

Michael Cline serves as a director and chairman of Tigers Forever program.[5] Luke Hunter, formerly director of the Great Cats Program at WCS, acts as president. George Schaller is both Panthera's vice president and chairman of its Cat Advisory Council.[1] Howard Quigley joined the organization in 2009 and is currently the director of its Jaguar Program, and head of Teton Cougar Project in the Yellowstone ecosystem.[6] Tom McCarthy is director of the Snow Leopard Programs.[7]

South and Central America projects[edit]

In South America, Panthera is developing a transnational corridor to help protect the jaguar. Jaguar survival and health depends on a network of corridors that span the continent, while past efforts focused on developing distinct sanctuaries.[8] It is the jaguar's ability to travel long distances that prevents inbreeding and consequent 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, it worked with the government to create the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary, with more than 7,000 acres (28 km2) of land . The project is part of the Panthera Jaguar Corridor Initiative.[9]

In Costa Rica, it 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."[8]

Panthera has 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.[4] The organization 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.[10]

Asia projects[edit]

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.[11]

In August, 2010, the government of Burma announced the expansion, by 4,248 square miles (11,000 km2), of the Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve, 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.[12]

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 National Park and Endau-Rompin National Park, where only black leopards were believed to exist.[13]

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 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.[14][15]

Panthera provided support to the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), a conservationist organization studying the asiatic cheetah in Iran. Kaplan, the founder of Panthera, is a major supporter of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). At a September 2017 UANI conference Kaplan gave remarks critical of the Iranian government, which alarmed the PWHF leadership. In January 2018, the Iranian government arrested 10 PWHF conservationists and charged them with treason.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Panthera: Partners in Wild Cat Conservation". Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Davidson, Max (2009-08-11). "Tom Kaplan: 'I have big plans for big cats'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  3. ^ Retrieved 17 September 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b Di Paola, Mike (2009-06-29). "Slaughtered Jaguars Link New York Doctors, Brazilian Ranchers". Bloomberg. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  5. ^ Grayce West, Melanie (2011-06-26). "Documenting Wild Cats". NY Culture. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  6. ^ Quigley, Howard. "Howard Quigley PhD". Panthera Leaders in Wild Cats Conservation.
  7. ^ McCarthy, Tom. "Tom McCarthy". Panthera Leaders in Wild Cats conservation.
  8. ^ a b Rosenthal, Elisabeth (2010-05-11). "To Help Jaguars Survive, Ease Their Commute". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  9. ^ Braun, David (August 10, 2010). "Belize sets aside land for jaguar corridor". National Geographic. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  10. ^ Croner, Tess (2010-01-28). "Conservation Without Borders". The Solutions Journal. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Conservationists Plan Genetic Tiger Corridor Across Asia". Environment News Service. 2008-02-13. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  12. ^ "Tigers bring political foes together". Mizzima. Burma. August 6, 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  13. ^ "CRare Spotted Leopard Photographed for First Time in Malaysian National Park". Treehugger/Discovery Channel. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  14. ^ Weise, Elizabeth (2010-03-05). "Hope despite death of a snow leopard in Afghanistan". USA Today. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
  15. ^ "Snow Leopard Program". Panthera. Archived from the original on July 18, 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  16. ^ Hussain, Murtaza (27 November 2019). "Did an American Billionaire Philanthropist Play a Role in the Imprisonment of Iranian Environmentalists?". The Intercept. The Intercept.
  17. ^ Long, Kayleigh E. (24 November 2019). "Cheetah researchers accused of spying sentenced in Iran". National Geographic.

External links[edit]