Dr. Rabinowitz, McDaniel ’74 was known as the “Indiana Jones of wildlife protection” by TIME, and he gave a voice to the world’s wild cats, according to a tribute by Panthera Corporation, a charitable organization devoted to preserving big cats and their ecosystems around the globe. Among his life career, he studied jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, tigers, Sumatran rhinos, bears, leopard cats, raccoons, and civets.
Excerpted from an August 2018 press release by Panthera after Brother Alan Rabinowitz entered the Fraternity’s Chapter Grand.
The board and staff of Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, mourn the loss of its co-founder and one of the world’s most visionary and widely admired wild cat scientists, Dr. Alan Robert Rabinowitz, who died August 2018 after a journey with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Panthera CEO and President, Dr. Fred Launay, stated, “The conservation community has lost a legend. Alan was a fearless and outspoken champion for the conservation of our planet’s iconic wild cats and wild places. As a lifelong voice for the voiceless, he changed the fate of tigers, jaguars and other at-risk species by placing their protection on the agendas of world leaders from Asia to Latin America for the very first time.”
Launay continued, “Inspiring a generation of young scientists, the boldness and passion with which Alan approached conservation was captivating and contagious. While we are devastated by his passing, we are comforted by the fact that his extraordinary legacy of advocacy for the most vulnerable creatures will live on in his legion of students and followers.”
Panthera Chairman and Co-Founder, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, stated, “For those who became part of his astonishing and inspiring journey to save the big cats and their ecosystems, the impact of experiencing the intellectual and animal spirits that defined Alan Rabinowitz was, not unlike the moment one sees a big cat in the wild, simply unforgettable.”
“Through the young people whose talents he galvanized and mentored, standing upon Alan’s broad shoulders and implementing his vision, the trajectory of cat conservation that Panthera has succeeded in changing for the good will endure and indeed thrive.”
In a career spanning more than three decades, Dr. Rabinowitz was, above all, a protector and global advocate for wild cats and other threatened wildlife, the diminishing lands in which they roam, and the often-impoverished people living near these cats and other wildlife.
Among a lengthy seminal list, some of his crowning conservation achievements are the conceptualization and implementation of Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative, an unprecedented effort to connect and protect jaguars from Mexico to Argentina, and the establishment of the world’s first jaguar sanctuary in Belize. Forever in awe of the magnificence of the tiger – the world’s largest cat – Dr. Rabinowitz achieved victory after victory for the species, including the creation of the largest tiger reserve, the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, in northern Myanmar.
Prior to co-founding the Panthera Corporation, Rabinowitz served as the executive director of the Science and Exploration Division for the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he worked for nearly 30 years. He authored seven books about big cats over his lifetime.