New York, NY – The Board and staff of Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, mourn the loss of our co-founder and one of the world’s most visionary and widely admired wild cat scientists, Dr. Alan Robert Rabinowitz, who died yesterday after a journey with cancer.
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.”
“Our thoughts are with Alan’s wife Salisa and their children, Alexander and Alana, for whom Alan was a real-life superhero.”
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.”
“My wife Daphne and I express our supreme gratitude for the life-changing partnership and camaraderie that he brought to our lives, and pledge to keep the abiding faith that he never lost and always inspired.”
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.
Additional Statements on the Life of Dr. Rabinowitz:
Panthera Jaguar Program Executive Director, Dr. Howard Quigley:
“Alan lived such an impactful life, for everyone who met him, and for the wildlife he cared so passionately about. For all of us who were inspired by him, our mission now is to honor Alan’s legacy by securing the future for all wild cats.”
Panthera Science Council Vice Chair, Dr. George Schaller:
“I have collaborated with Alan on projects for nearly four decades, and his knowledge, vision, determination, and passionate voice on behalf of the big cats and other wildlife has inspired me and many others to be advocates for protecting nature's beauty.”
Panthera Chief Conservation Officer, Dr. Luke Hunter:
“Alan inspired me as a kid growing up in Australia, a continent entirely without wild cats, to never give up. He taught me that a life committed to conservation was possible, no matter the obstacles. Because of the chance he took on me, I have experienced a life full of rare and extraordinary moments working to conserve the world’s cats. And I am only one of many to whom he gave such an opportunity. Alan’s enduring legacy will be a legion of dedicated conservationists around the globe, inspired by his writing and his work to continue the fight. The world’s big cats are in a better place today because of it."
Panthera Conservation Council Co-Chair, Jane Alexander:
“Alan Rabinowitz came into my life in the early '80s when he, a young scientist studying jaguars in Belize, and I, an actress with a screenplay about jaguars, took me out at night to track their whereabouts in the jungle. We became life-long friends. He inspired me to become the conservationist I am today, as he has inspired thousands of people the world over with his courage, commitment and perseverance. There was no finer man, the toughest, yet deeply kind."
Additional quotes on the life of Dr. Rabinowitz, photos and more available here.