The board and staff of Panthera mourn the passing of our co-founder, Alan Rabinowitz, PhD, a lifelong advocate for wild animals, especially big cats. Alan's crusade for the voiceless began at the Bronx Zoo, where as a lonely boy with a debilitating stutter, he whispered to a caged jaguar a bold promise - one that defined his career and his approach to life. Battling bullies and detractors throughout his youth, Alan ultimately conquered his stutter and used his voice to fulfill his promise to the captive jaguar, elevating the plight of vulnerable species to international prominence. During his career, often amidst controversy, Alan convinced world leaders to make wildlife protection a priority. His fearless advocacy produced eight protected areas in Latin America and Southeast Asia, and official conservation commitments from dozens of countries, most recently from Costa Rica and Honduras. Fittingly, Alan returned to the Bronx Zoo as the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Global Carnivore Program and Science and Exploration Program before founding Panthera in 2006 with his close friend Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan. As the world's only organization devoted to conservation of the world's wild cats, Panthera was a fitting coda to Alan's field work. He served as CEO from 2008 to 2017, when he stepped into the role of Chief Scientist. Alan was a prolific writer and passionate storyteller, producing over 100 scientific papers and eight books aimed at popular audiences, and appearing in numerous films and documentaries. He was a Director of The Stuttering Foundation, whose cause he championed proudly alongside his conservation work. An explorer and advocate to the end, Alan embarked in 2017 on the Journey of the Jaguar, a trek across the jaguar's range from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. He aimed to expedite international cooperation to preserve the Jaguar Corridor, his signature conservation initiative. Alan's ambitious vision to conserve jaguars while they are still relatively abundant is now the focus of a developing diplomatic agreement among 14 countries throughout the jaguar's range. Alan's loss will be felt most keenly by his beloved wife, Salisa, and their children, Alexander and Alana. We share their sadness, along with the hundreds of wildlife conservation scientists Alan mentored and inspired and the millions of people who found comfort and encouragement from his stories of overcoming adversity. From Belize's Cockscomb Basin to Thailand's Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Alan made the planet wilder. He will be missed the world over, but his spirit lives in each jaguar's pounce and each tiger's roar.

Published by New York Times on Aug. 7, 2018.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

11 Entries
The world is a better place for having had Alan Rabinowitz in it. His book, Jaguar, still has a place in my library, having read it twice. He spoke for those who could not.
Elena Prisekin
September 3, 2018
We were long friends of the Rabinowitz family. Taught for many years with his dad. We were terribly saddened to hear that Alan passed away. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family.
Barry and Judy Pearlstein
September 2, 2018
This morning while listening to NPR (and half asleep), the host announced that they're rebroadcasting an interview with Alan Rabinowitz from 2010. That woke me right up! I listened to the entire one-hour interview and, at the end, the host mentioned Alan's passing on August 5th, which upset me to the point of waking up my wife. Alan and I were childhood friends. We were in the same 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes. Alan was one of a few of my friends that I invited to my Bar Mitzvah. I used to go to Alan's house and he came to mine. I knew his parents and they were great people. Alan always had interesting things to show me, such as his lab experiments. His mom would make us lunch; my mom made us lunch when he was at my house. He was just a genuine, down to earth, level headed person with no prejudices or preconceived notions about people. I was sad when his family moved from Bayswater to the Five Towns. It was at that point we drifted apart. He went to a different high school and we just didn't see each other. My family had a store in Lawrence and one day Alan walked in because he knew I would be there. I was so glad to see him. After that he would come to the store whenever he was in New York and we would catch up. I thought about Alan a lot. For years I did not know of his whereabouts. One Sunday while watching 60 Minutes...there was Alan with correspondent Bob Simon! He was doing a profile of Alan and his work. Prior to that I was not aware of the work he was doing. I was so proud of him because I knew this was his passion and he followed his dreams. Aside from being friends I greatly admired what he was doing for the animal community and the environment. His loss touched me profoundly. As recently as several weeks ago I was trying to find a way to get in touch with him and just drop him a note. I believe he would have been happy to hear from me. I just want to say...Alan, you left us too soon. Rest in Peace friend.
Henry Brandes
August 19, 2018
When Alan came to Belmopan, Belize to meet with government officials, he would stop by my office. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer for the Dept. of Archaeology 1983-1985. I learned to stop whatever I was doing because he always had a story of his latest adventures. Or misadventures, such as "I almost died in a plane crash!" I later read many of those stories in his book Jaguar, which I loaned to many people. When he returned for a visit in 1990, I asked him to autograph it, and he wrote "This is the first time I've had to write in one of my books that is in such pitiful condition. But I'm flattered, since it shows such extraordinary use." I tried to contact him about the murder of our mutual friend Richard Foster on August 7, and that's when I learned that Alan had died 2 days before. Two kindred spirits who did so much for the wild animals of the world, and had so much more to give.
Logan McNatt
August 13, 2018
Animals were GOD's gift to man. God will honor this man for his endless commitment to that gift. May he Rest in Peace and May his family and friends find solace in his memory.
Jeanette Kanetzky
August 9, 2018
I had the privilege of being Alan's major professor for his PhD program at the University of Tennessee. Alan was an exceptional grad student- focused, hardworking, respected by his peers, and professionally motivated. His success in his career was not a surprise to me. We will miss his presence in the wildlife world; he made a huge mark that will not be forgotten.
Michael Pelton
August 7, 2018
I have had the great fortune of knowing Alan since our days as fraternity brothers at Western Maryland College. There are very few people that have truly changed the world around us -- for the better -- and Alan is at the top of that short list. It was an honor to call him a friend as do hundreds of people and hundreds of thousands of big cats around the world. My most sincere condolences to Salisa and his two children of whom he was so proud.
David Stout
August 7, 2018
I loved reading and then listening to his stories. He was so modest and unassuming that I had to coax more details out of him over a beer. He certainly loved his work and what impressed me was he was always so calm and had time for everyone. He treated my english-as-a-second-language speaking mother with the same calmness and respect he'd treat the biggest donors to his noble causes. He leaves behind a sweet, lovely family. I'll miss him greatly.
Walter Milani
August 7, 2018
Alan was a patient and generous teacher for anyone who shared his love of wildlife. He was a big personality in every way, and the wild world is better for his having been here. My deep condolences to the Rabinowitz family.
Cherie Wasoff
August 7, 2018
It's a big loss for the wildlife conservation. He left a wonderful legacy and many accomplishments. To Tae, Alex and Alana, that the great memories fill your heart with love, and comfort you on this difficult time.
Isabela Dias-Freedman
August 7, 2018
Aside from his conquering his stuttering issues, and his amazing accomplishments, the most important part of my realtionship with Alan was the honor of calling him a friend.
Henry Lowenstein
August 7, 2018
Showing 1 - 11 of 11 results