‘The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Conservation’ to speak at McDaniel Commencement
Wildlife conservation crusader and the CEO of Panthera, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, class of 1974, will speak at McDaniel’s Commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. May 24 in Gill Center.
Rabinowitz has dedicated his life to surveying the world’s last wild places, with the goal of preserving wild habitats and securing homes, on a large scale, for some of the world’s most endangered mammals. His focus on cats is based on conserving top predators, which affect entire ecosystems. By saving cats, the impacts are far reaching and conserve vast landscapes upon which many species depend, including humans.
One of Rabinowitz's greatest achievements was the conceptualization and implementation of the Jaguar Corridor – 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.
He grew up with uncontrollable stuttering and serves as a spokesperson for the Stuttering Foundation of America. He tells audiences that he feels lucky to have been given the gift of stuttering and believes that without it, he would not be on the path of his passion – saving big cats.
Rabinowitz has authored over 100 scientific and popular articles and six books, including “Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle to Establish the First Jaguar Preserve” (1986/ 2000), “Chasing the Dragon’s Tail: The Struggle to Save Thailand’s Wild Cats” (1991/ 2002), “Beyond the Last Village: A Journey of Discovery in Asia’s Forbidden Wilderness” (2001), and, most recently, “Life in the Valley of Death: The Fight to Save Tigers in a Land of Guns, Gold, and Greed” (2008).
He has been profiled in The New York Times, Scientific American, Audubon, Men’s Journal, Newsweek, Outside, Explorer, The Jerusalem Report, The Weather Channel, and National Geographic Adventure Magazine, and is the subject of an acclaimed PBS/National Geographic television special, “In Search of the Jaguar” and was featured in the BBC special “Lost Land of the Tiger” filmed in Bhutan in 2010. He has recently written a new children’s book, “A Boy and A Jaguar” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), which will be released May 6.
Rabinowitz, a summa cum laude graduate in Biology and Chemistry from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel), went on to earn a M.A. and Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Tennessee in 1978 and 1981.