Jaguar that was captured near the coast of Jalisco. Jaguar that was captured near the coast of Jalisco.

‘Indiana Jones’ begins Journey of the Jaguar

Alan Rabinowitz begins project to study, monitor the Path of the Jaguar

A conservation project aimed at ensuring the long-term survival of jaguars in the Americas was launched in Mexico this week.

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Jaguars are the largest feline species in the region, ranging over territory from the southwest of the United States through Mexico and Central America all the way to the north of Argentina and Paraguay.

While it is estimated that the current total population of the species is around 100,000, their survival is not guaranteed, with human encroachment and habitat destruction posing the greatest threats.

Just over 4,000 jaguars are estimated to call Mexico home with populations spread across different regions, principally the Yucatán Peninsula and Pacific regions from Sonora in the north to Chiapas in the south.

Officially a protected species in Mexico since 1987, jaguars remain endangered.

But Alan Rabinowitz, an American zoologist and the co-founder and chief executive officer of Panthera —the world’s only organization exclusively dedicated to the conservation of the wild cats — would like to change that.

Dedicated to the continued survival of all big cat species, he has been dubbed “The Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection” by Time magazine.

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This week, he and other scientists from Panthera began work on a long term project called, “Journey of the Jaguar,” which will study and monitor the progress of a system of interconnected wildlife corridors known as the Paseo del Jaguar (Path of the Jaguar).

The system, devised by Rabinowitz to enable jaguars to move more freely, now forms the backbone of all jaguar conservation efforts in the Americas.

Over a period of four years, the scientists plan to conduct a “deep dive into the 10 countries that comprise the corridor’s backbone . . . [and] seek to move governments, communities and businesses to take bold steps to save the jaguar and the incredible biodiversity depending on its survival.”

From the mountains between Jalisco and Nayarit, one of Mexico’s most important jaguar habitats, Rabinowitz issued an ominous warning.

“We can’t be overconfident. A century ago there was a similar number of tigers in Southeast Asia and in a few generations they’re on the verge of disappearing. We can’t let that be the story of the jaguar.”

Rabinowitz indicated that hunting, both of jaguars and their prey, is one threat but another comes from the isolation of jaguar populations from each other.

He explained that while the total number of the cats is currently healthy, isolated populations can cause extinction because a strong gene pool is needed for their continued survival. That can only come from interbreeding of jaguars in different areas. Therefore, the corridors play a vital role in ensuring a sustainable future for the species.

Rabinowitz argued that while NGOs, individuals and government in Mexico are all working for the conservation of jaguars, it is essential that they work in collaboration rather than in an isolated fashion. He also indicated concern about diminishing budgets for long-term conservation projects.

Rabinowitz is also confident that an ecotourism industry can be built around the guaranteed survival of the animals.

“Pre-Hispanic cultures, particularly the Olmecs, had a world view born of the jaguar. Their whole lives revolved around this species and that’s something precious that should be appreciated.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • Pat

    Rabinowitz is the same scientist that was featured on Nat Geo for his work in northern India tracking tigers. He works hard to find and track animals with all the newest technology and managed to increase the numbers of tigers in India.

  • K. Chris C.

    Another “protect this or that over humans” scam. The 1.73% last name reinforces that it’s a scam.

    The 1.73% have used this scam in the US tyranny to rob Americans of our property rights while also further plundering us–Now they’re bring the scam to Mexico. If it weren’t a scam, they’d be more concerned with protecting people from the ravages of war, also another of their scams, than some animal.

    “You can’t build that there. That’s where the beyond rare, and almost extinct, Pet Rock makes its home. Only one of two locations in the world known to harbor the Pet Rock.” We don’t care how much you paid for your property, the Pet Rock is a priceless member of nature.”

    An American citizen, not US subject.

  • Stylez

    Rabinowitz has killed a lot of animals with his tracking projects. These animals live on the edge of survival and when you capture them, drug them, take away days of food from them they die a lot of times.But I guess it gets Rabinowitz grants and publistity.

    • kallen

      What proof do you have for these accusations?

      • Stylez

        The proof is what he is doing. It is common knowledge among people who study and know wild pumas that capturing them kills them many times.

        These animals especially the pumas live a very survivalist life. They need so much protein every week or they die. And they live in environments were protein is hard to get. This is why they are rare.

        When you capture them = 24+hrs of stress and massive energy expenditure on trying to escape. Drug them +12hrs of no hunting time + more recovery time. Then they get set free= more recovery and evasion time.
        Rabinowitz has pulled them out of their fragile survivalist existence, depleted most of their energy and taken away days of hunting time and on top of it.

        These animals do not have refrigerators to go back to. They just went days without eating and need the energy they expended to get food or die.

        • raal

          If you’re going to make these types of accusations, it behooves you to cite specific examples to support your claims. Some animals have inevitably been lost during the decade that Panthera has been active, but these losses are FAR outweighed by success stories in 8 countries in the Americas and 40 countries worldwide. You say Rabinowitz has “killed a lot of animals”. Do you know the number? Can you cite the number animals Panthera has SAVED?

          If you’re familiar with Panthera or Dr. Rabinowitz, why not mention the DNA work Panthera has been doing, that involves the collection of feces (no collaring)? Why not cite the INCREASING numbers of cats in the areas in Panthera is active in, like the Pantanal in Brazil, Colombia, Belize, etc.? You must be doing some amazing work of your own for Pumas and Jaguars, to be able to critique Alan Rabinowitz like this. Why not compare examples of your own work to validate these accusations? Why not cite some peer reviewed studies of your own?

        • raal

          You must be doing some amazing work for Pumas and Jaguars yourself, to be able to critique someone’s work like this. Why not cite examples of your own work to give your statements some validity?

          You say your accusations are “common knowledge”. Are Panthera’s success stories, where big cat numbers have measurably increased in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Belize, etc. also “common knowledge”? Are success stories where not only cat numbers have increased, but ecotourism in countries where Panthera is involved has increased as well, injecting needed capital into the country’s economy “common knowledge” as well? Why not mention that? Why not mention the cutting edge DNA work Panthera does, where no collaring is involved at all… only the collection of feces? Hmmm… seems like there’s a lot of “common knowledge” you’re leaving out here.

        • raal

          You must be doing some amazing work for Pumas and Jaguars yourself, to be able to critique someone’s work like this. Why not cite examples of your own work to give your statements some validity?

          You say your accusations are “common knowledge”. Are Panthera’s success stories, where big cat numbers have measurably increased in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Belize, etc. also “common knowledge”? Are success stories where not only cat numbers have increased, but ecotourism in countries where Panthera is involved has increased as well (injecting needed capital into the country’s economy) “common knowledge” as well? How about the success stories where large cattle ranches have learned to co-exist with jaguars/pumas, ending the need to hunt the cats in order to protect their cattle? Why not mention that? Why not mention the cutting edge DNA work Panthera does, where no collaring is involved at all… only the collection of feces? Hmmm… seems like there’s a lot of “common knowledge” you’re failing to include here.

          BTW I’m just a layman who’s been researching big cat work being done around the world – not a scientist, but Rabinowitz and his colleagues at Panthera are scientists. They’ve achieved measurable results around the globe for years. They’ve financed other scientists and researchers around the globe as well. Why not cite some of these FACTS, in order to complete the picture you’re painting? Just sayin’.

          • Stylez

            The FACTS are as Rabinowitz continues to use trapping, tranquilizers and radio colors He is doing more damage then good. This behavior only hurt, damages and kills the cats.

            The only one that benefits is Rabinowitzby receiving grants for his “work”.

            These cats need habitat. Get them more habitat and you will get more cats. Get them more traps and tranquilizers and you will damage them.

            I see you also have a dog in the race. I hope you do not get any grant money and I hope you stop abusing and tormenting the pumas, cats, jaguars, etc.

          • raal

            Unless state your real name, this conversation is moot. As i mentioned before, my real name is Rafael Villafane, and the only dog i have in this race is Panthera itself, whom i’ve supported through the years. In other words, i’m a businessman who DONATES to Panthera. I’ve studied every NGO out there and Panthera is my choice whenever large felines are involved. I also donate to other causes. I’m no scientist. Just a businessman who invests wisely. You on the other hand, seem to have a kennel in this race. Unless you state your real name (which would explain your motives), i see no reason to continue this conversation. Your opening statement, as well as all subsequent statements are misleading and lack any factual support. I will not entertain internet trolls. Best of luck to you, whomever you are.

          • Stylez

            I don’t care that you are a “business man” that doesn’t make it OK to harass and kill rare animals.

            I am glad you are starting to embrace modern animal tracking technology such as game cameras and playing with feces. But please stop supporting the deadly game of trapping and drugging the animals.

        • kallen

          I checked out your accusations on-line and there is no evidence whatsoever to support your accusations yet there are plenty of accolades for Mr Rabinowitz. Neither do you cite facts third parties can corroborate so it sounds like you’re just a crank with an ax to grind. Sorry, but you need to do better.

    • raal

      Though Panthera works with pumas, it’s common knowledge that Rabinowitz has never collared one. His work in the Americas is primarily concerned with jaguars. Before making these accusations you should fact check. BTW my real name is Rafael Villafañe, what’s yours?

  • kallen

    I’m not optimistic. Especially if its the same Mexican government that is “saving” the vaquita. Other NGOs will probably have to be brought into the country to do the actual saving because the government is so pathetic at upholding rule of law.

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