Tag Archives: alan rabinowitz

A Q&A with Jaguar Advocate and Jag Critical Habitat Opponent Alan Rabinowitz

20 Mar

by Tony Davis / Arizona Star

Automatic wildlife cameras snapped this photo of a male jaguar on a nightly walk in the Santa Rita Mountains on Oct 25, 2012 near Tucson, Arizona

Automatic wildlife cameras snapped this photo of a male jaguar on a nightly walk in the Santa Rita Mountains on Oct 25, 2012 near Tucson, Arizona

“You don’t know how frustrated I am,” says Alan Rabinowitz, the world-renowned jaguar biologist and protector who opposes U.S. government designation of jaguar critical habitat in Southern Arizona. “I don’t like being on side of people fighting wildllands and wild spaces.

“But the worst thing is when the other side says environmentalists will do anything to get what they want. If I don’t go by the science of this issue, that is lending credence to this argument. This is what the data shows, that this is not critical habitat.”

But Rabinowitz’s critics in the environmental community say that designating at least 838,000 acres of Southern Arizona as jaguar critical habitat fits the best science, and with the Endangered Species Act’s definition of species recovery. In addition, Earth First! maintains that Rabinowitz is tainted by the fact that a mining company executive, Thomas Kaplan, is Panthera’s board chairman and helped found the group in 2006. Panthera’s web page describes Kaplan as “a passionate environmentalist and supporter of wildlife conservation.” Continue reading

Point / Counterpoint on U.S. Jaguar Habitat…Rabinowitz vs. Provilitis

21 Feb

by Tony Davis / the Arizona Star Blogging in the Desertjaguar_az26nm1suitable_pp

In Saturday’s Star (2-9-2012), I had an article on noted jaguar biologist Alan Rabinowitz’s fierce opposition to the proposed jaguar critical habitat that would span 838,000 acres in Southern Arizona and Southwest New Mexico.

For those who want to dig into the weeds of this dispute, I’m posting here a series of Rabinowitz’s comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposal, followed by rebuttals from Willcox-area biologist Tony Povilitis.

Povilitis, jaguar insiders will recall, got the ball rolling for federal protection of the jaguar by petitioning back in the 1990s to get it listed as endangered. He not only favors critical habitat and believes this region has good jaguar habitat. He wants it expanded to cover more areas that could serve as movement corridors for the animal. Rabinowitz, by contrast, believes that the Sky Islands and other Southern Arizona natural areas don’t make for good jaguar habitat and that this country doesn’t have any or least not much such habitat.

Here goes:

RABINOWITZ: As a felid biologist and someone who has studied jaguars for decades, I find that this proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the jaguar in the United States is completely unfounded and not supported by available data. The Federal Register document repeatedly states that this proposed rule must be based on the best scientific data available and should be as accurate and effective as possible.  But best scientific data and knowledge have not been fully used in this case.

POVILITIS: This review lacks rigorous and objective analysis and does not reflect good conservation policy. With all due respect to Alan Rabinowitz and his jaguar work in Central and South America, I must challenge its statements and assumptions, which could prove harmful to the future of the jaguar and other wide-ranging terrestrial wildlife in the U.S. and northern Mexico.  Continue reading

A Mining Executive, A Missing Millionaire and the Weird Politics of U.S. Jaguar Conservation

21 Feb

By Panagioti Tsolkas / Earth First! Journal Collective


from left to right: Thomas Kaplan, an American jaguar, Alan Rabinowitz

Thomas Kaplan isn’t your average environmentalist, big cat conservationist or your average mining executive. He isn’t even your run-of-the-mill former  hydraulic fracking company executive. He’s a sort of disturbingly post-modern mélange of these: the founder of Panthera, a global big cat conservation organization, the current chairman of NovaCopper and the founder of Leor Energy. He’s rich, influential and “green.” But is there a conflict of interest? His colleague and co-founder of Panthera, Alan Rabinowitz, has been throwing his conservation rock star weight around, adding his voice to copper mining interests in southern Arizona to discredit jaguar habitat protection in the Southwest.

If Kaplan is average, he’d be your average yuppie villain from a Carl Hiaasen novel. You know, the one that throws big parties, acts like an environmentalist, but walks through a sinister subtext just waiting to boil out of the pages.

Recently, following a financial dispute between Kaplan and his nephew Guma Aguiar over the 2.5$ billion sale of their Houston based oil and gas company Leor Energy, the latter’s boat washed ashore in Ft. Lauderdale with the owner’s wallet and phone aboard but no trace of Aguiar. He is missing, maybe even dead.

And like in all of Hiaasen’s books, a group of crusty enviros are onto Kaplan, ready to bring him and his buddy Rabinowitz down, vigilante style if need be, for meddling in jaguar conservation.

Anarchist Biology

According to a recent communique by the Earth First! Jaguar Team, a group of self-proclaimed anarchist redneck conservation biologists spread throughout the Sonoran desert of Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico proper, something sinister is a brew in the world of jaguar conservation in that region. Continue reading