Alan Rabinowitz earned the MS and PhD degrees in ecology from UT in 1978 and 1981, respectively. Since leaving UT, he has been tracking and studying jaguars and tigers, with the goal of conservation. He established the world’s first jaguar sanctuary—the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve—in Belize, the subject of his first book, One Man’s Struggle to Establish the World’s First Jaguar Preserve (Island Press, 2000). He did the first radio collar study ever on Asiatic leopards and published Chasing the Dragon’s Tail: The Struggle to Save Thailand’s Wild Cats (Shearwater Books, 2002). He took his first trip to Myanmar in 1995 and worked with the national park service of Myanmar to create the Hkakabo Razi National Park, the country’s largest wildlife sanctuary and wildlife preserve. In Myanmar he discovered the leaf deer (Muntiacus putaoensis) and the only tribe of Mongoloid pygmies in the world. These experiences were the subject of his third book, Beyond the Last Village (Shearwater Books, 2003). He then set up the world’s largest tiger reserve in northern Myanmar—a reserve the size of the state of Vermont, with all of Asia’s most endangered species. He has been called the “Indiana Jones of wildlife science.”
A National Geographic movie about him, his family (he is married and has two children), and the jaguars is titled In Search of the Jaguar. As a child, he stuttered severely. His inability to communicate with teachers and peers led him to become interested in wildlife, to which he spoke. He indicated in a New York Times interview in 2007 that at that point he made a promise to animals that if he ever found his voice, he would speak in their defense. He serves as the national spokesperson for the Stuttering Foundation. In 2002 he learned he has chronic lymphatic leukemia, for which there is no cure.