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Jaguar: One Man's Struggle to Establish the World's First Jaguar Preserve

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  210 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In 1983, zoologist Alan Rabinowitz ventured into the rain forest of Belize, determined to study the little-known jaguar in its natural habitat and to establish the world's first jaguar preserve. Within two years, he had succeeded. In Jaguar he provides the only first-hand account of a scientist's experience with jaguars in the wild. Jaguar presents an irresistible blend of ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 2nd 2000 by Island Press (first published 1986)
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Community Reviews

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Wow. Best nonfiction conservation book I've read in years. Excellent book that at first glance is a history of jaguar conservation in the jungles of Belize, which has only begun in the 1980s. Interesting to think that these animals have been hunted for hundreds of years, and it's been less than 30 that any research has been done on them at ALL, and that there were NO preserves for these cats until then. After reading this book, you also realize that this is a story about human fears, struggles, ...more
Sally Bishop
I usually get a bit bored by non-fiction half way through, but this book reads like a suspense-filled detective novel! It's a great story, full of various subtle points and questions related to the human relationship with the rest of Nature, especially the large mammals whose very existence as a species is threatened by our destruction of their habitat.

This man's courage and insight are very engaging, as are the on-going dialogues with Mayan families who lived in the Jaguar Habitat, and helped w
An account of the author's two years in Belize studying jaguars. I was surprised by the passion, emotion and honesty in this book. Although his ego sometimes threatened to overwhelm the story, mostly I welcomed his approach. It gave a fuller picture of his environment than if it had focused narrowly on the jaguars, and so illuminated a complex ecology that includes gringo scientists, Maya Indians, trophy hunters, government officials - not to mention tommy-goffs, botfly larvae, armadillos, pecca ...more
I read this after spending a day in the jaguar preserve the author established in Belize. It is so impressive that he succeeded in his project in spite of the odds against it. His tales of trying to track jaguars and of living with the Mayan people were interesting and moving. Rabinowitz managed to combine a report of the scientific work he was doing along with personal stories of life in an isolated (at the time) part of Belize.
One of my favorite books. It was a perfect read for my time in Belize. It was as much about the Mayan people as it was about the jaguars that Rabinowitz is trying to study. A great telling of how science research is a struggle - and is sometimes dangerous.
Michael Thoeresz
This is not an exceptional book but if you live in Belize or have traveled through Cockscomb (the worlds only Jaguar preserve) it's very interesting.

"The best part of him dripped down his mama's leg."
I had to read it for a Jaguar exhibit, but the more I read books written by field biologists, the more impressed I am with how well they write. George Schaller is still my favorite though.
Luke Bailey
I learned that DIY conservation of large carnivores in tropical forests is waaay cooler than my office job. Also, Belize is prolly my favorite country in the western hemisphere.
Tim Ganotis
Simply written yet powerful story. Lots of passion and emotion from the author make this one of the better books I've read in some time.
This book has been sitting with me for a couple of days now. I found it interesting for a few different reasons: it’s about jaguars, the Maya, and conservation but not necessarily in that order. My biases come from my perspective as an archaeologist, who is fascinated by the ancient Maya. But what the ancient Maya taught me was to look deeper into jaguars. Hence, that brought me to this book.

I’d recommend this book to people who are interested in all three of the above and archaeologists. Rabino
Excellent adventure, backed by an extremely meaningful purpose. Rabinowitz's struggle to live in remote Belize to study Jaguars was fascinating in itself and resulted in a precedent for wildlife corridors across the world. He writes straight, but there's everything from fantastic supernatural Mayan encounters to deceitful governmental politics to romance. An inspiration to any budding conervationist and a true, modern adventure.
Rabinowitz is such a great writer. He is very inspiring and I loved hearing about his own stories out in the jungle. While reading, I experienced sadness, admiration, and happiness with him as well as with the jaguars. This book is a lovely read in which you really get the feel of what is out there in the Belize jungle. I am sad as well as content to have finished this emotional true story.
This is an amazing book! I love big cats, and I wanted to learn about the jaguar, so I decided to read this book. It is about jaguars, but its so much more than that. Its a narrative of the author's experience of living in the jungle of Belize. From this book I really learned a lot about life in the jungle. I learned about the Mayans who live there now, and a little about the ancient Mayans. Following the author on his journey, I learned about the superstitions of the Mayans and how some of thei ...more
For a girl who grew up loving Jane Goodall, Rudyard Kipling and Dr. Doolittle, this little autobiography was not only a joy to read, but a story of hope which is unfortunately not that common in conservation narratives.
Jennifer Alm
Read while staying near Cockscomb Basin in Belize where Rabinowitz established this jaguar preserve. Learned a lot about the mysticism and life of Mayans in this region.
Clara Lee
I really enjoyed this book. Of course, I was very very interested in the topic and the area the book was written about, so my enjoyment was at least partially from such a strong desire to learn more about Belize culture. But I think it was written well and could be enjoyed by most.
it very awesome
The story of researching the jaguars and creating the preserve at Cockscomb in Belize as well as a great description of the modern-day Maya in the Stann Creek region.
Paul Schuette
Great writer. Good combination of exposing people to the 'excitement' of wildlife research, while also stating the hard work and problems associated.
A very good read; one scientist's journey to understand a country and a people in order to preserve one of its most significant species.
Jenny Jackson
Wonderful book-provides deep insight on what it means to give up everything in pursuit of protecting something a person truly cares about.
Amy Ostermeier
Mar 15, 2008 Amy Ostermeier rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Amy by: My dad. :)
I'm loving this book. You'll learn lots of interesting things about the rainforest, big cats, and maya culture. a great read.
Excellent story of real biological research. Inspired my wife and I to travel to Cockscomb during our honeymoon.
Eden Tran
Outstanding, captivating tale of real-life struggles of a dedicated animal conservationist.
My enjoyment of this book prompted my reading of a later account of conservations actions in Burma
It changed my life ... or rather ... reaffirmed my life purpose.
depressing, but at least he made a difference eventually
Ronan Taylor
Ronan Taylor marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2015
Aaron marked it as to-read
Nov 25, 2015
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Alan Robert Rabinowitz is an American zoologist, conservationist, field biologist and the CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit conservation organization devoted to protecting the world's 37 wild cat species. Called the "Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection" by Time, Rabinowitz has studied jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, tigers, Sumatran rhinos, bears, leopard cats, raccoons, and civets. Today ...more
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