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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

Filling the Shoes of a Great Champion of Conservation

August 16, 2018

(L-R) Jaguar researchers Howard Quigley and Alan Rabinowitz along with CBS News correspondent Bob Simon. Below them is a jaguar they were studying in the Brazilian Pantanal. (© Steve Winter/Panthera)

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - On Friday, August 10th, while Diana Friedeberg, Director of Panthera Mexico, was working with staff and volunteers at the Vallarta Botanical Garden to install camera traps in our forest preserve she shared a sad piece of news. Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, cofounder of her organization and one of the world's greatest champions of conservation, had just passed away.

As a child Rabinowitz suffered from severe stuttering, which led him to identify deeply with animals, especially wild creatures who can not readily communicate their needs in a way that most humans understand. He vowed that once he conquered his impediment he would use his voice to speak for wild animals.

Neil Gerlowski and Diana Friedeberg installing a camera trap in the Vallarta Botanical Garden's forest preserve (Leo Campos)
After successful speech therapy in his late teens, Rabinowitz later went on to become an accomplished speaker and the world's foremost expert on big cats. His projects included research and conservation of lions, tigers, snow leopards, cheetahs, cougars and jaguars - much of which he accomplished as the President and CEO of Panthera, the only global nonprofit specifically dedicated to protecting big cats in the wild.

If you love big cats, and have a few minutes to spare, you may want to watch this 60 Minutes video about Alan Rabinowitz and Panthera's Jaguar Project on YouTube.

Alan Rabinowitz' death on August 5th, 2018 leaves a big pair of shoes for us to fill as we march on in working to conserve our native fauna and flora. Staff and volunteers at the Vallarta Botanical Garden are stepping up to the challenge.

Last Friday we installed five custom-built V6 Panthera camera traps in our forest preserve and are already talking with our colleagues at Panthera & the local NGO Alianza Jaguar about ramping this up for a much larger study of jaguars in our region of southern Puerto Vallarta and Cabo Corrientes.

Our collaboration began after recent reports of jaguar observations by Garden night-watchmen prompted Garden member and volunteer David Erne to sponsor the traps which will allow us to both study the habits of these magnificent animals and ensure the safety of our visitors.

Conserving vast tracts of forest necessary for jaguars to survive and successfully breed means that all of the other plants and animals within these forests will be protected as well. Our passion is for nature in all of its glory and diversity. As spectacularly beautiful and charismatic animals, jaguars are a natural rallying point for conservation.

Puerto Vallarta's jaguars and their forests need your help! Interested in helping in this work through volunteerism or financial support? Please contact the Vallarta Botanical Garden's staff biologist, Leo Campos at escolar(at), our friends Rodrigo Nuñez and Erik Saracho at Alianza Jaguar alianzajaguar(at), and/or Diana Friedeberg at Panthera Mexico dfriedeberg(at)

Visit the internationally famous Vallarta Botanical Garden located just 30 minutes south of Old Town at Km. 24 on Highway 200 and easily accessible by public transportation and taxi. This 64 acre wildlife preserve and botanical garden have something fun for everyone. See plantings of vanilla, chocolate, and hundreds of other botanical delights, and don't forget to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the jungle river. The Garden is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (closed Mondays from April 1 to December 1). Garden admission is just $200 pesos. Authentic Mexican Cuisine is served in the Hacienda de Oro Restaurant from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information, call (322) 223-6182 or visit

Click HERE to learn more about Vallarta Botanical Gardens.