History of Panthera

"Alan Rabinowitz and Tom Kaplan."
Alan Rabinowitz and Tom Kaplan
© Steve Winter/Panthera

Panthera began with the dream of a true visionary in cat conservation: Dr. Alan Rabinowitz. A famed wildlife biologist, Dr. Rabinowitz made it his life's mission to protect wild cats throughout his storied career. From helping to establish new jaguar preserves, conducting radiotelemetry research on small cat populations and even helping create the world’s largest tiger preserve, he had already left an indelible mark on conservation across the globe prior to the creation of Panthera. 

In 2006, he realized a vision with his friend Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan. Together, they co-founded Panthera, dedicating themselves to protecting the world’s 40 species of wild cats and their landscapes. From that standing start, over the past 18 years, Panthera has grown into the world’s leading organization protecting wild cats, with offices around the world, a committed staff of focused and passionate professionals and, most importantly, numerous conservation goals reached. Dr. Rabinowitz and Dr. Kaplan began with a dream. And though Dr. Rabinowitz tragically passed away in 2018, we are moving ever closer to realizing it. 18 years on, we are committing ourselves each and every day to defending and protecting the planet’s 40 species of wild cats and their landscapes. With scientists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates on the ground in 39 countries and hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world, we are building the movement that will ensure wild cats survive for generations to come.

Learn more about the life of Dr. Rabinowitz and his indelible impact on wild cat conservation.

Extra: Tom Kaplan and Alan Rabinowitz talk to Bob Simon about the creation of their new big cat conservation group, Panthera.

As we look to the future, more threats loom for wild cats, including more climate emergency disasters like wildfires, as well as surging demands for poached wild cat parts. With your support, we are ready to ramp up our efforts to study and protect big cats for many years to come.

2021: Our Fifteenth Anniversary

As we entered 2021, we joyously celebrated our Quindecennial anniversary — a remarkable 15 years dedicated to the conservation of the world’s 40 species of wild cats and the expansive ecosystems they call home. To commemorate this significant milestone, we created a fantastic video showcasing some of the accomplishments made possible in just 15 years, thanks to our many supporters.

  • 15 focal species of small cats protected
  • 14 key lion landscapes identified
  • 13 jaguar school workshops conducted
  • 12 acoustic monitors were deployed to track poachers’ gunshots
  • 11 countries where we lead or support jaguar conservation
  • 10 tiger project sites across Asia
  • 9 global hubs and offices
  • 8 countries where we lead or support cheetah conservation
  • 7 model iterations of our revolutionary PoacherCams 
  • 6 tribes partnered with the Olympic Cougar Project
  • 5 leopard poaching hotspots identified through DNA analysis
  • 4 countries where we protect snow leopards
  • 3 information hubs for countering wildlife crime
  • 2 Furs for Life projects to reduce the use of wild cat skins
  • 1 amazing community of wild cat advocates around the globe