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Jaguar: One Man's Struggle To Establish The World's First Jaguar Preserve Paperback


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Jaguar: One Man's Struggle To Establish The World's First Jaguar Preserve + The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird + Belize & Northern Guatemala (Travellers' Wildlife Guides)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559638028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559638029
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the early 1980s, working at the behest of the noted biologist George Schaller, Alan Rabinowitz traveled to the newly independent Central American nation of Belize to study jaguars, once extensive throughout the Americas, in a remote, densely forested part of that country. ("If the world had any ends, [Belize] would surely be one of them" Aldous Huxley once wrote.) There, deep within mountainous jungle, Rabinowitz conducted a thorough study of the jaguar's natural history, studying its diet (made up, he writes, of a surprising quantity of armadillos), movements, and territories, and learning the ways of the much-feared cat. He also learned a little something about himself--discovering, he writes, that "once I had overcome my initial fears of this dense, dark green world, I started to enjoy it."

Over his two-year stay, Rabinowitz developed plans to establish a forest sanctuary that would be free of the jaguar's principal enemies--not deadly fer-de-lance snakes or other large predators, but loggers, poachers, and cattle ranchers, all of whom had their reasons for wanting to see jaguars disappear from the region. Although he was successful in convincing the Belizean government to authorize the Cockscomb preserve, Rabinowitz writes in the afterword to this revised edition of Jaguar (first published in 1986), the jaguar haven came at a cost to Mayan people who lived in the area and were forced to relocate. His memoir will be of great interest not only to admirers of the jaguar, a magnificent animal by any measure, but also to students of international ecological issues. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

Rabinowitz, a zoologist, describes two years of triumph and tragedy in the rain forests of Belize, where he lived among Mayan Indians while researching the jaguar population; he was instrumental in having the Cockscomb Basin there declared a National Forest Reserve. Photos. (Nov.)no PW
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Belize, jaguars, or wildlife in general.
R. Maag
The book is also a remarkable story about the animals and people of the rainforest, who we get to know through Dr. Rabinowitz's exciting narrative.
Ravnwing
If all people would read this book, it would make a change in really taking care of our nature.
arendsbv@pi.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dakota on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Jaguar" is the fascinating story of one scientist's journey to study and protect the elusive jaguar, the third largest cat in the world.

Written like a book of fiction, "Jaguar" reads smoothly, capturing your attention and curiosity with its first-person portrayal of life in an alien world: the jungles of Belize. It is peopled with the Maya, a culture rich in history yet suffering poverty, disease, and insignificance in modern times. And in this world exists the jaguar, a powerful cat who is rarely seen and is not a man-eater, yet is hunted almost to extinction for its exquisite spotted fur and because, quite simply, people fear it.

I read "Jaguar" in about 2 days, and fell completely in love with its spirit. The author, a young scientist, struggled hard to successfully understand the lives of these cats within its world and to keep it alive, often to his own personal tragedies. His description of the jungle is unromantic and riveting, as are the terrible hardships that go with it. I will never forget all the diseases, snakes, and parasites than run amok in this story, practically characters of their own. One lesson I came back with is how thankful I am to live in a country with exceptional sanitation and medical care.

"Jaguar" is haunting. You can't finish it without wishing to enter that dark, dangerous jungle of the majestic jaguar. It draws out the adventurer in you. It stirs your compassion.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marceau Ratard on September 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book really gives you a feel for how conservation based research is carried out in the tropics. The research was carried out in the early 1980's in the Cockscomb basin in Belize. The area is now a jaguar preserve and if your headed to Belize it is a must see. The book describes the 2 years that Dr. Rabinowitz spent researching jaguar movements in Belize. You really get a feel for how conservation research interacts and sometimes conflicts with local villagers, the government, and how it is preserved in the US. I reads like an adventure story and is not boring. You certainly don't need to be biologist to like this book. I think that anybody could take something away from this story. If your going to Belize, then you should really consider adding this to the list of books to read before you go.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the Central American Rainforest. It has a little bit of everything..field notes, natural history, local culture, paranormal experiences, adventure, and romance. The book was engaging and easy to read. I learned a lot about jaguars and the struggle to protect them. The only drawback was Rabinowitz's negative portrayl of the present day Mayans. Undoubtedly, the author is a scientist and not an anthropologist, but i do feel that he should have shown more respect for their culture and more understanding of their situation.
I reccomend this book, and then i reccomend traveling to Cockscomb Basin in Belize to fully appreciate the conservation effort. Even if you can't get there, you will feel like you have been there after reading this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ravnwing on March 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book will appeal to readers who have a specific interest in jaguars and those with more overall conservation leanings. Dr. Rabinowitz is a pioneer in research on this elusive animal and his groundbreaking work shows just how vital the jaguar is to rainforest ecologist, and the devestating impact man has had on this magnificent species. The book is also a remarkable story about the animals and people of the rainforest, who we get to know through Dr. Rabinowitz's exciting narrative. I found myself laughing and crying all at once and was not able to put this book down!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By margaret eisenberger on September 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a record of Alan's efforts to set aside land for the jaguar in Belize. It is also a breath-taking, hair-raising, heart-breaking roller coaster ride through the ups and downs in the daily life of a field research biologist. His narrow escapes leave you gasping. You have to lay the book down and sob when he cradles a dying jaguar in his arms. The scenes in this book play over and over in your mind as clearly as if you had seen it in a movie, as when a he has to escape from a jaguar which unexpectedly charges him after recovering from the tranquilizeer he had injected. He is as macho as they come and yet he is not afraid to admit to moments of bias, of ignorance, of impatience and frustration, of fear, or of failure. He incorporates the scientific data he collects along with cultural observations of the Maya people he works with. His brushes with the supernatural are surprising, coming from a scientist, and yet in keeping with his open minded nature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
The ability to change the world we live in to the betterment of others--human or otherwise--is something many of us aspire toward. Mr. Rabinowitz accomplishes this very goal in this wonderfully told account of how he initiated the creation of a far-reaching preserve for predatory jungle cats. Mr. Rabinowtiz seems to understand that human destiny is linked to our compassion for our fellow species. His struggle to prevail over government red tape, self-interested forest wardens and even the near-sighted needs of indigenous peoples is told here with great compassion and drama. The author's ability to criticize his own shortcomings and self-doubts lends this work its true strength and gives the reader insight into how we might all try to do better and work for good in our lives.
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