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The jaguar is one of the most mysterious and least-known big cats of the world. The largest cat in the Americas, it has survived an onslaught of environmental and human threats partly because of an evolutionary history unique among wild felines, but also because of a power and indomitable spirit so strong, the jaguar has shaped indigenous cultures and the beliefs of early civilizations on two continents.
In An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar, big-cat expert Alan Rabinowitz shares his own personal journey to conserve a species that, despite its past resilience, is now on a slide toward extinction if something is not done to preserve the pathways it prowls through an ever-changing, ever-shifting landscape dominated by humans. Rabinowitz reveals how he learned from newly available genetic data that the jaguar was a single species connected genetically throughout its entire range from Mexico to Argentina, making it unique among all other large carnivores in the world. In a mix of personal discovery and scientific inquiry, he sweeps his readers deep into the realm of the jaguar, offering fascinating accounts from the field. Enhanced with maps, tables, and color plates, An Indomitable Beast brings important new research to life for scientists, anthropologists, and animal lovers alike.
An Indomitable Beast is not only about jaguars, but also about tenacity and survival. From the jaguar we can learn better strategies for saving other species and also how to save ourselves when faced with immediate and long-term catastrophic changes to our environment.
Chapter 1. In the Beginning . . .
Chapter 2. The Pleistocene Jaguar Corridor
Chapter 3. The First People of the Jaguar
Chapter 4. When Jaguars Talked to Man
Chapter 5. Conquest of Jaguar Land
Chapter 6. The Killing Grounds
Chapter 7. Into the Jaguar’s World
Chapter 8. Unraveling the Mystery
Chapter 9. Thinking to Scale
Chapter 10. The Underground Railway of the Jaguar
Chapter 11. Do Jaguars Live Here Anymore?
Chapter 12. In Search of Jaguarness
Chapter 13. Survival in a Changing World
Chapter 14. The Reluctant Warrior
Alan Rabinowitz, one of the world's leading experts on big cats, is cofounder and CEO of Panthera, a nonprofit organization devoted to saving wild cat species. Previously, Rabinowitz served for almost thirty years as executive director of the Science and Exploration Division for the Wildlife Conservation Society. The author of six previous books, Rabinowitz has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times, National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Outside Magazine, Scientific American, Men's Fitness, GEO, Natural History, and Audubon. He has been featured in television specials by the National Geographic Society and the BBC, and, most recently, in an IMAX film about tigers in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh and India.
"In An Indomitable Beast, Mr. Rabinowitz, the author of several books on his conservation work and travels, revisits the first big cats of his career. Questions of "jaguarness" – how jaguars think and the unique anatomical and behavioral features that affect their prospects for long-term survival – still intrigue him after three decades, and this book is a welcome retrospective of what he and others have learned about jaguars so far, and what's being done for them now."
– Wall Street Journal
"This book does so many things well. It is full of adventure and cool biology and human history, but it also succeeds as a scientific memoir and journey of intellectual growth – I read everything Rabinowitz writes – he is a gifted storyteller and accomplished researcher. I recommend all his books. This is his best. It's hard to read this book and not reach the conclusion that the jaguar is flat-out one of the coolest animals to walk this planet. And there?s no one better to tell its story than Alan Rabinowitz."
– The Nature Conservancy's Cool Green Science blog
"Combines his account of field research on jaguars in the wilds of Belize and Brazil and advocacy for conservation strategies with anthropology, zoology, and paleontology to tell the tale of an endangered species that has persisted despite very long odds."
– Publishers Weekly
"Rabinowitz is the world's leading authority on the jaguar [...] He now presents a fascinating book that explores the human-jaguar link [...] The modern-day interaction of these two corridors will absorb all lovers of the wild."
" [...] An Indomitable Beast is an extraordinary examination of these dangerous yet magnificent creatures. A bibliography, an index, and a handful of color plates enhance this absolute "must-read" for fans of big cats in general, and jaguars in particular. Highly recommended!"
– Midwest Book Review
"A riveting tale of environmental success [...] An Indomitable Beast begins with an exhaustively researched natural history of the jaguar from palaeo to present. And in telling the cat's story, Rabinowitz takes the reader on a personal quest, from ancient Mayan ruins to London Zoo, as he seeks to uncover the unique 'jaguarness' of the animal he seeks to protect."
– New Scientist
"For decades, Alan Rabinowitz has been a passionate voice for jaguars. His studies have illuminated the mysterious existence of the reclusive and magnificent cat, and his efforts to save its forests in one grand sweep from Mexico to Argentina have changed concepts in conservation. This book is not only a profound testament to the life of 'an indomitable beast,' but also a superb contribution to the literature on a species."
– George B. Schaller, Panthera and Wildlife Conservation Society
"I have a deep respect for Alan [...] and all the brilliant scientist-advocates of Panthera. We had nothing to do with the miracle of the jaguar's creation, but have everything to do with its survival. The world needs the jaguar's majesty and mystery. We are better because the jaguar exists."
– Glenn Close, actress, Panthera Conservation Council Member
"Alan Rabinowitz has been a leader in the effort to conserve jaguars for decades, and his work has inspired my own and that of many other colleagues. This book, drawing on a wide array of technical sources along with personal reflections, should be of broad interest to scientists and conservationists, as well as to the general public."
– Eduardo Eizirik, Professor of Genetics, PUCRS and Pro-Carnívoros Institute, Brazil
"The jaguar has been on Earth for millions of years, but how it will survive human domination of our planet is the subject of this remarkable book. Alan Rabinowitz elevates current thinking on conservation with his clear solutions for protection of this indomitable cat along the corridors they roam in Central and South America. In a time of change and even despair, this beautifully written book offers hope."
– Jane Alexander, actress, author, and conservationist
"Rabinowitz displays an impressive dedication to and love for this animal, which he demonstrates through scientific research, action, and advocacy."
– Ecolit Books
"The jaguar could have no better spokesperson than Rabinowtiz, who clearly not only understands his subject scientifically, historically, and emotionally, but who also can make the plea passionately for the survival of this endangered species."
– The Explorer's Journal