Animals

To discover a passion that gives you purpose, is a gift immeasurable to the riches of life—some people simply inspire this as part of their nature.

I was first introduced to the work of Panthera watching a segment on 60 Minutes where this indomitable character spoke with such insight and urgency about their conservation strategies. It was of course Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, a man who fits the description of Indiana Jones so well that people had begun calling him: The Indiana Jones of Wildlife. Adventurous, dedicated and truly interested in native people and wildlife, Dr. Rabinowitz was a hero to those most in need (the voiceless).

This Instagram message summaries Rabinowitz’s approach to conservation:

“Each new year we need to remember all the innocents of the world who have nothing or no one to defend them, people and animals. People often ask me how can they help in what I do? Just give back and make it about other lives, not yours. People and animals.”

Panthera is the legacy which Rabinowitz leaves behind, both his persona and hands on approach helped expand the Foundations global presence. Mentoring communities and young scientists to support autonomy and accountability for the well-being of people and wildlife.

On behalf of his family, and all those touched by his generosity and passion—may we carry your memory and mission in our hearts and through our actions.

His life in words from the people who knew him best….

The Board and staff of Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, mourn the loss of our co-founder and one of the world’s most visionary and widely admired wild cat scientists, Dr. Alan Robert Rabinowitz, 64, who died August 6 (2018) after a journey with cancer.

Panthera CEO and President, Dr. Fred Launay:

“The conservation community has lost a legend. Alan was a fearless and outspoken champion for the conservation of our planet’s iconic wild cats and wild places. As a lifelong voice for the voiceless, he changed the fate of tigers, jaguars and other at-risk species by placing their protection on the agendas of world leaders from Asia to Latin America for the very first time.”

Launay continued, “Inspiring a generation of young scientists, the boldness and passion with which Alan approached conservation was captivating and contagious. While we are devastated by his passing, we are comforted by the fact that his extraordinary legacy of advocacy for the most vulnerable creatures will live on in his legion of students and followers.”

“Our thoughts are with Alan’s wife Salisa and their children, Alexander and Alana, for whom Alan was a real-life superhero.”

Panthera Chairman and Co-Founder, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan:

“For those who became part of his astonishing and inspiring journey to save the big cats and their ecosystems, the impact of experiencing the intellectual and animal spirits that defined Alan Rabinowitz was, not unlike the moment one sees a big cat in the wild, simply unforgettable.”

“Through the young people whose talents he galvanized and mentored, standing upon Alan’s broad shoulders and implementing his vision, the trajectory of cat conservation that Panthera has succeeded in changing for the good will endure and indeed thrive.”

“My wife Daphne and I express our supreme gratitude for the life-changing partnership and camaraderie that he brought to our lives, and pledge to keep the abiding faith that he never lost and always inspired.”

In a career spanning more than three decades, Dr. Rabinowitz was, above all, a protector and global advocate for wild cats and other threatened wildlife, the diminishing lands in which they roam, and the often impoverished people living near these cats and other wildlife.

Among a lengthy seminal list, some of his crowning conservation achievements are the conceptualization and implementation of Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative, an unprecedented effort to connect and protect jaguars from Mexico to Argentina, and the establishment of the world’s first jaguar sanctuary in Belize. Forever in awe of the magnificence of the tiger – the world’s largest cat – Dr. Rabinowitz achieved victory after victory for the species, including the creation of the largest tiger reserve, the Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, in northern Myanmar.

Panthera Jaguar Program Executive Director, Dr. Howard Quigley:

“Alan lived such an impactful life, for everyone who met him, and for the wildlife he cared so passionately about. For all of us who were inspired by him, our mission now is to honor Alan’s legacy by securing the future for all wild cats.”

Panthera Science Council Vice Chair, Dr. George Schaller:

“I have collaborated with Alan on projects for nearly four decades, and his knowledge, vision, determination, and passionate voice on behalf of the big cats and other wildlife has inspired me and many others to be advocates for protecting nature’s beauty.”

Panthera Conservation Council Co-Chair, Jane Alexander:

“Alan Rabinowitz came into my life in the early ’80s when he, a young scientist studying jaguars in Belize, and I, an actress with a screenplay about jaguars, took me out at night to track their whereabouts in the jungle. We became life-long friends. He inspired me to become the conservationist I am today, as he has inspired thousands of people the world over with his courage, commitment and perseverance. There was no finer man, the toughest, yet deeply kind.”

Read more about the career of Alan Rabinowitz.

Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts, and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards, and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.

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Why are Panthera paying such close attention to 197F, the sole wild tiger in a massive wildlife sanctuary in Southeast Asia? Because the science shows that all the elements needed for a tiger recovery in that part of the region are there: plenty of space, prey, and protection.

197F is the key to unlocking that potential.

With just 3,900 wild tigers left on Earth, every tiger counts.

If 197F finds the mate she’s so desperately seeking, their cubs will soon spread out and claim new territory and mates of their own. As Panthera have seen in many of their Tigers Forever sites, it is possible to rebuild healthy populations of tigers, even where there are very few to start.

This Global Tiger Day (July 29th), will you join Panthera with a gift to protect and recover critically endangered tigers?

The stakes are high. That’s why Panthera are speeding resources to the areas where 197F and her potential mates are roaming to:

• Increase monitoring of tigers, prey, and human activity in the area;
• Train rangers to use the latest technology to document forest crimes;
• Ramp up patrols at border areas to ID poacher access points and stage ambushes;
• Seize motorbikes used by illegal loggers who often poach wildlife, too;
• Reduce illegal activities in the park by providing viable alternatives to local people

By locking down these critical passageways, we hope to make it possible for three to five new populations of tigers to take hold in the region and plant the seeds of a full-scale recovery.

Checkout Panthera’s infographic telling 197F’s story of adventure and hope.

You can help Panthera rebuild tiger territory by donating this #globaltigerday

Fashion has evolved over the centuries to reflect cultural emphasis and interests, reflecting the materials and manufacturing techniques of the time. Today, we have wearable technology and greater access to renewable and sustainable materials—both consumers and designers are keen to embrace ethical fashion that is responsible and innovative. But, despite the movement for ‘Kind Fashion’ much of the world continues to stock and swathe themselves in clothing made from animals—and antiquated practices and cheap production demands continue to support less than ethical treatment of people and animals in the industry.

It’s important to note that some of us buy for function rather than fashion. Outdoor clothing brands are particularly good at aligning performance with ethics as their customers already have a deep love and awareness for nature. Engineering wearables for Winter fashioned from natural fibres like merino wool or technical layers made from recycled materials (plastics and coffee waste are some examples of this). That means the options exist but the people lack awareness which is also a matter for campaign. Rather than fur coats, hoods, boots and the like…adventurers can pack cruelty-free alternatives, many of which can be more efficient at keeping you warm, wicking away sweat, repelling odour and water, dry faster and require less care.

Other factors influence our choices, price point is an obvious one but we are also heavily swayed by branding and celebrity which we identify with. Anything worn by the Royals is sure to sell-out within a day of public exposure, likewise labels for brands that have clear messages or ambassadors also help to represent the values we align ourselves with. Understanding this incentive is key to creating a demand for cruelty-free clothing, for elevating standards in sustainable fabrics and responsible manufacturing methods/means.

Indeed, this is the focus of a new campaign against fur initiated and endorsed by fashion elite. The designers and influencers are stepping-up to end animal cruelty and tip trends toward Kind Fashion.

Guest contributor Elise Burgess from FOUR PAWS Australia explains…

Compassion in vogue: How the ethical fashion movement is extending to animals

The rise in ethical fashion has progressed leaps and bounds over recent years, with fashion-conscious consumers leading the charge towards a future where we can have our smart-cut blazers and feel good about it too.

As part of this ethical fashion trend, major fashion retailers and brands are increasingly recognising their responsibility for the welfare of animals, choosing animal-free materials or making demands about animal welfare for their supply chains.

Last month, major global online retailer ASOS, which has 12.4 million active customers worldwide, announced that it is banning the sale of silk, cashmere and mohair products, having already banned fur and materials from threatened or endangered species.

A decision which is on trend.

Over 890 huge fashion labels including H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have also committed to fur free policies through the Fur Free Retailer global program, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item. 

But this isn’t the 80’s, I hear you ask, isn’t fur ‘over’ anyway? Shockingly no.

To this day, millions of foxes, minks, rabbits and raccoon dogs are brutally farmed and slaughtered for their fur. 

In fact, the global fur trade sources 95 percent of its fur from animals who are forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms. Animals trapped in these cages are denied any natural environment or the ability to express their instinctive behaviour.

At the end of their short lives, their death—by electrocution, gassing or by having their neck broken—is as cruel as their keeping.

What’s more, some animals used for fur such as foxes, have been selectively bred to produce extreme levels of excess skin and therefore, more fur. As a result, these poor foxes suffer from heavily folded skin, severe eye infections and badly malformed feet.

In April this year, horrific images from a fox farm in Finland showed animals locked in tight cages who could barely move due to all their excess skin. In the wild, polar foxes would normally reach a weight of roughly four kilos but due to deliberate breeding for the largest possible amount of fur, these animals instead reach a weight of up to 20 kilos.

While it may seem like a US or European issue where the winters are far colder, here in Australia you can still find fur being used in fashion. Lots of fur trims are available in our shopping districts on jackets, fur vests, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys. Which is why in 2018, it is so important for Australians to show their support for fur-free fashion and products.

This can be as simple as not buying fur products or fashion items such as jackets or gloves with fur trim, or better yet, supporting Australian fashion retailers and brands who have committed to being fur free. Not sure if it is FUR or FRIENDLY? Check out the Fur Free Retailer list.

FOUR PAWS Australia is the Australian representative of the global Fur Free retailer program, and after listening to what compassionate Australians are saying, we want to help local brands and consumers be a driving force for global animal protection in fashion.

To find out more about fur in fashion, check out FOUR PAWS Australia.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Singapore’s award-winning wildlife attraction celebrates its 45th year since it first opened in 1973 with a new, illuminated multimedia night walk on the wild side that promises a sensory feast for visitors.

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, unveiled Rainforest Lumina – the first such seasonal event to be staged in Southeast Asia – in a special preview event.

From 1 July 2018, a one-kilometer stretch within the zoo’s tropical rainforest will awaken the senses as visitors walk through 11 different zones and meet the Creature Crew, a group of unlikely heroes who will take visitors on a whimsical adventure along the paths of their enchanted world.

Created by award-winning multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory and set up with careful consideration to minimise disturbance to the park’s animal collection and native wildlife, Rainforest Lumina will take visitors on an immersive journey as they encounter interactive and mesmerising installations and uncover a side of the zoo that has never been seen before.

See the rainforest in a whole new light

With the overarching theme “We are one”, Rainforest Lumina seeks to drive home the message that humans, animals and nature are inter-connected, with each having a vital role to play to sustain life on earth. The transformation of the Singapore Zoo into a magical landscape of lights and sound, coupled with the interaction with the Creature Crew, will take guests on the spellbinding journey that will spark inspiration at every turn and nurture empathy for nature and wildlife.

Tomorrow’s Pioneers

Opening as one of the world’s first “open-concept” zoos, the Singapore Zoo started with a modest collection of about 300 animals. Today, the Singapore Zoo welcomes 1.9 million visitors each year and is home to over 2,400 animals representing more than 300 species, of which 34 percent are threatened in the wild. The Zoo has also been successful in breeding critically endangered species and has established itself as one of the best zoos in the world, gaining worldwide recognition.

Adding to an already well-rounded experience, the Singapore Zoo will make use of immersive technology to provide visitors with a fresh experience. It will include Rainforest Lumina’s innovative use of light, multimedia and interactive elements, as well as an engaging narrative to heighten the night walk experience.

Mr Mike Barclay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings, said, “We have been redefining experiences and storytelling since the Singapore Zoo opened its doors to our first visitors in 1973. We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses and we wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience. Rainforest Lumina is an interactive and illuminated night walk that leads visitors on a multimedia-enhanced journey designed to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.”

“It has been a great collaboration between Moment Factory and Wildlife Reserves Singapore as we developed a new, unique multimedia experience for Singapore Zoo guests”, said Mr Jonathan St-Onge, General Manager, Lumina Series, Moment Factory. “Rainforest Lumina is the latest addition to our Lumina series and is inspired by Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s mission and the zoo’s unique landscape. Rainforest Lumina uses interactive elements, projection mapping, lights and a soundscape to create an immersive attraction that will allow guests to rediscover the zoo at night and to reconnect with nature in a magical way.”

Ms Carrie Kwik, Executive Director, Attractions, Entertainment and Tourism Concept Development for the Singapore Tourism Board said, “We are excited to support the Rainforest Lumina as part of the Singapore Zoo’s 45th anniversary. The Zoo, which has won several regional and international accolades, is an iconic attraction in the region for both visitors and Singaporeans. Its constant software enhancements play an important role in refreshing our diverse offerings and enhancing Singapore’s appeal as an attractive tourist destination with new and varied experiences to look forward to with each visit. We hope the Rainforest Lumina experience will attract even more visitors to the Zoo during this special season.”

Mr Barclay adds, “Beyond being a multimedia attraction, the deeper message of Rainforest Lumina is a call for everyone to come together to protect and preserve the wildlife we share our planet with.”

Singapore Zoo is set in a rainforest environment, its world-famous “Open Concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to more than 2,400 specimens over 300 species, 34 per cent of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. To better meet the healthcare needs of its animals and working towards its aspiration to become a leading global centre of excellence for veterinary healthcare and research, a purpose-built Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre was set up in March 2006.

Annually, approximately 1.9 million visitors enjoy experiential learning journeys at the 26-hectare award-winning Zoo—part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority. Rainforest Lumina is a seasonal attraction which runs nightly from 7.30pm – 10.30pm.

Moment Factory is a multimedia studio with a full range of production expertise under one roof. Their team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. With its headquarters based in Montreal, the studio also has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, New York City and Paris. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Los Angeles Airport, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Toyota, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Madonna, Royal Caribbean and locally, Changi Airport.

If you need a good reason to venture outdoors this winter, consider ‘whale watching’ along the coastlines of South Australia.

Some of the best opportunities for whale watching in South Australia are at Head of Bight on the Nullarbor (far west coast of South Australia) and in Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Peninsula where Southern Right Whales gather to mate, give birth and nurse their calves in our winter time.


The South Australia Whale Centre have developed guidelines to ensure appropriate care is taken to protect these endangered giants as the popularity of this pastime continues to grow. Here’s their advise on Whale Watching the RIGHT way….

What makes whale watching in South Australia unique?


Southern Right Whales give birth in as little as 5 metres of water therefore come very close to shore and if undisturbed can stay in residence for 3-4 months nursing their calves until they are big and strong enough to make the long migration back to sub-Antarctic feeding grounds. This makes land-based sustainable whale watching available to everyone just 1-hour drive from Adelaide!

Migration and Conservation


Southern Right Whales feed in Antarctic waters in our summer before travelling an incredible 3-5,000kms to shallow, warmer waters off Australia, South Africa, South America and New Zealand southern coasts.

Whales visit Encounter Bay between May and November each year to give birth, nurse their young, mate and socialise. Females and their calves reside in nursery areas for up to 3-4 months.
Females are shown to have site fidelity and often return to calving and nursery grounds they have used in the past. When calves are born they average 4-5 metres in length and weigh about 1 tonne.
 Female adult Southern Right Whales can grow up to 80Tonnes and up 18metres long.

Southern Right Whales are classified as an “endangered” species under the Australian Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act. Australia is the winter home to around 2,500 of the 15,000 or so Southern Right Whales remaining worldwide; still a small fraction of the estimated 60,000 – 100,000 that existed worldwide prior to whaling. Protection of the whales and their habitat in Encounter Bay is critical for conservation of this species.



Other Whale Species


Whale watcher also frequently see Humpback Whales at various locations across the Fleurieu Peninsula during the winter months from May to October. They are also migrating north from sub-Antarctic feeding grounds, but their destination is the warmer more tropical waters of NSW, QLD and WA further north.

Resident populations of both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins also reside at various locations along the coast including Victor Harbor and can be frequently spotted from Granite Island and The Bluff in Victor Harbor.



Sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines


The South Australian Whale Centre promote sustainable Whale Watching Guidelines to protect public safety and ensure that whales keep returning to our waters into the future. Whales are very sensitive to noise pollution and can leave an area if disturbed by loud and/or fast moving boats, other vessels and aircraft such as boats, jet skis, planes and drones.
There is a Jet Ski Restriction Zone in Operation around Victor Harbor from 1st May to 30th September.


The Encounter Bay Restricted Area adds further protection for Whales in Encounter Bay by restricting boats from approaching whales closer than 300m.

Planes and remotely piloted aircraft (drones) must be at least 300m from any whale or other marine mammal at all times.


For the latest whale sighting information across South Australia visit the South Australian Whale Centre Sighting Log or call the Centre on (08) 8551 0750.