Photo by Steve Winter – Panthera
You can go in search of jaguars for months without seeing one. Just ask nature photographer Steve Winter. “I spent the first three months in the jungle and got a big fat zero,” he says.
Alan Rabinowitz has been studying these high endangered cats for 30 years. One of the world’s leading big cat experts, he’s the President of Panthera, which is devoted to saving the world’s wild cat species.
This Sunday, Rabinowitz will be on 60 Minutes with Bob Simon, who’s done many other animal-related pieces for the show. The story takes us to Brazil in hopes of seeing this most elusive of all of nature’s big cats.
They get lucky: Rabinowitz sees something he’s never seen before: a jaguar swimming right by their boats. “There was no fear there,” he comments. “There was just pure curiosity. Like, ‘What are you guys bothering me about?’” Then the same jaguar decides to hang around on the shore to be filmed some more.
As well as jaguars, Dr. Rabinowitz has studied jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, tigers, Sumatran rhinos, bears, leopard cats, raccoons and civets.
He helped set up a the world’s first jaguar sanctuary in Belize; in Thailand, he produced the first field research on Indochinese tigers, Asiatic leopards, and leopard cats, in what was to become the region’s first World Heritage Site; and his work in Myanmar, which is almost impenetrable to outsiders, he was able to work with the government to create five protected areas for wildlife, including the country’s first marine national park, the first and largest Himalayan national park, and the world’s largest tiger reserve.
60 Minutes this Sunday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.