Return Home

Wild Eyes

Back to Episode

We end the hour with the story of boy who feels great sadness at the zoo. He doesn't like cages so he sets out to dedicate his life to keeping animals in the wild. In the end though, he'll find himself back at the zoo, as a zoo employee, to accomplish his mission. 'Jaguar Man,' Alan Rabinowitz, tells us how his story of making a promise to a big cat, and traveling deep into the Belize jungle to fulfill it.


Alan Rabinowitz

Comments [24]

hick from the midwest from new york

A tear for every happy, hopeful thought.

Alan and the Jungle Prince is the kind of story which I'd read to my children, then grandchildren, in their beds at night or to a room full of 3rd or 4th graders at church on a Sunday morning, encouraging them to believe, in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary, that all living creatures are connected in a world full of mystery and wonder, and that the littlest good thing which they might do will make a difference.

Nine months ago, following multiple spinal surgeries, I was a moaning beast with empty eyes, confined to a space the size of a hospital bed. This afternoon, I was transformed into a ten year old boy, eyes sparkling with enthusiasm and a heart nearly bursting with adventurous dreams of saving the world.

Thank you for reading to me, Papa Jad.

Sep. 19 2015 08:25 PM
Jamie from United States

"Zoos: the saddest place in the world." - Jad

My sentiments exactly. I don't know why I'm listening to this episode!!! I have just come to the part where the lions howl at the zoo in China...and Jad, you summed it up perfectly.
Ok. Now to attempt to finish listening to this awful episode. lol.

Btw, love your podcast. It reminds me so much of what I loved about Carl Sagan's books. I was happy to hear Ann Druyan on an earlier episode! I have to wonder if the writers/producers were inspired by him?

Dec. 08 2014 12:14 AM
nancy from huntington beach

I was literally sobbing driving down the freeway when i heard those anguishing howls from the Tigers. Please give the listeners a heads up next time... and i waited to hear if anything was being done to free those Tigers. are they destined to life of absolute torture?

Mar. 20 2014 05:40 PM
Chris from Madison

Wow with the tears still on my cheeks and my heart pounding by the power of Dr. Rabinowitz's story and his final mystical connection with the jaguar, I simply had to come and say thank you. While thank you seems so small compared to what has now moved inside me, I don't have words for the latter. I simply bow to the universe and whatever force joined Dr. Rabinowitz, with the jaguar in the Bronx zoo, the majestic wild jaguar and the Radiolab. Thank you for sharing!!! My life is more enriched by this astounding story!!!

Mar. 15 2014 05:10 PM
Jeff Zitsman from New Rochelle

I'm listening to today's show with my pet parrot dozing on my lap. My friend Alan Rabinowitz's story remains fresh every time I hear it. Please let your listeners know of his current work at Panthera.

Mar. 15 2014 01:02 PM
Danny Carpenter from Cordova, Alaska

This was my first Radiolab story ever...It won't be my last. Thank you for putting such an amazing story together on so many levels. Listened to it on KBBI Homer, but will be pushing to get the program on our local station KCHU Valdez.

Aug. 17 2013 10:18 PM
Tugay Inal from San Diego

Just watched Life of Pie, the movie and as the credits were rolling I was on google, trying to find this very piece. While listening, besides the sounds through speakers, emotions from when I listened to the piece in 2007 came back thawed. Jad & Robert, you are very good with engaging emotionally. Can you help me find the tune at the end?

Apr. 13 2013 12:43 AM
Chris from Annapolis, Maryland

The power of a speechless boy healed by jaguars left me stunned and weeping in the middle of my kitchen. The final encounter between man and cat was nothing short of mystical-- two worlds caught up in an exchange of gifts, transcending language. Thank you.

Oct. 24 2011 10:58 AM
Amanda from Austin, TX

Absolutely amazing!!! The whole episode was great, but the last segment about Alan Rabinowitz was just so incredibly beautiful and AMAZING. I hope I can work in his sanctuary one day or do something great like he has done.

Mar. 27 2011 09:41 PM
adam from fitzroy melbourne australia


Love what you do

can someone tell me the music that preceded the segment on jaguars?

it was a string piece!!


Mar. 11 2011 02:01 AM
Emily Burke from Vancouver, Canada

Despite thoroughly enjoying all of Radiolab's podcasts, I think this one has moved me on a personal level more than any of your others. Dr. Rabinowitz's story in particular touched something very real in my heart, and is inspiring me to pursue animal conservation as a career. I don't have a lot of experience in this field yet, so I thought this would be a good place to start to ask for more information! Like for example, how do I get involved with Dr. Rabinowitz? I do hope you can offer some ideas as to how I can possibly get in touch with him, or start on my own path towards working with these beautiful animals.

And to Jad and Robert, thank you for always providing such engaging, thought-provoking material and points of views.

Nov. 11 2010 08:05 PM
Keni Washington from Indianapolis, IN

I was moved to tears by this story of how Alan's connection with animals enables him to deal with his stuttering. Very moving. Oh I know guys are not supposed to be "moved to tears." Wonderful story and a great man. Thank you for bringing it to the rest of us.

Feb. 18 2010 09:11 PM
Margelit Hoffman from Jerusalem, Israel

Alan Rabinowitz's story is so beautiful. He is such a tzaddik. Thank Gd for people like him in this world. In that last story of the jaguar following him, the jaguar was clearly saying thank you. Straight from a movie.

Feb. 11 2010 04:26 PM
Pam Fenner from Northeast Massachusetts

I heard this story when I driving on a highway in NJ a couple of years ago and it's stayed with me since then. I didn't know what station it aired from. Today it was replayed on Boston's WGBH radio today around noon as part of a program on zoos. Once again, I'm enthralled. What an inspiration not just to those who support the work of wildlife conservation, but to those who struggle with stuttering.

Dec. 16 2009 01:51 PM
Jennifer Scarlott from

For more information about Dr. Rabinowitz's work, and to support his efforts, go to

Jan. 03 2009 03:07 PM
Nick from Michigan

In other media, Alan Rabinowitz was the guest on The Colbert Report earlier this week. What he said there overlapped 90% with what he said on Radiolab, but still nice to see that his advocacy is continuing.

Jun. 11 2008 09:05 PM
Cheryl Kreiser from Maryland

What a wonderful, wonderful story! I'm going to use it in my classroom. That's okay, isn't it?
Thank you!

Jul. 04 2007 06:10 PM
Maggie Rufo from Novato, CA

I'm so glad to know that Alan Rabinowitz is still helping the jaguars. I saw a wonderful piece about him on television a few years ago (Sixty Minutes?) and he had just been disgnosed with cancer, so I hope this wonderful man is well and will keep saving jaguars for many more years!

Jul. 02 2007 07:25 PM
Michael Taylor from Pt. Reyes Station, California

What a terrific show! The last story of Alan Rabinowitz was particularly poignant -- so good that it all but undid me. At a time when things look so very dark everywhere we turn, we need to hear such stories of hope and perserverance -- now more than ever.

Jun. 30 2007 05:49 PM
Susan Larson from Wayland, Massachusetts, USA

I was about to turn of my radio after hearing the heartrending wails of the Chinese detainee tigers trapped in their tiny cages..but I didn't and so I hear Alan Rabinowitz's amazing story. I was sobbing by the end. Can we promise to save the world for wildness? God I hope so.

Jun. 27 2007 11:54 AM
Emmy Stuebing from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Thank you for "opening my ears and my heart" to the remarkable story of Dr. Rabinowitz. His story is very inspiring and it brings tears to my eyes thinking of the good work that one man (or woman) can do.

Jun. 07 2007 01:07 PM
Sigrid Mohn from St. Paul

I heard the intro with trepidation, as stories about imprisoned animals always make me sad. I'm glad a few people were able to help some of them. The end of the China story was horrifying. You've done an excellent job incorporating sound and music into the narrative of the pieces, they highlight what radio can be.

Jun. 06 2007 05:08 PM
Steven Radzikowski from New Jersey

a really great story which i missed on the radio but caught up with here online. poignant and lovely. i felt a lot of energy in this story. thank you radiolab and wnyc!

Jun. 04 2007 11:25 PM
Eileen Smith from New jersey

I was running errands while listening to this on my car radio. I sat in the car, not able to get out and continued to listen. The ending of this story had tears of reverence and wonder pouring down my face.

Jun. 02 2007 12:35 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.