happiness

Making more than $75,000? Have a big forest to roam? We feel for you

October 22, 2010: 11:57 AM ET

There are certain truths emerging at Pop!Tech: Preserves make jungle cats unhappy -- and money does the same to fat cats.

Alan Rabinowitz at PopTech 2010 (Photo: PopTech)

Alan Rabinowitz at PopTech 2010 (Photo: PopTech)

Far and away, the Tiger Guy stole the show yesterday. He got a standing ovation from the 500 people crowded into the Opera House—the site of the annual Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine, where the digerati meet the socially conscious. Or maybe it's more a case of the digerati ARE the socially conscious. But you get the point—everyone here wants to save the world.

Alan Rabinowitz, the Tiger Guy's proper name, is actually doing just that. The native New Yorker dedicated his life to protecting what he calls "big cats" and is CEO of Panthera, a wildlife organization that promotes conservation of endangered species. That's a laudable goal, of course, and Rabinowitz, 56, has been at its forefront since grad school. A stutterer as a kid, mortified by his condition and picked on by his peers, he clammed up around humans and would only express himself, verbally, to animals.

His affinity for non-humans led him to the jungle, where he worked with endangered jaguars, and discovered his raison d'être. After setting up preserves for jaguars and tigers and other cats across Asia, he had a horrible realization a few years ago: preserves alone might be doing more harm than good. (This is why he's speaking at a conference whose theme this year is failure.) More

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