“A Voice for the Animals” explores the thoughts and life of Alan Rabinowitz. A profound stutterer as a child left him virtually unable to communicate with people. When he’d get home, he’d hide in his closet and talk to his pet turtle. It was the animals that helped him reenter the world of humans.
And now he’s one of the world’s leading conservationists. He’s called the “the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation” by The New York Times and fights for some of the world’s biggest cats in some of the world’s last wild places. He offers extraordinary insight into both animals and the human condition:
“I not only wanted to go out and challenge myself against the environment, against odds, and explore wild places, I also wanted to be a voice for the animals. I did want to save wildlife. I always appreciated science more than any other course I studied because to me science was its own language. Science was a language of truths that would be there apart from whether human beings were on this earth or not. Science presented certain facts and certain realities. It allowed me to delve into a world that didn’t have to do with speech or anything else like that, that was human-centric but had a life of its own.”
The Gift of Stuttering and Animals
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
This week’s guest, Alan Rabinowitz, stuttered as a child with such severity that he would sometimes go into twists and spasms when he tried to speak. He hadn’t even spoken a full sentence to a human being until high school.
The audio above is excerpted from a section of the unedited interview that we reluctantly had to cut for time. Rabinowitz goes into detail about this childhood stutter and explains the journey he undertook to becoming a “fluent stutterer.” Listen to his moving account in which he describes how these extreme tactics, including electro-shock treatment, ultimately led him to find his voice, and why that drove him into a life as a wildlife biologist and conservationist.