INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As the need for wildlife conservation grows exponentially, the Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation, elevates a message of hope for our planet. Today, Indianapolis Prize officials announced 31 global leaders in the field as Nominees for the 2020 award. These men and women are at the forefront of innovative research, scientific advances and incredible efforts bringing animals back from the brink of extinction.
"These remarkable Nominees are responsible for some of the finest conservation work occurring on our planet today. They lead, protect, inspire and offer hope for everyone who cares about the natural world," said Dr. Rob Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo president. "I am immensely proud that we can highlight their important achievements through the Indianapolis Prize."
Nominees hail from countries across the globe, focused on animals both iconic and unique, from primates and elephants to marine mammals and birds. The Winner of the Prize receives an unrestricted $250,000 cash award while five remaining Finalists will each receive $10,000.
Internationally renowned professional conservationists and local representatives make up a Nominating Committee and Jury who will select six Finalists and determine a Winner, respectively. These selected conservationists will then be honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held Sept. 12, 2020.
In alphabetical order, the Nominees for the 2020 Indianapolis Prize are:
- Bala Amarasekaran (Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary)
- Purnima Devi Barman, Ph.D. (Aaranyak Biodiversity Conservation Society)
- Caroline Blanvillain, Ph.D. (Société d'Ornithologie de Polynésie)
- P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D. (University of Washington; Ecosystem Sentinels)
- Christophe Boesch, Ph.D. (Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology; Wild Chimpanzee Foundation)
- Sheila Bolin (The Regal Swan Foundation, Inc.)
- Richard Bonham (Big Life Foundation Kenya)
- Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D. (Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico)
- Lisa Dabek, Ph.D. (Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program; Woodland Park Zoo)
- Sarah Durant, Ph.D. (Zoological Society of London)
- Sylvia Earle, Ph.D. (Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc.; Mission Blue; SEAlliance)
- Suwanna Gauntlett, Ph.D. (Wildlife Alliance)
- Issa Gedi (Northern Rangelands Trust; Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy and Sanctuary)
- LoraKim Joyner (One Earth Conservation)
- Tah Eric Kaba (The Last Great Ape Organization)
- Robert Lacy, Ph.D. (Chicago Zoological Society, Species Conservation Toolkit Initiative; IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group)
- Harvey Locke (Harvey Locke Consulting)
- Roderic Mast (Oceanic Society)
- Debra Moskovits, Ph.D. (The Field Museum)
- Ikponke Nkanta (Tropical Research and Conservation Centre)
- Olivier Nsengimana, DVM, MVetSci (Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association)
- Jamie Rappaport Clark (Defenders of Wildlife)
- Paul Ritter (Pontiac Township High School)
- John Robinson, Ph.D. (Wildlife Conservation Society)
- Ian Singleton, Ph.D. (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme; PanEco-YEL)
- Angela Smith (Shark Team One)
- Jigmet Takpa (Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India; Department of Wildlife Protection)
- Martin Tyner (Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah)
- Amanda Vincent, Ph.D. (Project Seahorse)
- William Weber, Ph.D. (Yale University)
- Long Yongcheng, Ph.D. (Alashan Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology; The Nature Conservancy)
A History of Indianapolis Prize Winners
The Indianapolis Prize was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The 2008 winner was George Schaller, Ph.D., known as one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation, and both a senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and vice president for Panthera. In 2010, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., founder of Save the Elephants, received the Prize for his pioneering research in elephant social behavior and for leading the way in the fight against the poaching of African elephants. Steven Amstrup, Ph.D., chief scientist for Polar Bears International, received the 2012 Prize for his work promoting the cause of the world's largest land carnivore. In 2014, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, founder of Centre ValBio, became the first woman awarded the Indianapolis Prize for her dedication to saving Madagascar's famed lemurs from extinction. Last year, Dr. Carl Jones received the 2016 Indianapolis Prize for his species recovery success on the island of Mauritius, including the echo parakeet, pink pigeon and Mauritius kestrel. Russ Mittermeier, Ph.D., Chief Conservation Officer of Global Wildlife Conservation earned the 2018 Prize for championing the concept of biodiversity hotspots and protecting the endemic species relying on those critical habitats.
ABOUT THE INDIANAPOLIS PRIZE
The Indianapolis Prize recognizes and rewards conservationists who have achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. Winners receive an unrestricted $250,000 award. Remaining Finalists each receive $10,000.
SOURCE Indianapolis Prize