Animal Conservationists Vie for 2010 Indianapolis Prize

Twenty-nine ani­mal con­ser­va­tion­ists who have ded­i­cated their lives to sav­ing the Earth’s endan­gered species have been nom­i­nated to receive the bien­nial Indi­anapo­lis Prize, the world’s lead­ing award for ani­mal con­ser­va­tion. The nom­i­nees’ work spans the globe, rep­re­sent­ing a range of species from insects to mam­mals, and includes amphib­ians, ele­phants, bats, wolves and sharks, among many oth­ers. The Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee will review the appli­ca­tions and select the six final­ists, who will be announced in the spring of 2010. The Prize Jury will then deter­mine the win­ner who will be announced in mid-2010 and hon­ored at the next Indi­anapo­lis Prize Gala, to be held Sep­tem­ber 25, 2010, in Indianapolis.

In addi­tion to receiv­ing the $100,000 Prize, the recip­i­ent is also awarded the Lilly Medal, an orig­i­nal work of art that sig­ni­fies the winner’s con­tri­bu­tions to con­serv­ing some of the world’s most threat­ened animals.

The 2008 Indi­anapo­lis Prize was awarded to leg­endary field biol­o­gist George Schaller, Ph.D. Schaller’s accom­plish­ments span decades and con­ti­nents, bring­ing fresh focus to the plight of sev­eral endan­gered species—from tigers in India to goril­las in Rwanda—and inspir­ing oth­ers to join the crusade.

“Fol­low­ing in Schaller’s foot­steps will not be easy, but the cur­rent nom­i­nees are excep­tional,” said Michael Crowther, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Indi­anapo­lis Zoo, the orga­ni­za­tion respon­si­ble for ini­ti­at­ing the con­ser­va­tion award. “These con­ser­va­tion­ists are all liv­ing their own unique and fas­ci­nat­ing adven­tures that bat­tle the odds, but achieve great victories.”

In alpha­bet­i­cal order, the out­stand­ing nom­i­nees for the 2010 Indi­anapo­lis Prize are:

Ger­ardo Cebal­los, Ph.D.: (Insti­tuto de Ecolo­gia, Uni­ver­si­dad Nacional Autonoma de Mex­ico) Leader in design­ing con­ser­va­tion strate­gies for endan­gered species and threat­ened ecosys­tems; con­ducted the first geo­graph­i­cally explicit analy­sis of pat­terns of pop­u­la­tion and species extinc­tion in a major tax­o­nomic group (mammals).

Nigel Col­lar, Ph.D.: (BirdLife Inter­na­tional) Researched and com­piled a unique and com­pre­hen­sive dataset on glob­ally threat­ened bird species that was pub­lished in ground­break­ing regional Red Data Books worldwide.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D.: (Save the Ele­phants) Founded Save the Ele­phants; devotes his life to the cause of ele­phant con­ser­va­tion — from tes­ti­fy­ing before Con­gress to lead­ing anti-poaching aid pro­grams in Africa.

Karen Eck­ert, Ph.D.: (WIDECAST: Wider Caribbean Sea Tur­tle Con­ser­va­tion Net­work) Ded­i­cated to research, mul­ti­lat­eral marine resource man­age­ment and the inter­na­tional con­ser­va­tion poli­cies for sea tur­tles for more than three decades.

Ruth M. Elsey, M.D.: (Louisiana Depart­ment of Wildlife and Fish­eries) Fos­tered pro­grams to enhance the sur­viv­abil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of the Amer­i­can alli­ga­tor, in addi­tion to par­al­lel efforts for other crocodilians.

George Fen­wick, Ph.D.: (Amer­i­can Bird Con­ser­vancy) Founded Amer­i­can Bird Con­ser­vancy; ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing and sus­tain­ing glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity reserves, tack­ling policy-based threats to birds and gen­er­at­ing fund­ing resources for the bio­di­ver­sity community.

Rod­ney Fox: (Rod­ney Fox Shark Expeditions/Fox Shark Research Foun­da­tion) Mir­a­cle sur­vivor of one of the world’s worst shark attacks; regarded as a world author­ity on Great White Shark research, obser­va­tion and conservation.

Birute Mary Galdikas, Ph.D.: (Orang­utan Foun­da­tion Inter­na­tional) More than 35 years of advanc­ing research on wild orang­utan ecol­ogy and behav­ior; estab­lished reha­bil­i­ta­tion and release pro­grams and saved mil­lions of acres of trop­i­cal rain for­est in Kalimantan.

Paul Gar­ber, Ph.D.: (Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois Urbana-Champaign) More than 30 years of ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment to research, con­ser­va­tion and edu­ca­tional pro­grams involv­ing the mon­keys of Latin America.

Jack Hanna: (Colum­bus Zoo and Aquar­ium) For more than 30 years, Hanna has been the pub­lic face of zoos, bring­ing the con­ser­va­tion mes­sage to mil­lions of peo­ple world­wide; pas­sion­ately ded­i­cated to Rwanda’s endan­gered ani­mals and its people.

Mau­rice Hornocker, Ph.D.: (Sel­way Insti­tute; Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus, Uni­ver­sity of Idaho) Devoted his career to under­stand­ing the eco­log­i­cal role of wild cats and advo­cat­ing for the con­ser­va­tion of large car­ni­vores, includ­ing the first-ever field inves­ti­ga­tion of cougars.

Rick Hud­son: (Fort Worth Zoo; Inter­na­tional Iguana Foun­da­tion; IUCN Tur­tle Sur­vival Alliance) Ded­i­cated advo­cate for rep­tile con­ser­va­tion, includ­ing ground­break­ing work with the Jamaican iguana and the coor­di­na­tion of the largest tur­tle res­cue event in history.

Lisa Hywood: (Tikki Hywood Trust) Works tire­lessly to pre­serve Zimbabwe’s wildlife — includ­ing cap­tive breed­ing, man­age­ment and mon­i­tored release of endan­gered species and con­ser­va­tion edu­ca­tion in under-privileged, rural areas.

Rod­ney Jack­son, Ph.D.: (Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­vancy) Con­ducted an in-depth radio-tracking study of snow leop­ards in the 1980s; ded­i­cated to build­ing local com­mu­ni­ties’ capac­ity as key play­ers in con­serv­ing the species.

Jana John­son, M.S., Ph.D.: (Moor­park Col­lege, The But­ter­fly Project) Founded The But­ter­fly Project, a cen­ter for endan­gered but­ter­fly prop­a­ga­tion and research; helped the Palos Verdes blue but­ter­fly pop­u­la­tion, once pre­sumed extinct, grow from 200 to 10,000.

James Earl Ken­namer, Ph.D.: (National Wild Turkey Fed­er­a­tion) Devoted leader in wild turkey research, sci­en­tific wildlife man­age­ment and forg­ing coop­er­a­tive con­ser­va­tion part­ner­ships to grow the wild turkey pop­u­la­tion from 1.3 mil­lion to 7 mil­lion in less than 30 years.

Thomas H. Kunz, Ph.D.: (Boston Uni­ver­sity) For more than 50 years, has sig­nif­i­cantly and instru­men­tally con­tributed to the con­ser­va­tion and teach­ing of bat ecol­ogy, phys­i­ol­ogy and behavior.

Amanda Lol­lar: (Bat World Sanc­tu­ary) Estab­lished Bat World Sanc­tu­ary, the largest reha­bil­i­ta­tion facil­ity in the world ded­i­cated exclu­sively to bats; cre­ated the first nutri­tion­ally sound diet for debil­i­tated bats.

Edward Louis Jr., Ph.D., DVM: (Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo) Tire­less con­ser­va­tion advo­cate of island bio­geog­ra­phy, includ­ing the dis­cov­ery of 30 per­cent of known lemurs to date.

Lau­rie Marker, D.Phil.: (Chee­tah Con­ser­va­tion Fund) Founded the Chee­tah Con­ser­va­tion Fund; led a con­ser­va­tion pro­gram from hum­ble begin­nings in rural Namibia to an unpar­al­leled model for preda­tor conservation.

Stephen McCul­loch: (Har­bor Branch Oceano­graphic Insti­tu­tion) Cre­ated leg­is­la­tion to fund sev­eral ongo­ing marine mam­mal research and con­ser­va­tion pro­grams while work­ing to con­struct the first teach­ing marine mam­mal hos­pi­tal, sci­ence and edu­ca­tion center.

Rodrigo Medellin, Ph.D.: (Uni­ver­sity of Mex­ico) Gal­va­nized bat research through­out Latin Amer­ica by using a mul­ti­pronged approach includ­ing research, edu­ca­tion, pop­u­la­tion biol­ogy, mol­e­c­u­lar ecol­ogy and com­mu­nity involvement.

Gre­gory Ras­mussen, Ph.D.: (Painted Dog Con­ser­va­tion) Dili­gent advo­cate of the crit­i­cally endan­gered African wild dogs; founder of the Painted Dog Con­ser­va­tion, which strives to increase the range and num­bers of wild dogs in Zim­babwe and else­where in Africa.

Patrick T. Redig, DVM, Ph.D.: (The Rap­tor Cen­ter, Col­lege of Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cine, Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota) Ded­i­cated more than 35 years to pro­tect­ing rap­tor pop­u­la­tions though exten­sive field work, bench research, clin­i­cal work, pro­fes­sional teach­ing and com­mu­nity service.

Lente Lidia Roode: (Hoed­spruit Endan­gered Species Cen­tre) Estab­lished the Hoed­spruit Endan­gered Species Cen­tre, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides a safe haven for orphaned and sick ani­mals, com­plete with an edu­ca­tion cen­ter, res­cue unit and breed­ing program.

Patrick Rose: (Save the Man­a­tee Club) Worked to help edu­cate oppo­nents, build coali­tions and focus on spe­cific pro­tec­tion goals for man­a­tees, includ­ing pro­tect­ing the manatee’s habi­tat and advo­cat­ing for strong growth man­age­ment laws.

Carl Safina, Ph.D.: (Blue Ocean Insti­tute) Brought ocean con­ser­va­tion into the envi­ron­men­tal main­stream by using sci­ence, art and lit­er­a­ture to inspire “sea ethic.”

Simon Stu­art, Ph.D.: (IUCN-World Con­ser­va­tion Union) Devel­oped the IUCN Red List Cat­e­gories and Cri­te­ria, which assesses the extinc­tion risk for species.

Amanda Vin­cent, Ph.D.: (The Uni­ver­sity of British Colum­bia) First per­son to study sea­horses under­wa­ter, doc­u­ment exten­sive com­mer­cial trade, and ini­ti­ate a sea­horse con­ser­va­tion project, Project Seahorse.

The bien­nial $100,000 Indi­anapo­lis Prize rep­re­sents the largest indi­vid­ual mon­e­tary award for ani­mal con­ser­va­tion in the world and is given as an unre­stricted gift to the cho­sen hon­oree. The Indi­anapo­lis Prize was ini­ti­ated by the Indi­anapo­lis Zoo as a sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of its mis­sion to inspire local and global com­mu­ni­ties and to cel­e­brate, pro­tect and pre­serve our nat­ural world through con­ser­va­tion, edu­ca­tion and research. This award brings the world’s atten­tion to the cause of ani­mal con­ser­va­tion and the brave, tal­ented and ded­i­cated men and women who spend their lives sav­ing the Earth’s endan­gered ani­mal species. It was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the Inter­na­tional Crane Foun­da­tion and one of the world’s great field biol­o­gists. In 2008, the Indi­anapo­lis Prize went to Dr. George Schaller, the world’s pre­em­i­nent field biol­o­gist and vice pres­i­dent of sci­ence and explo­ration for the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety. The Eli Lilly and Com­pany Foun­da­tion has pro­vided fund­ing for the Indi­anapo­lis Prize since 2006.

Twenty-nine ani­mal con­ser­va­tion­ists who have ded­i­cated their lives to sav­ing the Earth’s endan­gered species have been nom­i­nated to receive the bien­nial Indi­anapo­lis Prize. The nom­i­nees’ work spans the globe, rep­re­sent­ing a range of species from insects to mam­mals, and includes amphib­ians, ele­phants, bats, wolves and sharks, among many oth­ers. The Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee will review the appli­ca­tions and select the six final­ists, who will be announced in the spring of 2010. The Prize Jury will then deter­mine the win­ner who will be announced in mid-2010 and hon­ored at the next Indi­anapo­lis Prize Gala, to be held Sep­tem­ber 25, 2010, in Indianapolis.

In addi­tion to receiv­ing the $100,000 Prize, the recip­i­ent is also awarded the Lilly Medal, an orig­i­nal work of art that sig­ni­fies the winner’s con­tri­bu­tions to con­serv­ing some of the world’s most threat­ened animals.

The 2008 Indi­anapo­lis Prize was awarded to leg­endary field biol­o­gist George Schaller, Ph.D. Schaller’s accom­plish­ments span decades and con­ti­nents, bring­ing fresh focus to the plight of sev­eral endan­gered species—from tigers in India to goril­las in Rwanda—and inspir­ing oth­ers to join the crusade.

“Fol­low­ing in Schaller’s foot­steps will not be easy, but the cur­rent nom­i­nees are excep­tional,” said Michael Crowther, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Indi­anapo­lis Zoo, the orga­ni­za­tion respon­si­ble for ini­ti­at­ing the con­ser­va­tion award. “These con­ser­va­tion­ists are all liv­ing their own unique and fas­ci­nat­ing adven­tures that bat­tle the odds, but achieve great victories.”

The nom­i­nees for the 2010 Indi­anapo­lis Prize include many indi­vid­u­als work­ing to con­serve the diverse wildlife of Africa:

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D.: (Save the Ele­phants) Founded Save the Ele­phants; devotes his life to the cause of ele­phant conservation—from tes­ti­fy­ing before Con­gress to lead­ing anti-poaching aid pro­grams in Africa.

Jack Hanna: (Colum­bus Zoo and Aquar­ium) For more than 30 years, Hanna has been the pub­lic face of zoos, bring­ing the con­ser­va­tion mes­sage to mil­lions of peo­ple world­wide; pas­sion­ately ded­i­cated to Rwanda’s endan­gered ani­mals and its people.

Lisa Hywood: (Tikki Hywood Trust) Works tire­lessly to pre­serve Zimbabwe’s wildlife—including cap­tive breed­ing, man­age­ment and mon­i­tored release of endan­gered species and con­ser­va­tion edu­ca­tion in under-privileged, rural areas.

Lau­rie Marker, D.Phil.: (Chee­tah Con­ser­va­tion Fund) Founded the Chee­tah Con­ser­va­tion Fund; led a con­ser­va­tion pro­gram from hum­ble begin­nings in rural Namibia to an unpar­al­leled model for preda­tor conservation.

Gre­gory Ras­mussen, Ph.D.: (Painted Dog Con­ser­va­tion) Dili­gent advo­cate of the crit­i­cally endan­gered African wild dogs; founder of the Painted Dog Con­ser­va­tion, which strives to increase the range and num­bers of wild dogs in Zim­babwe and else­where in Africa.

Lente Lidia Roode: (Hoed­spruit Endan­gered Species Cen­tre) Estab­lished the Hoed­spruit Endan­gered Species Cen­tre, a non­profit orga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides a safe haven for orphaned and sick ani­mals, com­plete with an edu­ca­tion cen­ter, res­cue unit and breed­ing program.

Addi­tional nom­i­nees work­ing out­side of Africa:

Karen Eck­ert, Ph.D.: (WIDECAST: Wider Caribbean Sea Tur­tle Con­ser­va­tion Net­work) Ded­i­cated to research, mul­ti­lat­eral marine resource man­age­ment and the inter­na­tional con­ser­va­tion poli­cies for sea tur­tles for more than three decades.

Ger­ardo Cebal­los, Ph.D.: (Insti­tuto de Ecolo­gia, Uni­ver­si­dad Nacional Autonoma de Mex­ico) Leader in design­ing con­ser­va­tion strate­gies for endan­gered species and threat­ened ecosys­tems; con­ducted the first geo­graph­i­cally explicit analy­sis of pat­terns of pop­u­la­tion and species extinc­tion in a major tax­o­nomic group (mammals).

Nigel Col­lar, Ph.D.: (BirdLife Inter­na­tional) Researched and com­piled a unique and com­pre­hen­sive dataset on glob­ally threat­ened bird species that was pub­lished in ground­break­ing regional Red Data Books worldwide.

Ruth M. Elsey, M.D.: (Louisiana Depart­ment of Wildlife and Fish­eries) Fos­tered pro­grams to enhance the sur­viv­abil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of the Amer­i­can alli­ga­tor, in addi­tion to par­al­lel efforts for other crocodilians.

George Fen­wick, Ph.D.: (Amer­i­can Bird Con­ser­vancy) Founded Amer­i­can Bird Con­ser­vancy; ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing and sus­tain­ing glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant bio­di­ver­sity reserves, tack­ling policy-based threats to birds and gen­er­at­ing fund­ing resources for the bio­di­ver­sity community.

Rod­ney Fox: (Rod­ney Fox Shark Expeditions/Fox Shark Research Foun­da­tion) Mir­a­cle sur­vivor of one of the world’s worst shark attacks; regarded as a world author­ity on Great White Shark research, obser­va­tion and conservation.

Birute Mary Galdikas, Ph.D.: (Orang­utan Foun­da­tion Inter­na­tional) More than 35 years of advanc­ing research on wild orang­utan ecol­ogy and behav­ior; estab­lished reha­bil­i­ta­tion and release pro­grams and saved mil­lions of acres of trop­i­cal rain for­est in Kalimantan.

Paul Gar­ber, Ph.D.: (Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois Urbana-Champaign) More than 30 years of ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment to research, con­ser­va­tion and edu­ca­tional pro­grams involv­ing the mon­keys of Latin America.

Mau­rice Hornocker, Ph.D.: (Sel­way Insti­tute; Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus, Uni­ver­sity of Idaho) Devoted his career to under­stand­ing the eco­log­i­cal role of wild cats and advo­cat­ing for the con­ser­va­tion of large car­ni­vores, includ­ing the first-ever field inves­ti­ga­tion of cougars.

Rick Hud­son: (Fort Worth Zoo; Inter­na­tional Iguana Foun­da­tion; IUCN Tur­tle Sur­vival Alliance) Ded­i­cated advo­cate for rep­tile con­ser­va­tion, includ­ing ground­break­ing work with the Jamaican iguana and the coor­di­na­tion of the largest tur­tle res­cue event in history.

Rod­ney Jack­son, Ph.D.: (Snow Leop­ard Con­ser­vancy) Con­ducted an in-depth radio-tracking study of snow leop­ards in the 1980s; ded­i­cated to build­ing local com­mu­ni­ties’ capac­ity as key play­ers in con­serv­ing the species.

Jana John­son, M.S., Ph.D.: (Moor­park Col­lege, The But­ter­fly Project) Founded The But­ter­fly Project, a cen­ter for endan­gered but­ter­fly prop­a­ga­tion and research; helped the Palos Verdes blue but­ter­fly pop­u­la­tion, once pre­sumed extinct, grow from 200 to 10,000.

James Earl Ken­namer, Ph.D.: (National Wild Turkey Fed­er­a­tion) Devoted leader in wild turkey research, sci­en­tific wildlife man­age­ment and forg­ing coop­er­a­tive con­ser­va­tion part­ner­ships to grow the wild turkey pop­u­la­tion from 1.3 mil­lion to 7 mil­lion in less than 30 years.

Thomas H. Kunz, Ph.D.: (Boston Uni­ver­sity) For more than 50 years, has sig­nif­i­cantly and instru­men­tally con­tributed to the con­ser­va­tion and teach­ing of bat ecol­ogy, phys­i­ol­ogy and behavior.

Amanda Lol­lar: (Bat World Sanc­tu­ary) Estab­lished Bat World Sanc­tu­ary, the largest reha­bil­i­ta­tion facil­ity in the world ded­i­cated exclu­sively to bats; cre­ated the first nutri­tion­ally sound diet for debil­i­tated bats.

Edward Louis Jr., Ph.D., DVM: (Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo) Tire­less con­ser­va­tion advo­cate of island bio­geog­ra­phy, includ­ing the dis­cov­ery of 30 per­cent of known lemurs to date.

Stephen McCul­loch: (Har­bor Branch Oceano­graphic Insti­tu­tion) Cre­ated leg­is­la­tion to fund sev­eral ongo­ing marine mam­mal research and con­ser­va­tion pro­grams while work­ing to con­struct the first teach­ing marine mam­mal hos­pi­tal, sci­ence and edu­ca­tion center.

Rodrigo Medellin, Ph.D.: (Uni­ver­sity of Mex­ico) Gal­va­nized bat research through­out Latin Amer­ica by using a mul­ti­pronged approach includ­ing research, edu­ca­tion, pop­u­la­tion biol­ogy, mol­e­c­u­lar ecol­ogy and com­mu­nity involvement.

Patrick T. Redig, DVM, Ph.D.: (The Rap­tor Cen­ter, Col­lege of Vet­eri­nary Med­i­cine, Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota) Ded­i­cated more than 35 years to pro­tect­ing rap­tor pop­u­la­tions though exten­sive field work, bench research, clin­i­cal work, pro­fes­sional teach­ing and com­mu­nity service.

Patrick Rose: (Save the Man­a­tee Club) Worked to help edu­cate oppo­nents, build coali­tions and focus on spe­cific pro­tec­tion goals for man­a­tees, includ­ing pro­tect­ing the manatee’s habi­tat and advo­cat­ing for strong growth man­age­ment laws.

Carl Safina, Ph.D.: (Blue Ocean Insti­tute) Brought ocean con­ser­va­tion into the envi­ron­men­tal main­stream by using sci­ence, art and lit­er­a­ture to inspire “sea ethic.”

Simon Stu­art, Ph.D.: (IUCN-World Con­ser­va­tion Union) Devel­oped the IUCN Red List Cat­e­gories and Cri­te­ria, which assesses the extinc­tion risk for species.

Amanda Vin­cent, Ph.D.: (The Uni­ver­sity of British Colum­bia) First per­son to study sea­horses under­wa­ter, doc­u­ment exten­sive com­mer­cial trade, and ini­ti­ate a sea­horse con­ser­va­tion project, Project Seahorse.

The bien­nial $100,000 Indi­anapo­lis Prize rep­re­sents the largest indi­vid­ual mon­e­tary award for ani­mal con­ser­va­tion in the world and is given as an unre­stricted gift to the cho­sen honoree.

The Indi­anapo­lis Prize was ini­ti­ated by the Indi­anapo­lis Zoo as a sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of its mis­sion to inspire local and global com­mu­ni­ties and to cel­e­brate, pro­tect and pre­serve our nat­ural world through con­ser­va­tion, edu­ca­tion and research. This award brings the world’s atten­tion to the cause of ani­mal con­ser­va­tion and the brave, tal­ented and ded­i­cated men and women who spend their lives sav­ing the Earth’s endan­gered ani­mal species. It was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the Inter­na­tional Crane Foun­da­tion and one of the world’s great field biologists.

In 2008, the Indi­anapo­lis Prize went to Dr. George Schaller, the world’s pre­em­i­nent field biol­o­gist and vice pres­i­dent of sci­ence and explo­ration for the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety. The Eli Lilly and Com­pany Foun­da­tion has pro­vided fund­ing for the Indi­anapo­lis Prize since 2006.

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