Six Finalists Selected for 2012 Indianapolis Prize

INDIANAPOLIS, March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Six of animal conservation’s best
have been selected as finalists for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, the world’s
leading award for animal conservation. Selected from a group of 29 outstanding
nominees, the finalists are Steven C. Amstrup, Ph.D., Markus Borner, Ph.D.,
Rodney Jackson, Ph.D., Carl Jones, Ph.D., Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D. and
Patricia Wright, Ph.D. These heroes of animal conservation were nominated by
their peers and chosen for their exceptional achievements on behalf of
endangered or at-risk species across the globe.

“These conservationists’ long-standing commitment and die-hard perseverance to
protect endangered species and their environments embodies the mission of the
Indianapolis Prize. We are honored to recognize their efforts,” said
Indianapolis Prize Chair Myrta Pulliam.

The Prize Jury, made up of distinguished conservation leaders, will determine
the winner of the 2012 Indianapolis Prize. In addition to receiving a $100,000
award, the recipient is also bestowed 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 Prize will be awarded at the Indianapolis Prize Gala
presented by Cummins Inc., Sept. 29, 2012, at the JW Marriott in downtown
Indianapolis. The 2010 biennial Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain
Douglas-Hamilton, founder and CEO of Save the Elephants and legendary
conservation figure.


Steven C. Amstrup, Ph.D.: (Polar Bears International)
As senior scientist at Polar Bears International, Steve Amstrup is universally
regarded as the most important and influential scientist working on polar bear
conservation today. Amstrup led the international team of researchers whose nine
reports became the basis for the 2008 listing of polar bears as a threatened
species under the Endangered Species Act. This listing is significant because
the polar bear is the first species to be listed on the basis of threats posed
by global warming, and Amstrup’s groundwork has increased worldwide awareness to
help save the species.

Markus Borner, Ph.D.: (Frankfurt Zoological Society)
Never hesitating to shoulder ambitious, complex and also seemingly hopeless
rhino rehabilitation projects, Markus Borner’s efforts have led to the release
of 32 black rhinos from South Africa back into their natural habitat, the
Serengeti. This marks the world’s largest reintroduction project, initiated in
2010 with the translocation of the first five rhinos.

Rodney Jackson, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Conservancy)
A three-time finalist for the Indianapolis Prize, Rodney Jackson is the world’s
foremost expert on the elusive snow leopard that serves as a flagship species
for Central Asia’s high mountains. Credited as being the first individual to
radio collar snow leopards to track their movements, Jackson has been able to
obtain unprecedented data on the species’ movements and behavior.

Carl Jones, Ph.D. (Mauritian Wildlife Foundation)
Carl Jones is a true conservationist, and he is personally credited with the
leading role in saving a dozen species from extinction, including the Mauritius
kestrels, pink pigeons and echo parakeets whose effective populations were less
than 10 and now range in the hundreds. He has revitalized dozens of degraded
islets, controlled invasive species, and re-introduced endemic plants, reptiles
and birds to the group of islands that make up the remote and beautiful Republic
of Mauritius.

Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D: (Conservation International)
Russell Mittermeier is an icon in the conservation community. He was one of the
first academic primatologists to become concerned with the sustainability and
conservation of primates, and one of the first to see conservation synergies
between field research, zoos, biomedical colonies, universities, government
agencies and sanctuaries. In spite of his role as president of Conservation
International, which has become one of the most important conservation
organizations in the world, Mittermeier himself remains a classical biologist,
escorting expeditions through forests and swamps in New Guinea, Madagascar and
Brazil, and discovering a steady stream of new primate species. He is also
credited with developing the “biodiversity hotspots,” which has become
synonymous with conservation.

Patricia Wright, Ph.D: (Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments)
A field researcher whose work reaches far beyond science, Patricia Wright has
become internationally known as a leading expert on lemurs following her
discovery of the golden bamboo lemur in 1986, a species that was then unknown to
science. That discovery helped catalyze the transformation of Madagascar’s park
system, turning it into a model for global conservation efforts.

To learn more about each of the finalists, how you can support their work, and
the Indianapolis Prize, please visit

The Indianapolis Prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo as a significant
component of its mission to empower people and communities, both locally and
globally, to advance animal conservation. This biennial 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. The recipient also receives 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 2010 Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain
Douglas-Hamilton, founder and CEO of Save the Elephants and legendary
conservation figure. Additional Prize predecessors include Dr. George Archibald,
the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, and Dr. George Schaller,
the world’s pre-eminent field biologist and vice president of science and
exploration for the World Conservation Society. The Indianapolis Prize has
received support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation since its inception
in 2006.

SOURCE Indianapolis Prize

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