INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Zoological Society has announced the nominees for the world's leading animal conservation award, the Indianapolis Prize. The 2020 award has 31 nominees who have worked with scientific advances to bring animals back from near extinction. A nominating committee and jury, consisting of local representatives and conservationists, will choose six finalists for the Indianapolis Prize. The winner of the $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Award will be announced next spring, with all six finalists receiving $10,000 at the Indianapolis Prize Gala on September 12, 2020. 

“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 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. (Paupa 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) 
The Indianapolis Prize is awarded every two years. Russell A. Mittermeier won in 2018 for his work in Global Wildlife Conservation.