Today, the Indianapolis Prize Committee have issued the following press release to publicise the nominees for the 2014 prize for animal conservation.
Andrew Conolly Nominated for Prestigious 2014 Indianapolis Prize
Work of Conolly in the Running For $250,000 Prize and Animal Conservation Award
Andrew Conolly, founder of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) – along with 38 other conservationists who have dedicated their lives to saving the Earth’s endangered species – has been nominated to receive the biennial Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. A Prize Jury will determine the winner of the Prize who will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal. Five other finalists will each receive $10,000.
“The current nominees are exceptional and they represent the most significant wildlife conservationists working in the field today,” said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, which initiated the Indianapolis Prize as part of its core mission to advance animal conservation. “There’s now pretty much a universal understanding in conservation circles that the Indianapolis Prize is the Nobel Prize of animal conservation. If you’re a wildlife conservationist, you want to win this thing.”
An international Nominating Committee composed of renowned professional conservationists and local representatives reviews all nominations and selects six finalists. The six finalists are then sent to the Prize Jury, a separate group that selects the winner. The winner will be announced in mid-2014 and honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held Sept. 27, 2014, in Indianapolis.
Andrew Conolly has devoted his life to working towards a solution to the crisis facing lions in Africa, since inheriting six captive lionesses and their cubs in 1987 with the purchase of Antelope Park in his native Zimbabwe. Recognising the possibility of rehabilitating captive lions into the wild, Conolly developed the African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program in 1999. Later, in 2005, he founded the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT). Today, there are two lion prides of captive origin released into semi-wild living areas through the program. Both have second-generation cubs with natural skills and behaviours comparable to any wild-born lion. It is these cubs which, when old enough, will be the first lions to be reintroduced into the wilds of Africa.
Conolly has never doubted his vision: “If we fail to take the opportunity to face this challenge together, we will be the most vilified generation to ever live on this continent.”
The Indianapolis Prize was first awarded in 2006 to George Archibald, Ph.D., the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The 2008 winner was George Schaller, Ph.D., senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an icon in field conservation around the world. In 2010, the Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., founder of Save the Elephants, who pioneered research in elephant social behavior and has led the way in fighting poaching of African elephants. Steven Amstrup, Ph.D., of Polar Bears International, received the 2012 Indianapolis Prize for his work with polar bears and the effect of climate change on the world’s largest land carnivore.
The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is dedicated to the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion. By means of a responsible development approach, ALERT aims to realise the species’ potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits.
ALERT is a registered charity in the UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Visit www.lionalert.org for further information.
About The Indianapolis Prize:
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 spent their lives saving the Earth’s endangered animal species. The Indianapolis Prize has received support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation since its inception in 2006.
Please join us all at ALERT in wishing Andrew Conolly every success in these prestigious awards.