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Two Vets Vie For $100,000 Indianapolis Prize

Edward Louis Jr., DVM, Ph.D

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Twenty-nine animal conservationists have been nominated to receive the biennial Indianapolis Prize, worth $100,000. The prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo to inspire local and global communities and to celebrate, protect and preserve the world through conservation, education and research.

Among the nominees are Edward Louis Jr., DVM, Ph.D., from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and Patrick Redig, DVM, Ph.D., from The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Louis is an advocate of island biogeography and has discovered about 30 percent of known lemurs to date, according to the Indianapolis Zoo.

Dr. Redig has dedicated more than 35 years to protecting raptor populations through field work, bench research, clinical work, professional teaching and community service.

Six finalists will be announced in the spring of 2010. The winner will be determined in mid-2010 and honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala, to be held Sept. 25, 2010 in Indianapolis.

The 2008 Indianapolis Prize was awarded to field biologist George Schaller, Ph.D., whose work spanned decades focusing on several endangered species, such as tigers in India and gorillas in Rwanda.

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

In addition to the $100,000 award, the recipient will also receive 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 Eli Lilly and Company Foundation has provided funding for the Indianapolis Prize since 2006.

 

The other nominees, with biographies provided by the Indianapolis Zoo, are:

  • Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D.: (Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) Designer of 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).
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  • Nigel Collar, Ph.D.: (BirdLife International) Researched and compiled a comprehensive dataset on globally threatened bird species that was published in regional Red Data Books worldwide.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Ruth 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Rodney Fox: (Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions/Fox Shark Research Foundation) Survivor of one of the world’s worst shark attacks; regarded as an authority on Great White Shark research, observation and conservation.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Jack Hanna: (Columbus Zoo and Aquarium) For more than 30 years, Hanna has been the public face of zoos, bringing the conservation message to people worldwide; dedicated to Rwanda’s endangered animals and its people.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Lisa Hywood: (Tikki Hywood Trust) Works to preserve Zimbabwe’s wildlife, including captive breeding, management and monitored release of endangered species and conservation education in under-privileged, rural areas.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D.: (National Wild Turkey Federation) 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.
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  • Thomas Kunz, Ph.D.: (Boston University) For more than 50 years, has contributed to the conservation and teaching of bat ecology, physiology and behavior.
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  • 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.
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  • Laurie Marker, D.Phil.: (Cheetah Conservation Fund) Founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund; led a conservation program in rural Namibia.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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. It also has an education center, rescue unit and breeding program.
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  • 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.
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  • Carl Safina, Ph.D.: (Blue Ocean Institute) Brought ocean conservation into the environmental mainstream by using science, art and literature to inspire “sea ethic.”
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  • Simon Stuart, Ph.D.: (IUCN-World Conservation Union) Developed the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, which assesses the extinction risk for species.
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  • 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. <HOME>
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