2016 Indianapolis Prize Gala Honours Conservation World's Biggest Names

2016 Prize Winner, Professor. Carl Jones, along with Finalists, Dr. Joel Berger, Dr. P. Dee Boersma, Dr. Rodney Jackson, Dr. Carl Safina and Dr. Amanda Vincent will be formally recognized at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc. on Oct. 15.

Additionally, acclaimed actor Sigourney Weaver will be recognized as the Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award Winner for her species advocacy and role connecting conservation to the public. In the days leading up to the Gala, the general public will be able to meet these conservationists as part of Indianapolis Prize programming at various community locations.INDIANAPOLIS – This weekend international attention will be on Indianapolis as heroic men and women are rewarded for their contributions to the science and sustainability of species worldwide. The Indianapolis Prize — the world’s leading award for animal conservation — highlights the Indianapolis Zoological Society Inc.’s ongoing commitment to solving global conservation challenges.

“This weekend is for celebrating real conservation victories and the heroes who work tirelessly to save the world’s wildlife and wild places,” said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc., which administers the Prize. “We are honored to recognize these remarkable individuals, and hope that their stories will empower others to become advocates for our planet and all that inhabit it.”

Professor Carl Jones earned this year’s Prize for his nearly four decades of work on the east African island of Mauritius, leading recovery efforts and restoring populations of endangered birds, reptiles and mammals. As the Winner, Jones will take home an unrestricted cash award of $250,000 and the Lilly Medal. Each of the five Finalists will receive $10,000.

“To have won the Indianapolis Prize and to be compared with people like Pat Wright, Steven Amstrup and Iain Douglas-Hamilton is a tremendous honor,” said Carl. “These are people that I’ve always admired and have done tremendous work. To think that the work that I have been doing is being compared alongside them fills me with great pride and honor.”

The Indianapolis Prize Gala will be hosted by international adventurer, TV broadcaster and writer Ben Fogle and NBC News’ chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson.

The Gala will put an international spotlight on the stories of champions and showcase ways audience members can take action.