Finalists announced for 2020 Indianapolis Prize

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Six finalists have been announced in the 2020 Indianapolis Prize, an award for animal conservation.

“The rate at which animal extinctions have occurred over the last century is at least 100 times higher than what can be considered natural. More than one million animal species are now threatened with extinction. We can all find hope and inspiration in the victories of these conservationists who do the difficult work of saving animal species,”said Dr. Rob Shumaker, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society.

The winner of the Indianapolis Prize receives a $250,000 prize and five finalists each receive $10,000.

The finalists and winner will be honored at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., on Sept. 12, 2020.

Finalists

Dee Boersma, Ph.D.(University of Washington; Ecosystem Sentinels)

Dr. P. Dee Boersma works to protect penguins. (William Conway)

Dr. P. Dee Boersma works to protect penguins. She has stopped penguin harvesting and was able to redirect oil tanker lanes away from penguin colonies.

Dr. Boersma has also developed protected areas for penguins and constructed nesting sites to help increase the penguin population.

Part of the work also involved studying the effects of environmental changes on Galápagos penguins.

Christophe Boesch, Ph.D.(Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology; Wild Chimpanzee Foundation)

Dr. Christopher Boesch works to protect chimpanzees. (Wild Chimpanzee Foundation)

Dr. Christophe Boesch is working to save chimpanzees threatened by rapid deforestation across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Boesch has promoted new areas for protecting chimpanzee populations in Guinea and continues to study their behavior.

Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D.(National Autonomous University of Mexico, Institute of Ecology)

Dr. Gerardo Ceballos is a conservationist who works to save the Mexican jaguar and the black-footed ferret. (Indianapolis Prize)

Dr. Gerardo Ceballos is a conservationist who works to save the Mexican jaguar and the black-footed ferret.

He pushed lawmakers to create the landmark Mexican Endangered Species Act.

Dr. Ceballos also built Mexico’s national system of protected areas.

Sylvia Earle, Ph.D.(Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc.; Mission Blue; SEAlliance)

Dr. Sylvia Earle has established a global network of protected marine preserves. (Kip Evans/Mission Blue)

Dr. Sylvia Earle has established a global network of protected marine preserves.

She has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater researching and monitoring sea life.

John Robinson, Ph.D.(Wildlife Conservation Society)

Dr. John Robinson helped establish protected areas for animals and marine life around the world. (Liz Bennett)

Dr. John Robinson helped establish protected areas for animals and marine life around the world including: tigers, gorillas, forest elephants, coral species and more.

Dr. Robinson is the chief conservation officer of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

He uses field-based research to create change for wildlife around the globe.

He has focused much of his work on watching over the world’s natural resources.

Amanda Vincent, Ph.D.(The University of British Columbia, Project Seahorse)

Dr. Amanda Vincent works to protect the world's 44 species of seahorses. (Indianapolis Prize)

Dr. Amanda Vincent works to protect the world's 44 species of seahorses.

Her work led to regulations of international trade of marine fishes and protection of vital ​underwater ecosystems.

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