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​​​​​The 2016 Indianapolis Prize Winner​ - CARL JONES​

A conservation pioneer, leader and hero, Dr. Carl Jones exemplifies what it means to truly save a species from extinction.

Passionate about animals since childhood and inspired by the famous British conservationist Gerry Durrell, Carl has dedicated his life and career to restoring endangered animal populations and habitat, approaching conservation with a clear understanding of the necessary balance within an ecosystem. He is responsible for developing and leading successful recoveries for reptiles, mammals and birds, including the pink pigeon, echo parakeet and, most famously, the Mauritius kestrel. Carl brought the total population of the rarest bird on the planet from only four individuals to nearly 400 over the course of a decade.

 As Chief Scientist for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Carl played a central role in the creation of Mauritius’ first national park and also led the formation of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, where he is the Scientific Director.

Carl’s vision, action and determination prove that changing the future for threatened species is possible. For his unyielding efforts and momentous conservation achievements, he was awarded the 2016 Indianapolis Prize.​

​​The 2016 Indianapolis Prize Finalists

​​​The Indianapolis Prize is pleased to recognize the 2016  Finalists for their outstanding work to protect and conserve the endangered animals of our planet.

Joel Berger, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society, Colorado State University)

Dr. Berger strives to save flagship species like the muskox in the Arctic tundra and the wild yak of the alpine on the Tibetan Plateau. Beyond studying migration paths for large mammals, Berger’s actionable conservation models help researchers understand populations as modern metaphors for climate change. Berger was also a Finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize. Read more... [close]


Dee Boersma, Ph.D.: (University of Washington Department of Biology)

Penguins, as sentinels of our oceans, have no greater champion than Dr. Boersma. For more than four decades she has studied Galapagos penguins, showing how these seabirds are indicators of environmental change. She has followed the lives of Argentina’s Magellanic penguins to help strengthen protections and conservation efforts for colonies, using her science to prevent harvesting, reduce oiling and secure marine protected areas. Read more... [close]

Rodney Jackson, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Conservancy)

One of the world’s foremost experts on the elusive, endangered snow leopard, Dr. Jackson endures harsh winters and dangerous terrain to track these "ghosts of the mountain" and teach locals how to coexist peacefully with them. Jackson was also a Finalist for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Indianapolis Prize. Read more... [close]



Carl Jones, Ph.D.: (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation)

Understanding the importance of every small part of an ecosystem, Professor Jones has brought a dozen species back from the brink of extinction, including the Mauritius kestrel and echo parakeet. His revolutionary techniques have helped shape conservation work being done on the remote island of Mauritius, including the establishment of its first national park. Jones was also a Finalist for the 2012 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize. Read more... [close]


Carl Safina, Ph.D.: (The Safina Center at Stony Brook University)

A crusader for the ocean and its creatures, Dr. Safina works to effectively connect humans with marine species. He has pioneered innovative approaches to studying species ranging from reef coral to whales, and established a sustainable seafood program, bringing science-based criteria to consumers. Safina was also a Finalist for the 2010 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize. Read more... [close]



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

Among the first to study seahorses underwater, Dr. Vincent helped put the world’s 47 species on the global conservation agenda. Initiating the first seahorse conservation project, her programs have led to 35 no-take marine protected areas, the first global export controls for marine fishes and a bold new citizen science venture, iSeahorse. Vincent was also a Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize. Read more...[close]

The 2016 Indianapolis Prize Nominees

Twenty-eight nominees for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize have turned values into accomplishments, obstacles into successes and have dedicated their lives to courageous efforts across international borders. These men and women now join the ranks of recognized conservationists making strides to save species. ​

In alphabetical order...

Timothy Becker: (ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park) Dedicated naturalist at the forefront of captive rearing strategies and reintroduction for the regal fritillary butterfly.

Joel Berger, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society, Colorado State University) Distinguished scientist leading projects on pronghorn antelope migration corridors, impacts of energy development on wildlife in Greater Yellowstone, climate change on musk ox in the Alaskan Arctic, and saiga antelope conservation in Mongolia. Finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D.: (University of Washington Department of Biology) Conservationist dedicated to the study of global warming's impact on penguins; successfully stopped harvesting of penguins, and ensured development of oil tanker lines were moved away from penguin colonies as director of the Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels.

Sheila Bolin: (The Regal Swan Foundation, Inc.) Advocate for humane treatment and veterinary care for swans worldwide through conservation, research, veterinary medicine, education and swan-related product development.

Lincoln Brower, Ph.D.: (Sweet Briar College, University of Florida) Dedicated to researching the conservation of endangered biological phenomena and ecosystems, overwintering, mimicry, chemical ecology and migration biology of the monarch butterfly; field work throughout the species migratory routes, including pioneering work in the discovery and protection of nesting grounds in Central Mexico.

Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D.: (Instituto de Ecologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) Champion for jaguars in Mexico, conducting the first country-level jaguar census; developed successful conservation strategies for endangered mammals in North America, including the black-footed ferret; a key proponent in the passage of the country's Act for Endangered Species. Finalist for the 2010 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

Lisa Dabek, Ph.D.: (Papua New Guinea Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, Woodland Park Zoo) Founder of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program; responsible for the first Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea; used Crittercam© technology for the first time on arboreal mammals, allowing scientists to record animal behavior through mounted video cameras and transmitters.

Tim Davenport, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society Tanzania Program) Focused on African wildlife conservation; discovered the kipunji, one of the 25 rarest primates on the planet and the first new genus of primate discovered in Africa in more than 80 years. Helped to establish Kitulo National Park and the Rungwe Nature Reserve to protect core habitat for the species.

Joseph Duff: (Operation Migration) Co-founder and lead pilot for Operation Migration; devised protocol for guiding migratory birds with ultralight aircraft, including endangered whooping cranes.

Dante Fenolio, Ph.D.: (San Antonio Zoo) Committed to bioinventory efforts worldwide studying population ecology, trophic dynamics and conservation status of amphibians and subterranean salamanders; projects include developing and managing the Chilean Amphibian Conservation Center.

Biruté 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 Borneo.

Glenn Gauvry: (Ecological Research Development Group) Founded Ecological Research Development Group to conserve the world's four species of horseshoe crabs.

John Halas: (Environmental Moorings International, INC) Created an anchor and mooring system to prevent damage to coral reefs and the sea floor that is now implemented worldwide.

Rodney Jackson, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Conservancy) Conducted in-depth radio-tracking studies of snow leopards since the 1980s; dedicated to building local communities' capacity as key players in conserving the species. Finalist for the 2008, 2010 and 2012 Indianapolis Prize.

Christopher Jenkins, Ph.D.: (The Orianne Society) Founder of the Orianne Society, dedicating numerous years to snakes, one of the most vilified and persecuted group of animals in the world.

Carl Jones, Ph.D.: (Mauritian Wildlife Foundation) Biologist who pioneered the techniques of applied population management to reverse the decline of highly endangered species; instrumental in the creation of the first national park in Mauritius; involved in the recovery of five bird species coming from populations of less than ten specimens. Finalist for the 2012 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

Peter Knights: (WildAid) Founder of WildAid; created the Active Conservation Awareness Program, aimed at reducing demand for endangered species products by forging an approach of conservation through communication.

Laurie Marker, Ph.D.: (Cheetah Conservation Fund) Founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund, leading a conservation program from humble beginnings in rural Namibia to an unparalleled model for predator conservation. Finalist for the 2008 and 2010 Indianapolis Prize.

Charudutt Mishra, Ph.D.: (Snow Leopard Trust & Nature Conservation Foundation) Conservation biologist working to protect threatened species and habitats throughout Central Asia, with a focus on the charismatic and endangered snow leopard.

Russell Mittermeier, Ph.D.: (Conservation International) Visionary leader able to motivate every level of conservationist to support the greater good of many species; one of the first academic primatologists to become concerned with the welfare and conservation of primates. Finalist for the 2012 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

Peter Pratje, Ph.D.: (Frankfurt Zoological Society) Conservationist focused on protecting Sumatran orangutans; led the building of a rehabilitation complex in the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape and implemented guidelines for rehabilitation and reintroduction, including the first release of a zoo-born orangutan.

Alan Rabinowitz, Ph.D.: (Panthera) Advocate for wild cats; helped create the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Preserve, the world's first jaguar sanctuary; generated the first scientific research on Indochinese tigers, Asiatic leopards and leopard cats leading to the World Heritage designation of the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

Carl Safina, Ph.D.: (The Safina Center at Stony Brook University) Brought ocean conservation into the environmental mainstream by using science, art and literature to inspire a "sea ethic." Finalist for the 2010 and 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

Joel D. Sartore: (National Geographic Magazine) Renowned photojournalist with mission to give vanishing species and habitats a voice before they're gone forever; co-founder of The Grassland Foundation.

Jigmet Takpa: (Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India) Focused on evidence-based landscape-level conservation programs in Ladakh northern India, resulting in population recovery of snow leopard, Tibetan argali, gazelle and antelope, lynx, Pallas' cat, Tibetan and black-necked crane; introduced projects and technologies for local communities to regard wildlife as assets rather than threats.

Fernando Trujillo, Ph.D.: (Foundation Omacha) Conservationist dedicated to South America's pink river dolphins and affected change for unsustainable fishing practices that threaten two of the largest river systems in the world – the Amazon and Orinoco river basins.

Amanda Vincent, Ph.D.: (The University of British Columbia) First person to study seahorses underwater, document extensive trade and initiate a seahorse conservation project, Project Seahorse. Finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Prize.

David Western, Ph.D.: (African Conservation Centre) Field biologist devoted to monitoring ecosystems and habitat in Kenya's Amboseli region; established Amboseli Ecosystem Trust and the African Conservation Centre to protect wildlife, educate children and develop infrastructure.