August 21, 2015 - WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) congratulates WCS scientists Joel Berger, P. Dee Boersma, and Tim Davenport for being nominated for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize— the world's leading award for animal conservation.

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. Recognized as the world’s leading award for animal conservation, the Indianapolis Prize is awarded biennially to an individual who has made significant strides for a species or group of species.

 The Indianapolis Prize jury, made up of distinguished conservation leaders, will determine the winner of the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, who will be announced in May of 2016 and honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala on October 15, 2016.

“WCS is proud to have these outstanding nominees in the running for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize,” said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper. “These three scientists, through their hard work, dedication, and ability to create innovative research and science-based solutions, have each contributed greatly to conservation and to a better planet.”

Joel Berger, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society, Colorado State University) Berger is a distinguished scientist leading projects on pronghorn antelope migration corridors in Greater Yellowstone, climate change on musk ox in the Alaskan Arctic and saiga antelope conservation in Mongolia. Among his accomplishments, Berger led the creation of America’s first federally sanctioned wildlife migration corridor, and more recently, has unraveled the harmful effects of the global cashmere trade on Central Asia’s endangered wildlife including wild yaks and snow leopards.  Berger has written books on wild horses, rhinos, bison, and fear in prey species, and was a finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize.

 P. Dee Boersma, Ph.D.: (University of Washington Department of Biology) Boersma has been called the “Jane Goodall of penguins,” which she considers to be sentinels of environmental threats to ocean ecosystems.  For more than 30 years she has lead WCS’s Magellanic Penguin Project at Punta Tombo, Argentina, gaining insights into penguin life– including how they are impacted by climate change and fishing.  She was successful in stopping harvesting and development of oil tanker lanes through penguin colonies and is the founder of Conservation, an award-winning conservation magazine. She is the co-chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Penguin Specialist Group.

Tim Davenport, Ph.D.: (Wildlife Conservation Society, Tanzania Program). Davenport is renowned for his broad contribution to African conservation. He has surveyed 85 forests, designed national protected area systems, and implemented major education, research, community and reforestation programs in four African countries. Davenport has helped build Africa’s next generation of conservationists through training hundreds of biologists, rangers and wardens. He has discovered 10 new species to science, including the kipunji - Africa’s rarest monkey - and Matilda’s horned viper, named after his daughter. He has been instrumental in establishing new parks and reserves across the continent, and continues to play a major role in tackling the illegal orchid, pet and ivory trades.