Ten Finalists Announced

Saving Species Challenge

From 52 applications to 10; the Indianapolis Zoo has selected the finalists in the running for its $1 million Saving Species Challenge. The Challenge, which attracted applications for species from 46 nations, will support a single project working to save a species from extinction.

The Indianapolis Zoo created the Saving Species Challenge last year with the goal of funding one plan with the potential to improve the status of one species that is currently designated as threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Extinct in the Wild) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Applicants submitted five-year plans to reverse the decline of a species in a way that was measurable and sustainable. The Zoo will announce the winner in the fall of 2024.

“These 10 plans demonstrate remarkable thought and expertise, and each is exceptionally well done. I am confident this grant will successfully save a species,” said Dr. Robert Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo President & CEO.

“The Saving Species Challenge has mobilized the global conservation community to respond the question: what does it take to save a species?” said Jon Paul Rodriguez, Commission Chair of the Species Survival Commission. “Dozens of teams got together and developed action plans, following the principles developed by the Conservation Planning Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Only one will be funded, but these ten finalists have produced a blueprint that now can serve as inspiration to other donors wanting to make a difference in species conservation and reversing decline.”

The Saving Species Challenge was informed by worldwide conservation experts and the IUCN Species Survival Commission with the intent to downlist threatened species that are assessed on the IUCN Red List. For example, if a species is currently listed as Extinct in the Wild, meeting the conditions for it to be downlisted to Critically Endangered or better would recognize a significant improvement in preventing extinction of that species.

The winner of the Indianapolis Zoo Saving Species Challenge will have five years to implement their program and show progress. The decision now rests in the hands of a jury of international animal conservationists.

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