The Indianapolis Prize – the world’s leading award for animal conservation – celebrated the world’s preeminent animal conservationists at the Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc. on Sept. 30, 2023, at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.
“Every two years, the international conservation community turns its eyes toward Indianapolis for the awarding of the Indianapolis Prize,” Dr. Rob Shumaker, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo said. “This event is a celebration of real-life heroes whose work makes a lasting impact on the future of our world.”
Dr. Pablo Borboroglu, the 2023 awardee and ninth winner of the Prize, received a $250,000 unrestricted grant. The award is the largest individual monetary award given in the animal conservation field. Dr. Borboroglu is the founder and president of the Global Penguin Society, an international conservation coalition for the world’s penguin species. Borboroglu works to improve penguin colony management by creating large areas of protected penguin habitat.
“I am incredibly grateful and honored to be named the 2023 Indianapolis Prize Winner,” Borboroglu said. “It’s a dream for conservationists. Receiving this award is validation that what you do is important. Wildlife conservation is critical for all of us because it helps us maintain the structure and function of the environment. This award provides motivation and more encouragement to continue pursuing my passion for protecting penguins.”
Borboroglu was selected from a group of six Finalists by a Jury of distinguished scientists and conservation leaders. The Finalists are: Dr. Christophe Boesch (Wild Chimpanzee Foundation); Dr. Gerardo Ceballos (Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico); Dr. Karen Eckert (Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network); Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (Conservation Through Public Health) and Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas (Orangutan Foundation International). Each Finalist will receive a $50,000 unrestricted grant.
New this year is the Emerging Conservationist Award to recognize and support conservationists under 40 years of age with the talent and drive to make a significant impact on saving animal species. Peruvian primatologist and anthropologist Fanny M. Cornejo is the recipient of the first Emerging Conservationist Award for her work to encourage sustainable economic development and protect habitat for threatened species in Peru. The Emerging Conservationist Award is made possible by the Kobe Foundation.
Wildlife photographer and National Geographic Explorer Joel Sartore received the 2023 Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award. In 2006, Sartore and National Geographic founded the Photo Ark project to inspire people to protect at-risk species through documentary photography and videos. To date, Sartore has captured more than 46,000 images and videos featuring 14,000 species.
The Indianapolis Prize Gala was hosted by NBC News’s chief environmental affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson, and Danni Washington, ocean activist, science communicator and founder of Big Blue & You, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about ocean conservation.