The Indianapolis Prize is given every other year to an individual who has
made extraordinary contributions to conservation efforts involving a single
animal species or multiple species.
The Prize includes an unrestricted cash award of $250,000 beginning with the
2014 presentation of the Prize, plus the Lilly Medal. Formerly, the winner
received $100,000. Also beginning in 2014, the other five non-winning
finalists for the Prize will receive awards of $10,000 each.
The nominees for the biennial Prize, the world's leading award for animal
are reviewed by
two international committees – a nine-person nominating committee that
narrows the field down to six finalists, and a jury that then selects the
winner. The nominating committee and jury include new members for each
two-year Prize cycle, and they include some of the leading people in the
Once the six finalists have been selected, an original video is produced on
location for each finalist that focuses on their lives and work. These
professionally produced videos are shot in high definition, and they are
made available at no charge to the finalists and their organizations to
assist them in promoting their work to donors and other audiences.
most impressive aspect, however, involves their presentation at the
Indianapolis Prize Gala, presented by
Cummins, Inc., which in 2012 was held on September 29 at
in downtown Indianapolis. The finalists were featured before an influential
audience of 1,000 and in a variety of other outreach and communication
activities designed to tell their stories. To view the video
presentations on the six finalists,
The first three winners of the $100,000 award were selected from a slate of
internationally recognized conservationists and announced at extraordinary
celebrations in Indianapolis, the first on September 30, 2006, and the
second on September 27, 2008, and the third on September 25, 2010.
first two Indianapolis Prize Galas were presented by
AES Corporation, the
parent corporation of Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), while the
2010 and 2012 Galas were presented by
Cummins Inc. They highlighted not only the
finalists and winners, but also the vitality and commitment of the
Indianapolis community. The
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation provides funding for the Indianapolis
Prize. In addition to the $100,000 unrestricted cash award, the winner
receives the prestigious Lilly
This Gala celebration draws international attention to conservation issues and
receives extensive media coverage. It is not designed to be a quiet,
academic, scientist-focused event, but instead an energetic and spectacular
celebration of conservation victories. The goal is to inspire the
general public to start caring about conservation, and to place heroes, who
live in tents in danger of both wild beasts and poachers, on the pedestal
that we usually reserve for sports and entertainment stars.
was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International
Crane Foundation and one of the world's great field biologists. In
2008, the Indianapolis Prize went to
Dr. George Schaller, the world's
pre-eminent field biologist and vice president of science and exploration
for the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The 2010 winner was Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder and president of Save
the Elephants and the world's pre-eminent elephant researcher.
The Indianapolis Prize is a significant component of the internationally
recognized conservation efforts being undertaken by the Indianapolis
Special thanks to Dennis Hansen for permission to use his beautiful
photo of the echo parakeet in flight in Mauritius on the home page of this