The 2008 Indianapolis prize winner
in his pursuit to save endangered species across the globe since
1952, the world’s pre-eminent field biologist, George B.
Schaller, Ph.D., was named the 2008 recipient of the
Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal
conservation. In recognition for his lifetime achievements, Dr.
Schaller received $100,000 and the Lilly Medal at a gala
ceremony presented by the AES Corporation and co-hosted by
award-winning actress and environmentalist Jane Alexander and
distinguished actor Sam Waterston on September 27, 2008, in
Indianapolis. Photo, left to right, Sam Waterston,
Mike Crowther, Pawel Fludinski, George Schaller, Myrta Pulliam,
Jane Alexander. Photo by Banayote Photography.
Senior Conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society,
Dr. Schaller’s successes are numerous, including his recent work
with the endangered Tibetan antelope or chiru - at times
slaughtered for its exquisite wool used to make shahtoosh
shawls. He trekked a thousand miles across Tibet’s rugged Chang
Tang Reserve to study the chiru, wild yak and other wildlife and
make recommendations to the Chinese government. Schaller now
strives to save Marco Polo sheep, snow leopards and other
wildlife and assist the nomadic local people in achieving a
measure of harmony between rangelands, livestock and wildlife.
He is also working to create an international peace park in the
four corners of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Tajikistan.
age 75, Dr. Schaller shows no signs of slowing down. He has
worked for months on the Tibetan Plateau at altitudes of 16,000
feet and more; traveled remote, war-torn areas of Afghanistan;
and, in 2006, revisited the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the
site of one of his early forays into the wild in 1956 and the
start of his lifelong devotion to conservation.
Inspiring countless field biologists, notable in their own
rights, Dr. Schaller has written more than 220 popular and
scientific articles and 16 books, including The Serengeti Lion:
A Study of Predator-Prey Relations, a National Book Award
winner. He has also helped establish more than 15 wildlife
reserves throughout the world.
“No other individual exemplifies the spirit of this award better
than George Schaller,” said Michael Crowther, President/CEO,
Indianapolis Zoo. “He truly leads and propels others to join him
in his fight to save animals everywhere, from the tigers of
India to the gorillas of Rwanda.”
True to his view of working with locals and an eye on the
future, Schaller plans to use the Prize money to give grants to
young biologists in their own countries enabling them to gain
experience in wildlife research and conservation.
“George Schaller has literally defined the endeavor of wildlife
biology in the service of conservation. Practically anywhere
conservation is done, George has either contributed the first
great scientific study or inspired a generation of scholarship
and conservation activity -- or both,” said Steve Sanderson, CEO
of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “He is the single most
distinguished conservation practitioner I know, and his lifetime
relationship with WCS has brought great luster to our
2006 Indianapolis Prize winner,
Dr. George Archibald, co-founder, International Crane Foundation
Indianapolis Prize winner, Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton