Get To Know The Indianapolis Prize

The Indy Prize Logo

The Indianapolis Prize is the world’s leading award for wildlife conservation; it recognizes and rewards conservationists who have achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. The Indianapolis Zoological Society created the Prize as part of its mission to empower people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation.

Nominees for the Indy Prize have dedicated their lives to the preservation of our planet’s wildlife and wild places. The Prize seeks to honor their heroic work and provide a higher platform to tell their stories of adventure, fierce dedication and sacrifice.

The Indy Prize is a very important way to reward conservationists who have dedicated their lives to saving wildlife. The work they do is usually conducted in difficult environments with little financial rewards and the Prize rewards conservationists both financially, with a $250,000 unrestricted prize, and through exposure by recognizing them globally as heroes in their pursuit to save endangered species, groups of species and the habitat they live in to ensure a sustainable future.

The cash prize is currently the largest monetary prize in the world, which sends a very strong global message to conservationists that their work is vital to our world.


“On behalf of MEP, we send sincere appreciation for this noble cause and what it means for the lives of so many conservationists.” – Marc Goss

The Prize was first awarded in 2006 to George Archibald, Ph.D., co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The 2008 Winner was George Schaller, Ph.D., known as one of the founding fathers of modern wildlife conservation, and both a senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and vice president for Panthera. In 2010, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., founder of MEP’s partner, Save the Elephants, received the Prize for his pioneering research in elephant social behavior and for leading the way in the fight against the poaching of African elephants. Steven Amstrup, Ph.D., chief scientist for Polar Bears International, received the 2012 Prize for his work promoting the cause of the world’s largest land carnivore. In 2014, Patricia C. Wright, Ph.D., founder of Centre ValBio, became the first woman awarded the Indianapolis Prize for her dedication to protecting Madagascar’s lemurs.

The 2016 Indianapolis Prize winner is Professor Carl Jones, Chief Scientist of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Scientific Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. As the winner, Carl will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal.

Join Mara Elephant Project on October 15 at the Indianapolis Prize Gala. Tickets are on sale now.