Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Distinguished Field Biologist George B. Schaller Receives 2008 Indianapolis Prize

Dr. George Schaller wins 2008 Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation. (PRNewsFoto/Indianapolis Zoo) NEW YORK, NY UNITED STATES 05/14/2008

14 May 2008 11:00 Africa/Lagos

Distinguished Field Biologist George B. Schaller Receives 2008 Indianapolis Prize

NEW YORK, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Relentless in his pursuit to save endangered species across the globe since 1952, the world's pre-eminent field biologist, George B. Schaller, Ph.D., has been named the 2008 recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation. In recognition for his lifetime achievements, Dr. Schaller will receive $100,000 and the Lilly Medal at a gala ceremony presented by the AES Corporation and hosted by award-winning actress and environmentalist Jane Alexander on Sept. 27, 2008, in Indianapolis.


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As 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.

Dr. Schaller turns 75 in May and 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 organization."

The Indianapolis Prize was initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo as a significant component of its mission to inspire local and global communities to celebrate, protect, and preserve our natural world through conservation, education and research. This biennial award brings the world's attention to the cause of animal conservation and the brave, talented and dedicated men and women who spend their lives saving the Earth's endangered animal species.

Photo: NewsCom:
PRN Photo Desk, Video:
Source: Indianapolis Zoo

CONTACT: Judy Gagen, Indianapolis Zoo, +1-317-630-2010,; Linda Jackson, Borshoff, +1-317-631-6400, ext. 226,, for the Indianapolis Zoo

Web site: The Indianapolis Prize

NOTE TO EDITORS: To request b-roll, please contact Linda Jackson, or (317) 631-6400. Jpg images of Dr. Schaller are available for download in the Indianapolis Prize online media kit at

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