21 Mar Uganda’s Kalema among 6 finalists battling for Shs 900m Indianapolis prize
Dr Gladys Kalema Zikusoka, a Ugandan veterinarian and founder of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) has been shortlisted among the finalists for the Indianapolis Prize 2023.
The Indianapolis prize is the most prestigious conservation award in the world presented to individuals that have made successful extraordinary conservation efforts in the field of animal species. Most of the finalists for this award often double as researchers on a specific or multi-animal species.
In 2006, the first-ever Indianapolis prize went to George W. Archibald; the co-founder of the international crane foundation. In 2008, the award was won by George B. Schaller who is a biologist, mammologist, conservationist and author with expertise in a wide range of animal species.
Every two years, the Indianapolis prize team nominates a number of people who have immensely contributed to the conservation of animals around the world, and then a team of conservation experts screens through the list to choose the finalists.
Once the list of finalists is ready, another team of experts selects the most deserving individual for the Indianapolis prize. Unlike most international awards that focus on pubic popular votes, the Indianapolis prize is awarded on the basis of a jury. Every two years, the nominating team and the jury are changed.
Indianapolis prize money
The winner of the Indianapolis prize bags $250,000 (about Shs 900 million) while the other finalists receive $10,000 each. In the early years of the Indianapolis prize (2006 to 2012), the winner used to take home $100,000.
On top of the $250,000 prize, the winner along with other finalists will be celebrated at what is known as the Indianapolis gala that will be held in downtown Indianapolis, US. At this gala, celebrities in sports, entertainment among other notable world heroes are hosted as a way to inspire them into animal conservation.
Dr Gladys Kalema Zikusoka nomination
In the footsteps of being the first Ugandan wildlife veterinarian; Dr Kalema has become the first African to feature among the finalists for the Indianapolis prize since its inception in 2006.
Last year, Kalema won the Tällberg-SNF-Eliasson Global Leadership Prize for her leadership efforts at CTPH which is championing the health of wildlife and ecosystems as well as humans and their livestock within and around Uganda protected areas.
Besides her expertise, Kalema’s conservation work is mainly through bridging the gap between humans and mountain gorillas to ensure that humans coexist with the animals in the protected areas. Her work has immensely contributed to the growth and development of sustainable gorilla tourism in Uganda.
Among the notable personalities that have been considered for this prize along with Kalema include; Biruté Mary Galdikas, PhD co-founder of Orangutan foundation international, Karen Eckert, PhD of Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network, and Pablo Borboroglu, PhD of Global Penguin Society.
Other finalists include Gerardo Ceballos, PhD, a four-time finalist for the Indianapolis Prize. He was first nominated in 2010, followed by 2014, then 2021 and now 2023. Gerardo Ceballos, PhD works with the Institute Of Ecology Of The National Autonomous University Of Mexico.
Christophe Boesch, PhD a former finalist for the 2021 Indianapolis prize has also been considered again for the 2023 Indianapolis prize. His work has been focused on understanding the life of chimpanzees, their tool use, hunting skills as well as their similarities to humans.
The Indianapolis prize has so far been won by the following notable personalities in animal conservation and research.
2021: Amanda Vincent
2018: Russell A. Mittermeier
2016: Carl Jones
2014: Patricia Wright
2012: Steven Amstrup
2010: Iain Douglas-Hamilton
2008: George Beals Schaller
2006: George W. Archibald