Woodland Park Zoo’s conservation scientist Lisa Dabek, Ph.D. nominated for the prestigious 2016 Indianapolis Prize

SEATTLE, 2015-8-20 — /Travel PR News/ — Woodland Park Zoo’s senior conservation scientist Lisa Dabek, Ph.D., has been nominated for the prestigious 2016 Indianapolis Prize in recognition of her groundbreaking conservation efforts in Papua New Guinea to save the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo through Woodland Park Zoo’s flagship conservation program, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP).

The 2016 Indianapolis Prize marks a decade of celebrating true heroes in the field of animal conservation and endeavors to sustain the planet’s wild things and wild places. The biennial Prize shines a spotlight on the victorious men and women who are solidifying the future for millions of people and animals. Twenty-eight nominees for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize now join the ranks of recognized conservationists making strides to save species. The winner of the Prize will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal. Five other finalists will each receive $10,000. The nominees’ work spans the globe and represents an incredible range of species from the sky to the sea, including tree kangaroos, orangutans, snow leopards, sea horses, cheetahs and many more.

Dabek founded TKCP in 1996 to foster wildlife and habitat conservation and support local community livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (PNG)—home to the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo—working with local communities to save the animal and the forest resources they share. In 2009, TKCP worked with indigenous landowners to help create Papua New Guinea’s first ever Conservation Area, officially recognized by the national government. Landowners pledged more than 180,000 acres of rain forest habitat for the protection of tree kangaroos and other endemic species of PNG’s Huon Peninsula. By uniting PNG landowners, government officials, and conservation partners, TKCP has created a community of conservation advocates to address long-term management for the Conservation Area and improvement opportunities to better the livelihood of the surrounding communities.

TKCP is considered a model for community-based conservation in the country, providing lessons and insights to the PNG Government for the continued development of national conservation policies. In 2014 Lisa and the TKCP team won the esteemed United Nations Equator Prize, and in 2015 the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ International Conservation Award for the second time.

“Lisa’s tireless commitment to studying the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo and her groundbreaking work with TKCP has resulted in major strides toward creating a sustainable, healthy environment that maintains the unique biodiversity of Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of human communities,” said Bruce Bohmke, Woodland Park Zoo’s acting President and CEO. “Her innovative field conservation efforts—such as using National Geographic Crittercams© for the first time on arboreal mammals, allowing scientists to record animal behavior through mounted video cameras and transmitters—have helped protect the Matschie’s tree kangaroo while also creating successful conservation methods that support the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea. Woodland Park Zoo is proud to work in partnership with TKCP and congratulates Lisa on her accomplishments.”

A Nominating Committee and Jury composed of internationally renowned professional conservationists and local representatives will select six finalists and determine a winner, respectively. These finalists will be honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., on October 15, 2016, in Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis Prize was first awarded in 2006 to Dr. George Archibald, the co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The 2008 winner was George Schaller, Ph.D., senior conservationist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and an icon in field conservation around the world. In 2010, the Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., founder of Save the Elephants, who pioneered research in elephant social behavior and has led the way in fighting poaching of African elephants. Steven Amstrup, Ph.D., of Polar Bears International, received the 2012 Indianapolis Prize for his work promoting the cause of the world’s largest land carnivore. Last year, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, founder of Centre ValBio, became the first woman awarded with the Indianapolis Prize for her dedication to saving Madagascar’s famed lemurs from extinction.

Media contact:
Gigi Allianic, Alissa Wolken 206.548.2550 | woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org

SOURCE: Woodland Park Zoo