INDIANAPOLIS - This year's internationally acclaimed conservation award is going to a woman for the first time in its history.
Indianapolis Zoological Society officials announced Tuesday morning that Dr. Patricia C. Wright is the winner of the 2014 Indianapolis Prize.
Dr. Wright is known for her dedication to protecting the lemurs, people and ecosystems of Madagascar.
As part of the award, the professor of anthropology at Stony Brook University will get $250,000 and the Lilly Medal. She also joins the list of winners that comprises some of the most celebrated conservationists on the planet.
"A static summary of achievements is not enough to convey (Dr. Wright's) impact on protecting lemurs and their habitat in Madagascar," President and CEO of the Indy Zoological Society Michael Crowther said. "Her approach has been hugely successful at the intersection of conservation and community-building. We hope that her remarkable story will empower others to become advocates for our planet and the wildlife that inhabit it.
Dr. Wright is the first woman to win the award since it was established in 2006.
Dr. Wright is best known for her nearly 30-year study of social and family interactions of wild lemurs in Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar. She also founded the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments and Centre ValBio.
In the late 1980s, Dr. Wright was the leader of a project that just a couple years later led to the establishment of Ranomafana National Park.
Wright and five other finalists will be recognized at the Indianapolis Prize Gala in September, which is when she'll receive her prize and the Lilly Medal. The other five finalists will each receive $10,000.
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