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Indianapolis Zoo announces 2023 Indianapolis Prize winner

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Posted at 11:01 AM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-29 09:18:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The winner of the prestigious Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading award for animal conservation, has been announced!

Dr. Pablo Borboroglu, an internationally recognized expert on penguin ecology and land and sea conservation, was named the winner in London, where events and celebrations are taking place there in his honor.

According to the release, Borboroglu has spent more than three decades studying penguins and leading conservation efforts across four continents. In 2009, he founded and currently serves as the president of the Global Penguin Society, which has protected 32 million acres of penguin marine and terrestrial habitat. Through gaining an understanding of breeding, feeding and migration, his team can better understand the habitat needs of the species, which leads to better protections of penguin populations.

“Dr. Pablo Borboroglu is responsible for major achievements in understanding penguin behavior and ecology. He has preserved millions of acres of critical penguin habitat, which is an astonishing achievement. He is a powerful, optimistic and expert voice for animal conservation and is extremely deserving of this year’s Indianapolis Prize,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

Borboroglu is the co-founder and co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Penguin Specialist Group, which helps to assess the conservation status and advance international penguin conservation action. According to the release, he has been instrumental in creating protected wildlife areas in Argentina and implementing conservation strategies in several countries. In the same year that he founded the Global Penguin Society, he discovered only six breeding pairs of penguins at the El Pedral colony on the eastern coast of Argentina. After successfully designating that area as a wildlife refuge and reducing human impacts, the area is now home to 4,000 pairs.

“I am incredibly humbled and grateful to be named the 2023 Indianapolis Prize Winner. This prestigious award will be instrumental in supporting efforts to protect penguins and their habitat,” said Dr. Pablo Borboroglu, president of the Global Penguin Society. “Needing both land and sea, penguins face unprecedented threats requiring large-scale change. Through this award, we hope to inspire and encourage people around the world to take decisive action in safeguarding the environment. It is only through our collective efforts that we can ensure our environment and its wildlife are able to thrive.”

Check out the full interview with Borboroglu in the video above this story.

Borboroglu also has a passion for teaching the next generation about conservation. He has reached more than 200,000 students and community members across Latin American nations with his Global Penguin Society education program. These efforts include field visits for 7,000 students who live near penguin colonies, as well as the creation of free books and educational material in both English and Spanish.

“Pablo’s commitment and dedication to protecting penguins is unwavering,” said Edward Whitley Founder of the Whitley Fund for Nature. “His decades of perseverance, research and leadership are profoundly inspiring to us all.”

Borboroglu is the ninth Winner of the Indianapolis Prize and the first from South America. Founded in 2006, the Indianapolis Prize recognizes and rewards conservationists who have made significant progress in saving an animal species, or multiple species, from extinction. Winners receive an unrestricted $250,000 – the largest monetary award in the world that supports conservationists. Borboroglu, five 2023 Indianapolis Prize Finalists and the inaugural Emerging Conservationist Award Winner will be celebrated at the Indianapolis Prize gala on Sept. 30, 2023.