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  • Writer's pictureJoey Amato

Indianapolis Zoo Launches $1 Million Saving Species Challenge


The Indianapolis Zoological Society announced a bold grant program to reverse the decline of an animal species heading toward extinction. The Indianapolis Zoo Saving Species Challenge will award a $1 million grant to one organization that can develop and execute a plan that will have a measurable and sustainable impact on the survival of an animal species.

Field conservationists from around the world are invited to apply and present a plan to identify an animal species that is currently designated as threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Extinct in the wild) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List and create a program that would lead to an improvement in the species’ status.


“The Indianapolis Zoo searched for a big idea to make a real difference and support field conservationists to make a measurable change in the future of a species,” said Michael W. Wells, Trustee and Chair of the Indianapolis Zoo’s Conservation Committee. “Our ability to measure the outcome by using the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List will allow us to objectively assess the results of our investment.”


The grant has a two-stage application process. Pre-applications must be submitted by June 4, 2023, and then the organizations selected need to submit a full application by Dec. 3, 2023. Complete information on eligibility and application procedures can be found at IndianapolisZoo.com under the Conservation tab.


“We know that reversing the decline of a species takes time. If we trust the science and stay focused, we will save species. This challenge will serve as a model for other conservation organizations to follow,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo.


“The Indianapolis Zoo Saving Species Challenge is visionary and will focus attention on achieving significant impact on the survival of a species. I am excited to see the Indianapolis Zoo continue to set the bar high on how Zoos, Aquariums and Botanical Gardens can advance conservation action and catalyze real and positive change for species,” said Jon Paul Rodriguez, Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission.


A Jury of international animal conservation experts will choose the winner of the Indianapolis Zoo Saving Species Challenge. The winner will have five years to activate the program and show progress. The Zoo will announce the winner February 2024.


Photo By Mike Crowther

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