Wildlife’s Greatest Heroes Share Their Stories in New Book

Joey Amato | October 27, 2020

The stories of wildlife’s greatest heroes fill the chapters of “Saving Endangered Species” released today through Johns Hopkins University Press and the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation, which is presented every other year by the Indianapolis Zoological Society

At a time when wildlife conservation is at a critical juncture, 12 preeminent conservation scientists —Winners of the Indianapolis Prize— and public advocates come together as authors to tell of their journeys to protect threatened species around the globe, with a foreword by actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford. Each Prize Winner is featured as well as actors Sigourney Weaver and Jane Alexander, recipients of the Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award for their roles as leading voices dedicated to moving hearts and motivating the general public to take action on behalf of wildlife. 

These dedicated individuals are true champions who have invested in the preparation, thought, resources and efforts to save species, and whose accomplishments have been vetted, verified and valued by committees of experts. Readers gain an understanding of conservation innovation, responsibility and action for some of the world’s most iconic comeback stories for species on the very brink. 

“’Saving Endangered Species’ tells the stories of the greatest conservationists of our time. In their own words, these wildlife heroes chronicle the events that shaped their lives and allowed them to achieve authentic conservation victories,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo President and CEO, who served as the book’s editor. “Their unique perspectives offer hope, inspiration and guidance for anyone who is committed to the preservation of the natural world. I am immensely proud of this book and know that it will provide readers with optimism for the future of our world.” 

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 15: Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Highlights 2014 Indianapolis Prize Recipient, Dr. Patricia Chappelle Wright ring the Closing bell at The New York Stock Exchange on May 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext)

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, more than 32,000 species are threatened with extinction. “Saving Endangered Species” covers important and timely issues including human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade. Each chapter offers the author’s unique perspective on the state of wildlife conservation and the future of the natural world. They provide the narrative of the vital work that earned them recognition in the field, while also aiming to win new advocates and inspire fellow conservationists. 

“Vividly illustrating what good can be accomplished by individuals in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges in nature conservation, Saving Endangered Species tells the complete story, warts and all, of the trials and tribulations conservationists face in accomplishing their impressive and inspiring results,” said Lee Durrell, Honorary Director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. 

The book is available in hardcover and electronic formats through Johns Hopkins website or Amazon. Proceeds directly support the Indianapolis Prize. 

Contributors sharing their stories include: 

George Archibald, 2006 Winner: Remarkable relationship with a whooping crane led to the recovery of the critically endangered species 

George Schaller, 2008 Winner: One of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation, who conducted the field work that resulted in the establishment of the world’s largest wildlife preserve, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, 2010 Winner: Widely credited with developing the metrics and methods that stemmed the tide of elephant poaching for ivory in Africa 

Steven Amstrup, 2012 Winner: Discovered the disturbing truth that the sea ice polar bears rely on for traveling, hunting and raising their young was disappearing 

Patricia Wright, 2014 Winner: Rediscovered a species of lemur thought extinct, discovered a new lemur species and helped establish Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park 

Carl Jones, 2016 Winner: Developed and led programs resulting in some of the most striking animal population recoveries in the world, including the Mauritius kestrel, once the world’s rarest bird 

Russ Mittermeier, 2018 Winner: Discovered more than 20 new animal species, conducted field work in more than 30 countries around the globe, and authored 15 books on biodiversity 

Jane Alexander, 2012 Global Wildlife Ambassador: Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and author involved with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Audubon Society and Panthera 

Sigourney Weaver, 2016 Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador: Three-time Academy Award nominee, whose work with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has helped save thousands of gorillas in Rwanda and Congo 

Harrison Ford, 2018 Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador: Academy Award-winning actor, who has been a passionate wildlife advocate and board member of Conservation International for more than 25 years 

Robert W. Shumaker: Evolutionary biologist, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. 

Michael I. Crowther: Founder of the Indianapolis Prize