Local wildlife conservationist, Kerri Wolter, the founder and chief executive of the Vulture Conservation Programme of South Africa (VulPro), has been nominated for the 2018 Indianapolis conservation award.

The Indianapolis conservation award is regarded as the world’s leading award for animal conservation. The biennial prize highlights the stories and accomplishments of brave men and women whose work not only saves species of this generation, but shapes future populations and ecosystems, Kormorant reports. Kerri Wolter is one of 32 nominees.

“The nominees represent many of the most significant and accomplished wildlife conservationists in the field today,” said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo.

“They are protecting species and creating successful conservation methods that ensure future generations will live in a sustainable world. We applaud their accomplishments and encourage individuals, organisations, companies and governments to join them in advancing animal conservation.”

Kerri incredibly honoured by the nomination

“I look at the list of nominees and I cannot believe I am nominated alongside them. This is brilliant for vultures; it is the most important thing. If we can get recognition for vultures that have never been recognised, that alone is worth it,” she says.

Nominees hail from countries across the world, focused on both iconic and unique animals, from primates and marine mammals to reptiles and birds.

“The prize elevates today’s leading conservationists by providing well-deserved recognition. This year’s nominees have dedicated themselves to saving critically endangered species, inspiring us all to help save animals from extinction,” said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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Internationally renowned professional conservationists and representatives make up a nominating committee who will select six finalists and determine a winner. The finalists will be honoured at the prize gala in September 2018. The winner will receive $250 000 (R3 258 300), while the finalists will each get $10 000 (R130 332). In addition, the winner will receive the prestigious Lilly Medal.

Another South African, Lente Roode, is also among the nominees for her endangered species centre in Hoedspruit.

And what will Kerri do if she wins the grand prize?

“What are the chances?” she laughs. “But if I get so lucky, it will go straight back to the vultures. It will mean a lot to the vulture conservation programme.” – kormorant.co.za

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