Washington, DC - Conservation leaders from Russia, Indonesia, Chile, Papua New Guinea and China will share this year's J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced today. The annual prize honors outstanding contributions to international conservation and carries with it an award of $100,000, which will be equally divided among this year's awardees.
Established in 1974 by the late J. Paul Getty, the prize recognizes conservation excellence and innovation by individuals and groups. Previous winners have included famed British conservationist Sir Peter Scott, pioneering chimpanzee researcher Dr. Jane Goodall, and the Charles Darwin Foundation.
This year's prize is being shared by Dmitry Lisitsyn of the Sakhalin Environmental Watch for his ongoing efforts to hold Russian and multinational oil corporations accountable for the environment of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East; Haji Masdjuni of East Kalimantan, Indonesia for his achievements in sea turtle protection; Francisco Solis Germani and the Coastal Range Coalition for their work in persuading the Chilean government to reroute the Southern Coastal highway; Lester Seri and Conservation Melanesia for their assistance to the rural Maisin community in Papua New Guinea in protecting its ancestral lands; and Yang Xin and the Greenriver Environmental Protection Association for their work with the Chinese government to protect the Tibetan antelope and the Yangtze River at its source.
"The Getty Prize, which World Wildlife Fund administers on behalf of the family of the late J. Paul Getty, honors those who have made significant contributions to conservation," said Kathryn S. Fuller, president of WWF-US. "This year's awardees are pioneers in their efforts to progress nature conservation work at the local and national level. Their accomplishments have made a real difference, and their bold leadership deserves recognition."
Nominees for the Getty Prize are selected by WWF and the winner is chosen by a jury of notable conservationists. Awards will be presented at ceremonies in the awardees native countries. The Getty Prize, currently overseen by J. Paul Getty's son Gordon and his family, is intended to encourage conservation innovation and heighten public awareness of the need for conservation.