Stony Brook University faculty members Patricia Wright and Russell Mittermeier...

Stony Brook University faculty members Patricia Wright and Russell Mittermeier have been named among six finalists for the $100,000 biennial Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. Credit: Handout

Two Stony Brook University professors are in the final rounds for a prestigious animal conservation award, the school said Monday.

The finalists for the biennial Indianapolis Prize include Patricia Wright, a professor of biological anthropology and the director at the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, and Russell Mittermeier, an adjunct professor of anatomical sciences and president of Conservation International.

Wright is a renowned lemur expert and discovered the golden bamboo lemur in 1986, the university said in a news release. She arranged funding to develop Madagascar's Ranomafana National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to 12 lemur species.

Mittermeier was a pioneer in the sustainability and conservation of primates and coined the phrase "biodiversity hotspots" to describe locations that are rich in biodiversity and threatened with destruction, the university said.

Neither Wright nor Mittermeier could be reached Monday.

"These conservationists' longstanding commitment and die-hard perseverance to protect endangered species and their environments embodies the mission of the Indianapolis Prize," Myrta Pulliam, Indianapolis Prize chair, said in a news release.

The other finalists are Steven Amstrup, senior scientist at Polar Bears International; Markus Borner, head of the Africa Program for the Frankfurt Zoological Society; Rodney Jackson, founder and director of the Snow Leopard Conservancy; and Carl Jones, scientific director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and International Conservation Fellow at the Durrell Wildlife Trust.

The prize, sponsored by the Indianapolis Zoo, comes with a $100,000 award and the Lilly Medal. The winner will be announced at the Indianapolis Prize Gala on Sept. 29.

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