- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indianapolis Zoo has selected Carl Jones as this year’s recipient of an award honoring animal conservationists who have made notable contributions to the field.

On Wednesday, the zoo announced Jones as the 2016 winner of the $250,000 biennial purse known as the Indianapolis Prize, The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1ZcRiv7 ) reported.

Jones was chosen as the recipient of the Indianapolis Prize from among six finalists, many of whom study flashier animals, such as snow leopards, penguins, seahorses. He works with smaller, lesser-known species, but they’re still just as important to the world’s ecosystem, according to Indianapolis Zoo President Michael Crowther.

“It’s interesting that Carl Jones is a prize winner and is working with not the most charismatic animals,” he said. “The important thing is that Carl is not just chasing after the things that are big and sexy, but he is helping the little things that help sustain our planets.”

Over the course of his career, Jones has helped save more than a dozen species from the brink of extinction, including the Mauritius kestrel, a bird whose population increased from four to about 400 within a decade.

“Carl is like the king of second chances. When humans blow things, he has a remarkable ability to give us a second chance,” Crowther said. “He has really changed the game.”

Jones is chief scientist of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and scientific director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.

He plans to use the $250,000 to help support programs on the island of Mauritius and to boost his personal finances.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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