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Wildlife Conservationists Honored In New York For Recovery Of Imperiled Species

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Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) changed its name to Re:wild in 2021

diver underwater (Photo courtesy of Bolivian Amphibian Initiative)

Conservationists worldwide are working tirelessly to stave off the sixth mass extinction. On Tuesday, May 31, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Global Wildlife Conservation, Conservation International, Turtle Conservancy and Amphibian Survival Alliance honored four extraordinary conservationists in particular, whose work has contributed directly to the recovery of some of the most critically endangered amphibians, turtles and primates. The awards ceremony and the 2015 Sabin Conservation Prizes are possible thanks to Andrew Sabin Family Foundation.

“Today’s award winners exemplify the best in wildlife conservation,” said businessman Andy Sabin. “They understood the devastating effects of the loss of any single species and didn’t hesitate to implement innovative conservation strategies, even against the odds. To support their efforts is to support a healthy planet rich in biodiversity.”

The 2015 Sabin Conservation Prizes winners were honored today at the Bowery Hotel in New York City. The winners are:

Arturo Muñoz and Claudia Cortez (2015 Sabin Amphibian Conservation Prize): When the critically endangered Titicaca water frog began to decline precipitously, Arturo Muñoz and Claudia Cortez mobilized quickly, securing funding to bring frogs into a breeding facility. As the regional chairs for the Amphibian Specialist Group Bolivia, Muñoz and Cortez developed an effective conservation plan and successfully lobbied government support for their efforts.

Sabine Schoppe (2015 Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize): Since the rediscovery of the Palawan pond turtle in 2003, Sabine Schoppe has been researching and conserving this rare species. In June 2015, Schoppe, who is director of the Philippine Freshwater Turtle Conservation Program, led the rehabilitation and repatriation efforts for more than 3,900 Palawan pond turtles after they were confiscated from a trader’s warehouse.

Cecília Kierulff (2015 Sabin Primate Conservation Prize): Thanks to Cecília Kierulff’s work capturing and translocating golden-lion tamarins to better suited habitat in their natural range in the state of Rio de Janeiro, this flagship species has gone from an IUCN red list classification of critically endangered to endangered. When Kierulff conducted the first-ever population estimate for golden-lion tamarin, she counted a mere 560 individuals—today the population stands at 3,200 individuals.

These awards mark the ninth annual Sabin Amphibian Conservation Prize and the third annual Sabin Turtle Conservation Prize and Sabin Primate Conservation Prize. The winners each receive a cash award and a trip to the awards ceremony in New York.

“Wildlife conservationists are committed to their work not because of the accolades, but because they believe that biodiversity is the fabric of all life and we need to protect that,” said Don Church, president and director of conservation at Global Wildlife Conservation. “Thanks to Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, we’re able to celebrate the great work of Arturo, Claudia, Sabine and Cecília, who have each led the kind of extraordinary, creative and swift efforts it takes to prevent imminent extinction. The award winners represent conservation at its best, and their leadership will continue to be a great inspiration to us all.”

Sabin has donated more than $20 million to wildlife conservation efforts over the past 40 years, supporting high-impact conservation through targeted projects around the world. Sabin has participated in Global Wildlife Conservation and Conservation International projects preserving more than 250,000 acres of critical habitat and protecting more than 80 wildlife species. Sabin is currently an active chairman of his private precious metals recycling company.

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Photo courtesy of Bolivian Amphibian Initiative

Photos of the winners are available here:

Global Wildlife Conservation

Global Wildlife Conservation protects endangered species and habitats through science-based field action. GWC envisions a world with diverse and abundant wildlife and are dedicated to ensuring that the species on the verge of extinction are not lost. The global organization brings together scientists, conservationists, policymakers and industry leaders to ensure a truly collaborative approach to species conservation. Learn more at


Lindsay Renick Mayer


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