Photo Credit: Vikash Tatayah, Durrel Wildlife Conservation Trust
Carl Jones is credited with saving not only several species on the brink of extinction, but for also saving entire ecosystems. This achievement has awarded him with an Indianapolis Prize along with $250,000.
Jones started his career in conservationalism on the Island of Mauritius, an island off the East coast of Africa. The Mauritius Kestrel had only four members to its species when Jones arrived on the island, making it the rarest bird in the world at the time. Five other scientists had attempted to rescue the endangered species before Jones, but none had succeeded. Within a decade of Jones’ intervention, the population of kestrel had jumped from four to more than 300.
Jones later went on to save eight other species of birds from extinction. He did not do so for recognition or rewards, but simply because he wanted to make the world a better place. Patricia White, 2014 Indianapolis Prize winner and a member of the jury that decided this year’s winner said, “He is known as the type of man that does not care about money or reputation.” When Jones was asked what motivated him he said, “When you lose species from the world you are simplifying the world and it’s becoming a duller place… I want to live in an interesting world which is diverse. Even If I do not get to see them, then I want to know there are polar bears in the Arctic or blue whales in the ocean.”
Jones created the method of “ecological replacement,” a tactic used to replace extinct species in an ecosystem with another species to minimize damage to the ecosystem. Jones also developed a method of successfully breeding endangered animals in captivity, and letting the offspring back into the wild. Currently, Jones is engaged with a project created by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to help protect and sustain species that are on the verge of extinction.
We would like to congratulate Carl Jones on his well-earned Indianapolis Prize, and thank him for making the world a better place.