Organizers of the Indianapolis Prize, the world's leading recognition for wildlife conservation, today named Peruvian biologist Fanny M. Cornejo as the inaugural recipient of the Emerging Conservationist Award, given to conservationists under the age of 40 who have made an impact significant in the conservation of endangered species.
Cornejo was recognized for her more than 15 years dedicated to the conservation and research of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, a primate species that only inhabits the montane forests of Peru and is critically endangered due to human activities unsustainable that have generated the destruction of more than 80% of their habitat.
With the aim of promoting the conservation of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, Cornejo, who is also anthropologist, leads the Yunkawasi civil association, an organization that has been working since 2007 in partnership with Amazonian and Andean communities for the conservation of endangered species through sustainable socioeconomic development, research participatory and communication and environmental education.
“This recognition is for my entire team, our allies, our partners in the communities, the state and private sectors, and our donors. Undoubtedly, being the first winners of this important award is a sign that we are on the right path to achieve the conservation of our biodiversity.” said Fanny Cornejo, who is a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University. (New York) and graduated from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
As the winner of the Emerging Conservationist Award, Cornejo will receive a $50,000 prize to continue Yunkawasi's conservation and sustainable development initiatives to protect Peru's endangered primate species and allied communities that conserve them.
“Fanny is leading the next generation of conservationists to protect nature and inspire people to care for our world,” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, which organizes the Indianapolis Prize, with support from the Kobé Foundation.
Cornejo will be formally recognized as the inaugural Emerging Conservationist Award Winner at the 2023 Indianapolis Prize Gala in downtown Indianapolis on Sept. 30, 2023.
The Indianapolis Prize is a conservation initiative of the Indianapolis Zoo Society that since 2006 seeks to recognize and reward conservationists who have achieved great victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. It is currently known as "the Nobel prize for animal conservation."
This year they have inaugurated the Emerging Conservationist Award, a recognition aimed at conservationists under the age of 40 who have generated a significant impact in the conservation of endangered species and who represent the people we can trust to save threatened species. worldwide.
ABOUT FANNY M. CORNEJO
Fanny M. Cornejo is a Peruvian biologist with a postgraduate degree in anthropology and more than 16 years of experience in research and conservation of endangered fauna in Peru, with an emphasis on the Tropical Andes. She is co-founder and current executive director of Yunkawasi, a Civil Association focused on the creation and management of conservation areas, biological and social research, conservation education programs and promotion of sustainable development of local communities. Fanny is also a member and vice president for Peru of the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and a member of the CITES expert committee of the Ministry of the Environment of Peru.
Her work has been recognized by various organizations; in 2014, she received the Medal of Honor of the Order of Merit for Peruvian women for her outstanding professional activity by the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Peoples of the Peruvian Government and was the first recipient of the Sabin Prize for the Conservation of Primates, given by the Sabin Family Foundation and Conservation International. In 2019, she contributed to the Ministry of the Environment and the Central Bank of Peru in the launch of a 1 Sol coin inspired by the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, with the coin based on one of her photographs of this species.
Cornejo is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and presentations at congresses, and in 2022 she was part of the description of a new species of primate for Peru, the Aquino titi monkey. She has recently been named the winner of the Emerging Conservationist Award, an award given by the prestigious Indianapolis Prize, for her trajectory and contribution to the conservation of threatened primates in Peru.
ABOUT THE YELLOW-TAILED WOOLLY MONKEY
The yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda) is an endemic primate of the Tropical Andes of Peru, inhabits at an altitude between 1,000 and 2,800 meters above sea level, mainly in the cloud forests of the departments of Amazonas and San Martín, as well as some areas in La Libertad, Huánuco, Junín and Loreto.
Considered one of the most charismatic primates in the Americas, it is in critical danger of extinction due to the loss and degradation of its natural habitat and poaching of the species.
The species is a symbol of the biodiversity of Peru, it is represented in the 1 Peruvian Sol coin and in commemorative stamps.
Yunkawasi is a non-profit Peruvian civil association, dedicated to contributing to the sustainable development of the territory and the conservation of biodiversity to achieve the well-being of different human groups. He has more than 16 years of experience working hand in hand with state, civil and private partners for the design and implementation of conservation projects in key ecosystems, which promote an inclusive society that sustainably manages its territory, values the benefits it provides. biodiversity and defend the natural and cultural heritage that composes it.
Yunkawasi works in the departments of Tumbes, Piura, Amazonas, Loreto, Ucayali, and Junín, from a focus on conservation and management of protected natural areas, sustainable socioeconomic development, participatory research, and communication and environmental education.