Elephant zealot Iain Douglas-Hamilton garnered a substantial reward June 3, when the Indianapolis Prize jury announced that his conservation efforts had earned him the 2010 award.

Selected from a pool of 28 fellow conservationists whose expertise range from Caribbean sea turtles to orangutans, Douglas-Hamilton impressed judges and fellow wildlife enthusiasts with his dedication to protecting African elephants.

Known for his efforts to halt the poaching crisis in the 1980s, Douglas-Hamilton became a pioneer in the crusade to end illegal ivory trading. Through his brainchild, Save the Elephants, the Oxford trained zoologist has initiated multiple projects to collect data regarding elephant movement and behaviors as well as their natural environments. Information gathered helps Douglas-Hamilton with the second prong of the organization’s objective: to education people in the hopes of building a more healthy relationship between man and animal.

Since its foundation in 1993, STE has expanded from its birthplace in Kenya to cover several other countries in Africa and a variety of environments. STE currently sponsors operations in Mali, Gabon, the Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Douglas-Hamilton will join the ranks of other wildlife activists including George Schaller and George Archibald, who won the award in 2008 and 2006 respectively.

The Indianapolis Zoo introduced in 2004 as a means to congratulate the men and women who are ardent advocates for endangered species and their environments.

Recipients are chosen based upon noted successes in safeguarding some of the world’s most threatened creatures. For their work, winners are presented with the Lilly Medal and $100,000, the largest individual monetary award for animal conservation in the world.

Douglas-Hamilton will be presented with the prize on Sept. 25, 2010, in Indianapolis.