Dr. Steve Amstrup, the 2012 recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, has been honored again for his conservation efforts on behalf of polar bears. He recently received a prestigious Bambi Award at a special ceremony in Dusseldorf, Germany, on November 22.
Although not well known in the United States, the Bambi Awards
are an important event in Europe, especially in Germany. The Bambi Award organizers describe these honors as “an impressive tribute to the heroes of our times and a symbol of recognition. People who have done something extraordinary, touched our hearts, selflessly helped others or provided perfect entertainment in the course of the year“ are honored, and Bambis are
“also awarded to courageous pioneers and individuals who have made a mark and set an example with their dedication and commitment.
” It was in this category that Dr. Amstrup was honored.
As reported by Steve’s colleagues at Polar Bears International
, the Bambi Award was sincerely appreciated by Dr. Amstrup, who accepted it in person accompanied by his wife, Virginia:
“[Amstrup received] the Our Earth Bambi Award in recognition of his conservation work with polar bears and climate change. Famous German wildlife filmmaker and adventurer Andreas Kieling, who has created remarkable films about polar bears and many other species all over the world, introduced Amstrup at the star-studded ceremony. Kieling and Amstrup met twice before in Churchill during the polar bear migration. Amstrup said he was very excited to have someone as accomplished as Andreas—and someone he knows—introduce him.
The Bambi Awards
are the biggest media event in Germany each year, put on by Hubert Burda Media
to recognize excellence in international media and television. The award consists of a gold Bambi statuette in the shape of the fawn immortalized in the tale Bambi, A Life in the Woods
‘I am incredibly honored to have received a Bambi,’ Amstrup said. ‘Most of these are awarded to entertainers of various kinds. But each year, the Hubert Burda media group and the Award Jury also select a few people who have made significant humanitarian contributions, major physical achievements, or important strides in conservation. The fact that Dr. Burda and the Jury felt my work was worthy of this incredible recognition is a truly awe-inspiring and humbling experience. ‘
Over two million people across Europe watched the event, providing a large audience for Amstrup's conservation message. Among other awards that night were those to Canadian superstar Celine Dion in the entertainment category, to actress Salma Hayek for film, and to Dr. Ruth Pfau for humanitarian efforts in Pakistan.”
Dr. Amstrup himself reported in an email to the Indianapolis Zoo that, “It was an incredible experience and given that it is a juried affair, it was also a huge honor. It included walking a red carpet, giving an acceptance speech at the same microphone used moments before by Celine Dion, Salma Hayek, and numerous others. Certainly a place I never expected to find myself.”
We aren’t surprised, however, that Steve Amstrup is held in high regard all over the world. It was his unique contributions to polar bear conservation that garnered him the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. We congratulate Dr. Steve Amstrup on this further recognition of his outstanding efforts to save the lives of endangered polar bears – symbols of the potentially dire consequences of global warming left unchecked.