Since its inception in 1994, the Gold Medal has been bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievements in the field of natural science, conservation and the environment.
Previous recipients have included Sir David Attenborough, Dr Jane Goodall, Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) Dr Simon Stuart as well as former Chester Zoo Director, Dr Michael Brambell, and former Director General, Prof Gordon McGregor Reid.
Indira and Peter Widmann implemented the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme (PCCP) in 1998 focussing on a critical breeding site for the species, Rasa Island. Through their dedicated work, the Philippine Cockatoo is now secured at a national level under Presidential Proclamation.
They said during the event:
Chester Zoo is one of our most valued long-term partners in a number of projects, and the only one which provides regular feedback and expertise with people visiting our field sites. We cannot emphasise enough how important these visits are in a country like the Philippines, where biodiversity conservation is still widely considered a burden at best, or an unnecessary luxury at worst.
The Katala Foundation was founded in 2002, expanding the scope and scale of Peter and Indira’s conservation activities. The NGO has been internationally recognised as a pioneer for terrestrial ecosystem conservation in Palawan and Indira received the prestigious Whitley Award, also known as the Green Oscars, in 2017.
Scott Wilson, Head of Field Programmes at Chester Zoo said:
The Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme is hugely successful, and we are proud to have been major project partner since 2003. The dedication of Indira, Peter, and the rest of the Katala Foundation team has led to the effective protection of several high biodiversity sites in Palawan, providing a haven for the critically endangered Philippine cockatoo, plus numerous other threatened species.