Ian Somerhalder, passionate animal advocate and star of international hit TV series The Vampire Diaries, will receive the prestigious Wyler Award at The Humane Society of the United States’ upcoming 26th Genesis Awards on Saturday, March 24, at The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills.

One of the animal protection organization’s highest honors, The Wyler Award is bestowed on a celebrity or public figure for raising awareness of animal issues via the media.

A committed and prodigious campaigner for animal and environmental causes, Ian is being recognized for spreading the word through both traditional and social media about critical animal welfare issues, such as shark finning, the Canadian seal hunt, fur in fashion, and endangered species. He is also the founder of the IS Foundation, which aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.

“The tireless efforts of The Humane Society of the United States to protect animals around the world has always been an inspiration to me and I’m honored to be recognized with this year’s Wyler Award,” says Somerhalder.

“Ian is the epitome of a new kind of advocate who leverages his fame and an array of media platforms to draw public attention to animal protection concerns and other issues that he cares deeply about,” says Beverly Kaskey, senior director of The HSUS’s Hollywood Outreach and executive producer of the annual Genesis Awards. “From addressing Congress to making TV appearances to regularly blogging to informing his million-plus followers on Twitter, Ian is a major voice and force for animals and a most deserving recipient of The Wyler Award.”

The Wyler Award is named after former Broadway actress, animal advocate and founder of The Genesis Awards, Gretchen Wyler. Ian Somerhalder joins Wyler Award alumni Sir Paul McCartney, Hayden Panettiere, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, and Kristin Davis.

Hosted by Dancing with the StarsCarrie Ann Inaba, The 26th Genesis Awards is the only event of its kind honoring the news and entertainment media for spotlighting animal protection issues. The 26th Genesis Awards will air on Animal Planet in May. For a complete list of nominees and ticket information, visit humanesociety.org/genesis. Follow The Genesis Awards on Twitter #genesisawards and @humanesociety and Ian Somerhalder @iansomerhalder.

The 26th Genesis Awards is sponsored in part by Misix, Market Development Group, The InterGroup Corporation, Hilton San Francisco Financial District, Bank of America, Prai Beauty Group, Tenet, Euro RSCG Edge, Honda, One Car One Difference, and Modern Dog.

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