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by Peter Hanscomb

The WWF has been protecting the future of Wildlife for nearly 60 years since it was founded in 1961.

The worlds leading independent conservation organisation , its mission is to create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together.

A brief  history

World Wildlife Fund was conceived in April, 1961, and set up shop in September, 1961, at IUCN’s headquarters in Morges, Switzerland. H.R.H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands became the organization’s first president.

H.R.H. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1961 became president of the British National Appeal, the first national organization in the World Wildlife Fund family.

In its first year, the Board approves five projects totaling $33,500. Early projects include work with the bald eagle, the Hawaiian sea bird, the giant grebe of Guatemala, the Tule goose in Canada and the red wolf in the southern United States.

WWF hires its first scientist, Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, as a project administrator, in 1973.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES) is negotiated in 1973, with Russell E. Train leading the U.S. government delegation as Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

To date, the CITES international agreement has been signed by over 170 nations that are committed to working together to ensure wild plant and animal species are not threatened with extinction by uncontrolled trade and exploitation.

WWF celebrates its 25th anniversary in 1986 with a convocation of leaders from different faith traditions in Assisi, Italy.

WWF’s innovative Lumparda Elephant Project in 1988 leads to a sharp decline in poaching of elephants and black rhinos in Zambia, by establishing an adjacent buffer zone for economic activities and employing local people as scouts to protect wildlife.

WWF’s campaign to save the African elephant in 1989 plays an important part in the decision by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to enact a ban on the ivory trade.

WWF and The Conservation Foundation merge in 1990, formalizing a relationship that began in 1985 when The Conservation Foundation first affiliated with WWF.

There’s much more to discover at

Wildonline is not affiliated to the WWF and takes no responsibility for the content and views expressed.© 2019


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