Wildlife Conservation is the practising of protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitat. Wildlife plays an important role in balancing the environment and provides stability to different natural processes of nature. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be around for future generations to enjoy and also to recognize the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species alike. Many nations have government agencies and NGO's dedicated to wildlife conservation, which help to implement policies designed to protect wildlife. Numerous independent non-profit organizations also promote various wildlife conservation causes.
According to the National Wildlife Federation(NWF), wildlife in the United States gets a majority of their funding through appropriations from the federal budget, annual federal and state grants, and financial efforts from programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Furthermore, a substantial amount of funding comes from the state through the sale of hunting/fishing licenses, game tags, stamps, and excise taxes from the purchase of hunting equipment and ammunition, which collects around $200 million annually.
Wildlife conservation has become an increasingly important practice due to the negative effects of human activity on wildlife. An endangered species is defined as a population of a living species that is in the danger of becoming extinct because the species has a very low or falling population, or because they are threatened by the varying environmental or prepositional parameters.
Major dangers to wildlife
Fewer natural wildlife habitat areas remain each year. Moreover, the habitat that remains has often been degraded to bear little resemblance to the wild areas which existed in the past. Habitat loss due to destruction, fragmentation and degradation of habitat is the primary threat to the survival of wildlife.
- Climate change: Global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe. This intensification of weather and climate extremes will be the most visible impact of global warming in our everyday lives. It is also causing dangerous changes to the landscape of our world, adding stress to wildlife species and their habitat. Since many types of plants and animals have specific habitat requirements, climate change could cause disastrous loss of wildlife species. A slight drop or rise in average rainfall will translate into large seasonal changes. Hibernatingmammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects are harmed and disturbed. Plants and wildlife are sensitive to moisture change so, they will be harmed by any change in moisture level. Natural phenomena like floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, lightning, forest fires.
- Unregulated Hunting and poaching: Unregulated hunting and poaching causes a major threat to wildlife. Along with this, mismanagement of forest department and forest guards triggers this problem.
- Pollution: Pollutants released into the environment are ingested by a wide variety of organisms. Pesticides and toxic chemical being widely used, making the environment toxic to certain plants, insects, and rodents.
- Over exploitation is the over use of wildlife and plant species by people for food, clothing, pets, medicine, sport and many other purposes. People have always depended on wildlife and plants for food, clothing, medicine, shelter and many other needs. But today we are taking more than the natural world can supply. The danger is that if we take too many individuals of a species from their natural environment, the species may no longer be able to survive. The loss of one species can affect many other species in an ecosystem. The hunting, trapping, collecting and fishing of wildlife at unsustainable levels is not something new. The passenger pigeon was hunted to extinction, early in the last century, and over-hunting nearly caused the extinction of the American bison and several species of whales.
- Deforestation: Humans are continually expanding and developing, leading to an invasion of wildlife habitats. As humans continue to grow they clear forested land to create more space. This stresses wildlife populations as there are fewer homes and food sources to survive off of.
- Population: The increasing population of human beings is the major threat to wildlife. More people on the globe means more consumption of food, water and fuel, therefore more waste is generated. Major threats to wildlife are directly related to increasing population of human beings. Low population of humans results in less disturbance to wildlife.
Wildlife conservation as a government involvement
In 1972, the Government of India enacted a law called the Wild Life (Protection) Act. In America, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects some U.S. species that were in danger from over exploitation, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) works to prevent the global trade of wildlife, but there are many species that are not protected from being illegally traded or being over-harvested. The World Conservation Strategy was developed in 1980 by the "International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources" (IUCN) with advice, cooperation and financial assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Wildlife Fund and in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)" The strategy aims to "provide an intellectual framework and practical guidance for conservation actions." This thorough guidebook covers everything from the intended "users" of the strategy to its very priorities. It even includes a map section containing areas that have large seafood consumption and are therefore endangered by over fishing. The main sections are as follows:
- The objectives of conservation and requirements for their achievement:
- Maintenance of essential ecological processes and life-support systems.
- Preservation of genetic diversity that is flora and fauna.
- Sustainable utilization of species and ecosystems.
- Priorities for national action:
- A framework for national and sub-national conservation strategies.
- Policy making and the integration of conservation and development.
- Environmental planning and rational use allocation.
- Priorities for international action:
- International action: law and assistance.
- Tropical forests and dry lands.
- A global programme for the protection of genetic resource areas.
- Tropical forests
- Deserts and areas subject to desertification.
As major development agencies became discouraged with the public sector of environmental conservation in the late 1980s, these agencies began to lean their support towards the “private sector” or non-government organizations (NGOs). In a World Bank Discussion Paper it is made apparent that “the explosive emergence of nongovernmental organizations” was widely known to government policy makers. Seeing this rise in NGO support, the U.S. Congress made amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act in 1979 and 1986 “earmarking U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds for biodiversity”. From 1990 moving through recent years environmental conservation in the NGO sector has become increasingly more focused on the political and economic impact of USAID given towards the “Environment and Natural Resources”. After the terror attacks on the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001 and the start of former President Bush’s War on Terror, maintaining and improving the quality of the environment and natural resources became a “priority” to “prevent international tensions” according to the Legislation on Foreign Relations Through 2002 and section 117 of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. Furthermore, in 2002 U.S. Congress modified the section on endangered species of the previously amended Foreign Assistance Act.
Active non-government organizations
Many NGOs exist to actively promote, or be involved with wildlife conservation:
- The Nature Conservancy is a US charitable environmental organization that works to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization working on the issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States. It is the world's largest independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 90 countries, supporting around 1300 conservation and environmental projects around the world. It is a charity, with approximately 60% of its funding coming from voluntary donations by private individuals. 45% of the fund's income comes from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- Wildlife Conservation Society
- Audubon Society
- Traffic (conservation programme)
- Born Free Foundation
- Save Cambodia's Wildlife
- WildEarth Guardians
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an internationalnon-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment. It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States. The Living Planet Report is published every two years by WWF since 1998; it is based on a Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.
It is the world's largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects. WWF is a foundation, with 55% of funding from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources (such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID) and 8% from corporations in 2014.
The group's mission is "to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature." Currently, much of its work concentrates on the conservation of four biomes that contain most of the world's biodiversity: oceans and coasts, forests, and freshwater ecosystems. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, sustainable production of commodities and climate change.
The Conservation Foundation
The Conservation Foundation, a precursor to WWF, was founded in 1948 by Fairfield Osborn as an affiliate of the New York Zoological Society (today known as the Wildlife Conservation Society) with an aim of protecting the world's natural resources. The advisory council included leading scientists such as Charles Sutherland Elton, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Aldo Leopold, Carl Sauer, and Paul Sears. It supported much of the scientific work cited by Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, including that of John L. George, Roger Hale, Robert Rudd, and George Woodwell.
Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld helped found the World Wildlife Fund, becoming its first President in 1961, and in 1970 established the WWF's financial endowment "The 1001: A Nature Trust". He resigned his post after being involved in the Lockheed Bribery Scandal.
In 1963, the Foundation held a conference and published a major report warning of anthropogenicglobal warming, written by Noel Eichhorn based on the work of Frank Fraser Darling (then foundation vice president), Edward Deevey, Erik Eriksson, Charles Keeling, Gilbert Plass, Lionel Walford, and William Garnett.
In 1990, the Conservation Foundation was merged into WWF, after becoming an affiliate of WWF in 1985, when it became a distinct legal entity but with the same staff and board. The organization now known as the Conservation Foundation in the United States is the former Forest Foundation of DuPage County.
The idea for a fund on behalf of endangered animals was initially proposed by Victor Stolan to Sir Julian Huxley in response to articles he published in the British newspaper The Observer. This proposal led Huxley to put Stolan in contact with Max Nicholson, a person who had had thirty years experience of linking progressive intellectuals with big business interests through the Political and Economic Planningthink tank. Nicholson thought up the name of the organization. WWF was conceived on 29 April 1961, under the name of World Wildlife Fund, and its first office was opened on 11 September that same year in Morges, Switzerland. WWF was conceived to act as a funding institution for existing conservation groups such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and The Conservation Foundation.Godfrey A. Rockefeller also played an important role in its creation, assembling the first staff. Its establishment was marked with the signing of the "Morges Manifesto", the founding document that sets out the fund's commitment to assisting worthy organizations struggling to save the world's wildlife:
They need above all money, to carry out mercy missions and to meet conservation emergencies by buying land where wildlife treasures are threatened, and in many other ways. Money, for example, to pay guardians of wildlife refuges .... Money for education and propaganda among those who would care and help if only they understood. Money to send out experts to danger spots and to train more local wardens and helpers in Africa and elsewhere. Money to maintain a sort of 'war room' at the international headquarters of conservation, showing where the danger spots are and making it possible to ensure that their needs are met before it is too late.
— Morges Manifesto
WWF has set up offices and operations around the world. It originally worked by fundraising and providing grants to existing non-governmental organizations, based on the best-available scientific knowledge and with an initial focus on the protection of endangered species. As more resources became available, its operations expanded into other areas such as the preservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of natural resources, the reduction of pollution, and climate change. The organization also began to run its own conservation projects and campaigns, and by the 1980s started to take a more strategic approach to its conservation activities.
In 1986, the organization changed its name to World Wide Fund for Nature, while retaining the WWF initials. However, it continued at that time to operate under the original name in the United States and Canada.
That year was the 25th anniversary of WWF's foundation, an event marked by a gathering in Assisi, Italy to which the organization's International President HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, invited religious authorities representing Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. These leaders produced The Assisi Declarations, theological statements showing the spiritual relationship between their followers and nature that triggered a growth in the engagement of those religions with conservation around the world.
In the 1990s, WWF revised its mission statement to:
Stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:
- conserving the world's biological diversity;
- ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable; [and]
- promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
WWF scientists and many others identified 238 ecoregions that represent the world's most biologically outstanding terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats, based on a worldwide biodiversity analysis which the organization says was the first of its kind. In the early 2000s (decade), its work was focused on a subset of these ecoregions, in the areas of forest, freshwater and marine habitat conservation, endangered species conservation, climate change, and the elimination of the most toxic chemicals.
"We shan't save all we should like to, but we shall save a great deal more than if we had never tried." – Sir Peter Scott
In 1996, the organization obtained general consultative status from UNESCO.
WWF's giant panda logo originated from a panda named Chi Chi that had been transferred from Beijing Zoo to London Zoo in 1958, three years before WWF became established. Being famous as the only panda residing in the Western world at that time, its uniquely recognisable physical features and status as an endangered species were seen as ideal to serve the organization's need for a strong recognisable symbol that would overcome all language barriers. The organization also needed an animal that would have an impact in black and white printing. The logo was then designed by Sir Peter Scott from preliminary sketches by Gerald Watterson, a Scottish naturalist. The logo was slightly simplified and made more geometric in 1978, and was revised significantly again in 1986, at the time that the organization changed its name, with the new version featuring solid black shapes for eyes. In 2000 a change was made to the font used for the initials "WWF" in the logo.
WWF's strategy for achieving its mission specifically concentrates on restoring populations of 36 species (species or species groups that are important for their ecosystem or to people, including elephants, tunas, whales, dolphins and porpoises), and ecological footprint in 6 areas (carbon emissions, cropland, grazing land, fishing, forestry and water).
The organization also works on a number of global issues driving biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of natural resources, including finance, business practices, laws, and consumption choices. Local offices also work on national or regional issues.
WWF works with a large number of different groups to achieve its goals, including other NGOs, governments, business, investment banks, scientists, fishermen, farmers and local communities. It also undertakes public campaigns to influence decision makers, and seeks to educate people on how to live in a more environmentally friendly manner.It urges people to donate funds to protect the environment. The donors can also choose to receive gifts in return.
WWF publishes the Living Planet Index in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. Along with ecological footprint calculations, the Index is used to produce a bi-yearly Living Planet Report giving an overview of the impact of human activity on the world.
The organization also regularly publishes reports, fact sheets and other documents on issues related to its work, to raise awareness and provide information to policy and decision makers.
Policies of the WWF are made by board members elected for three-year terms. An Executive Team guides and develops WWF's strategy. There is also a National Council which stands as an advisory group to the board and a team of scientists and experts in conservation who research for WWF.
National and international law plays an important role in determining how habitats and resources are managed and used. Laws and regulations become one of the organization’s global priorities.
The WWF has been opposed to the extraction of oil from the Canadian tar sands and has campaigned on this matter. Between 2008 and 2010 the WWF worked with The Co-operative Group, the UK's largest consumer co-operative to publish reports which concluded that: (1) exploiting the Canadian tar sands to their full potential would be sufficient to bring about what they described as 'runaway climate change; (2) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology cannot be used to reduce the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to a level comparable to that of other methods of oil extraction; (3) the $379 billion which is expected to be spent extracting oil from tar sands could be better spent on research and development in renewable energy technology; and (4) the expansion of tar sands extraction poses a serious threat to the caribou in Alberta .
The organization convinces and helps governments and other political bodies to adopt, enforce, strengthen and/or change policies, guidelines and laws that affect biodiversity and natural resource use. It also ensures government consent and/or keeps their commitment to international instruments relating to the protection of biodiversity and natural resources.
In 2012, David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, spoke out against the way shale gas is used in the UK, saying: "...the Government must reaffirm its commitment to tackling climate change and prioritise renewables and energy efficiency."
WWF has been accused by the campaigner Corporate Watch of being too close to business to campaign objectively. WWF claims partnering with corporations such as Coca-Cola, Lafarge, Carlos Slim's and IKEA will reduce their effect on the environment. WWF received €56 million (US$80 million) from corporations in 2010 (an 8% increase in support from corporations compared to 2009), accounting for 11% of total revenue for the year.
In 1988, Prince Bernhard, previously WWF's first President, sold paintings for GBP 700,000 to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. The money was deposited in a Swiss WWF bank account. In 1989, Charles de Haes, then WWF Director-General, transferred GBP 500,000 back to Bernhard for what he (de Haes) called a "private project". It was then revealed, in 1991, that Prince Bernhard had used the money to hire KAS International, owned by SAS founder David Stirling, for an operation called Project "Lock" during which mercenaries (mostly British) fought poachers in nature reserves.
Mekong River dolphins report
In June 2009, Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission for Conservation and Development of the Mekong River Dolphins Eco-tourism Zone, argued that the WWF had misrepresented the danger of extinction of the Mekong dolphin to boost fundraising. The report stated that the deaths were caused by a bacterial disease that became fatal due to environmental contaminants suppressing the dolphins' immune systems. He called the report unscientific and harmful to the Cambodian government and threatened the WWF's Cambodian branch with suspension unless they met with him to discuss his claims. Touch Seang Tana later said he would not press charges of supplying false information and would not make any attempt to prevent WWF from continuing its work in Cambodia, but advised WWF to adequately explain its findings and check with the commission before publishing another report. After this, in January 2012, Touch Seang Tana signed the "Kratie Declaration on the Conservation of the Mekong River Irrawaddy Dolphin" along with WWF and the Cambodian Fisheries Administration, an agreement binding the parties to work together on a "roadmap" addressing dolphin conservation in the Mekong River.
In 2012, German investigative journalist Wilfried Huissmann published a book called "The Silence of the Pandas". It became a bestseller in Germany, but was banned from Britain until 2014, when it was released under the title of "Pandaleaks", after a series of injunctions and court orders. The book criticizes WWF for its supposed involvement with corporations that are responsible for large-scale destruction of the environment, such as Coca-Cola, and gives details into the existence of the secret 1001 Club, whose members, Huismann claims, continue to have an unhealthy influence on WWF's policy making. However, WWF has sought to deny the allegations made against it.
The German public television ARD aired a documentary on 22 June 2011 that claimed to show how the WWF cooperates with corporations such as Monsanto, providing sustainability certification in exchange for donations – essentially greenwashing. WWF has denied the allegations. By encouraging high-impact eco-tourism, the program alleges that WWF contributes to the destruction of habitat and species it claims to protect. WWF-India is not active at the tiger reserve given as the example, but it is active elsewhere seeking to limit adverse tourism effects and better sharing of tourism benefits to local communities. The program also alleges WWF certified a palm oil plantation operated by Wilmar International, a Singaporean company, on the Indonesian island of Borneo, even though the establishment of the plantation led to the destruction of over 14,000 hectares of rainforest. Only 80 hectares were ultimately conserved, the ARD documentary claims. According to the programme, two orangutans live on the conserved land, but have very slim chances of survival because no fruit trees remain and the habitat is too small to sustain them. To survive, they steal palm nuts from the neighbouring plantation, thereby risking being shot by plantation workers. WWF notes that the plantation filmed is PT Rimba Harapan Sakti, which has not been certified as a sustainable producer by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil. Aerial photographs show that around 4000 hectares, or about a third of the forest cover, has been conserved.
The President of Honor of WWF in Spain used to be King Juan Carlos I, who has been a known hunting enthusiast. In 1962, when he was 24, he was invited by the German Baron Werner von Alvensleben to a hunt in Mozambique. Since then, the king has taken part in hunting forays in Africa and Eastern Europe. In October 2004, he was a member of a hunt in Romania that killed a wolf and nine brown bears, including one that was pregnant, according to the Romanian newspaper Romania Libera. He was also accused by a Russian official of killing a bear called Mitrofan, supposedly after giving vodka to the animal, in an episode that sparked controversy in Spain, although the claim was never proven. In the same year, according to The Guardian, the Polish government allowed him to kill a European bison in Białowieża Forest, even though it is an endangered species. Further controversy arose in April 2012 when the king's participation in an elephant hunt in Botswana was discovered only after he returned to Spain on an emergency flight after tripping over a step and fracturing his hip. Many Spanish environmental groups and leftist parties criticized the monarch's hobby, and the WWF stripped him of the honorary position in July 2012, in an extraordinary assembly by 94% of the votes of the members.
Prince Charles, the UK head of the WWF, has stated that he enjoys hunting. He is believed, however, to adhere to legal British traditional hunting and speaks out against hunting endangered species.
The 1001: A Nature Trust
Main article: The 1001: A Nature Trust
In the early 1970s, Prince Bernhard, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and a few associates set up The 1001: A Nature Trust to handle the WWF's administration and fund-raising. 1001 members each contributed $10,000 to the trust.
See also: WWE § Legal disputes and controversies
In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature sued the World Wrestling Federation (now named WWE) for unfair trade practices. Both parties had shared the initials "WWF" since 1979. The conservation organization claimed that the sports entertainment company had violated a 1994 agreement regarding international use of the WWF initials.
On 10 August 2001, a UK court ruled in favour of the World Wide Fund for Nature. The World Wrestling Federation filed an appeal in October 2001. However, on May 10, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation changed its Web address from WWF.com to WWE.com, and replaced every "WWF" reference on the existing site with "WWE", as a prelude to changing the company's name to "World Wrestling Entertainment." Its stock ticker also switched from WWF to WWE.
The wrestling organization's abandonment of the "WWF" initialism did not end the two organizations' legal conflict. Later in 2002, the World Wide Fund for Nature petitioned the court for $360 million in damages, but was not successful. A subsequent request to overturn by the World Wide Fund for Nature was dismissed by the British Court of Appeal on June 28, 2007. In 2003, World Wrestling Entertainment won a limited decision which permitted them to continue marketing certain pre-existing products with the abandoned WWF logo. However, WWE was mandated to issue newly branded merchandise such as apparel, action figures, video games, and DVDs with the "WWE" initials. Additionally, the court order required the company to remove both auditory and visual references to "WWF" in its library of video footage outside the United Kingdom.
Starting with the 1,000th episode of Raw in July 2012, the WWF "scratch" logo is no longer censored in archival footage. In addition, the WWF initials are no longer censored when spoken or when written in plain text in archival footage. In exchange, WWE is no longer permitted to use the WWF initials or logo in any new, original footage, packaging, or advertising, with any old-school logos for retro-themed programming now using a modification of the original WWF logo without the F.
No One's Gonna Change Our World was a charity album released in 1969, for the benefit of the WWF.
Peter Rose and Anne Conlon are music theatre writers, well known for their environmental musicals for children, who were commissioned by WWF-UK to write several environmental musicals as part of an education plan. Some were narrated by David Attenborough, and broadcast on television in numerous countries.
The British pop group S Club 7 were ambassadors for WWF-UK during their time together as a band (1999-2003). Each of the members sponsored an endangered animal, and in 2000, traveled to the various locations around the world of their chosen animals for a seven-part BBC documentary series entitled S Club 7 Go Wild.
Environmentally Sound: A Select Anthology of Songs Inspired by the Earth is a benefit album released in 2006, for WWF-Philippines, featuring artists that included Up Dharma Down, Radioactive Sago Project, Kala, Cynthia Alexander, and Joey Ayala.
In June 2012, WWF launched an online music download store with fairsharemusic from which 50% of the profit goes to the charity.
In April 2015, Hailey Gardiner released her solo EP, titled The Woods. In honor of Earth Day, 15% of the proceeds made towards the purchase of the EP would be donated to the WWF.
Notable programs and campaigns
Since 2008, through its Global Programme Framework (GPF), WWF has said it is concentrating its efforts on 13 global initiatives:
- China for a Global Shift
- Climate and Energy
- Coastal East Africa
- Coral Triangle
- Forest and Climate
- Green Heart of Africa
- Heart of Borneo
- Living Himalayas
- Market Transformation
- Smart Fishing
WWF International is currently represented in the SuRe® Stakeholder Council.SuRe® – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure is a global voluntary standard which integrates key criteria of sustainability and resilience into infrastructure development and upgrade. SuRe® is developed by the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation (GIB) and Natixis as part of a multi-stakeholder process and will be compliant with ISEAL guidelines.
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