The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization working on 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 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects. WWF is a foundation, in 2010 deriving 57% of funding from individuals and bequests, 17% from government sources (such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID) and 11% from corporations. The group says its mission is "to halt and reverse the destruction of our environment".Currently, much of its work focuses on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world's biodiversity: forests, freshwater ecosystems, and oceans and coasts. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, pollution and climate change.
The well-known panda logo of WWF originated from a panda named Chi Chi that was transferred from the Beijing Zoo to the London Zoo in the same year of the establishment of WWF. As the only giant panda residing in the Western area at that time, along with its physical features and status as an endangered species, panda is seen to serve the need of a strong recognizable symbol of the organization. Moreover, the organization also needs an animal that would have an impact in black and white printing. The logo was then designed by Sir Peter Scott from the preliminary sketches made by a Scottish naturalist, Gerald Watterson.
50 years of Achievements
From its origins as a small group of committed wildlife enthusiasts, WWF has grown into one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations – supported by 5 million people and active in over 100 countries on five continents. Over this time, WWF's focus has evolved from localized efforts in favour of single species and individual habitats to an ambitious strategy to preserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development across the globe.
This timeline provides a snapshot of just some of the many successes that WWF – working with a broad range of partners, including scientists, park managers, local communities, governments, other conservation organizations and businesses – has helped bring about as it strives for a world in which people live in harmony with nature.
In its first decade, WWF raised over US$5.6 million – an enormous sum in the 1960s.
Based on the best available science, this money was distributed as grants to support 356 conservation-related projects around the world – from wildlife surveys to anti-poaching efforts to education. Many of the animals and habitats supported by these early grants went on to become iconic conservation symbols, and continue to be a focus of WWF’s work. The popular fundraising appeals also, for the first time, brought conservation into the public arena.
While WWF remained focused on species and habitat preservation throughout the 1970s, its approach began to change.
Instead of providing more-or-less ad hoc support to individual projects, it began encouraging more comprehensive conservation efforts for entire biomes as well as species across their range.
As part of this, WWF stepped up its engagement with governments and international environmental treaties and started to tackle some of the drivers behind environmental threats.
By its 20th anniversary, WWF had supported protected areas on five continents covering 1% of the Earth’s surface and contributed to the continued existence of a number of species.
As impressive as this was, the organization realized that parks and crisis-led conservation efforts – while important – were not enough. Now with an expanded global presence and starting to run its own projects, WWF began more...
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