50 years of environmental conservation | WWF

WWF's History

WWF was established in 1961 by a group of passionate and committed individuals who sought to secure the funding necessary to protect places and species that were threatened by human development.
A meeting of minds

Inspired by a series of articles in a UK newspaper written by Sir Julian Huxley about the destruction of habitat and wildlife in East Africa,  businessman Victor Stolan pointed out the urgent need for an international organization to raise funds for conservation. The idea was then shared with Max Nicholson, Director General of British government agency Nature Conservancy, who enthusiastically took up the challenge. 
 
Nicholson was motivated in part by the financial difficulties facing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)), and felt that a new fundraising initiative might help IUCN and other conservation groups carry out their mission. He drafted a plan in April 1961 that served as a basis for WWF’s founding, which was then endorsed by the executive board of IUCN in a document known as the Morges Manifesto.  
 
Nicholson and approximately two dozen other individuals – including Sir Peter Scott, a member of IUCN’s executive board who had signed the Morges Manifesto and later became WWF’s first vice president – hammered out the details of the new organization in a series of meetings over the following months. This included choosing the name World Wildlife Fund and adopting the now-famous panda logo.
 
More than 50 years on, the black and white panda is a well-known household symbol in many countries. And the organization itself is lucky enough to have won the backing of more than 5 million people throughout the world, and can count the actions taken by people in support of its efforts into the billions.

The world in which we live

Having invested well over US$1 billion in more than 12,000 conservation initiatives since 1985 alone, WWF is continually working to bring a balance between our demands on our world, and the variety of life that lives alongside us.

 rel= © WWF

The Morges Manifesto (PDF 720kb). The founding document which led to WWF as we know it today.

What is the story behind the panda logo of WWF?

The evolution of WWF's famous panda logo rel= © WWF

The inspiration came from Chi-Chi: a giant panda that had arrived at the London Zoo in the year 1958, a few years before WWF was created.

 

Aware of the need for a strong, recognisable symbol that would overcome all language barriers, the people involved in organizing WWF agreed that the big, furry animal with her appealing, black-patched eyes would make an excellent logo.

 

The first sketches were done by the British environmentalist and artist, Gerald Watterson.

 

Based on these, Sir Peter Scott  drew the first logo, and said at the time... "We wanted an animal that is beautiful, is endangered, and one loved by many people in the world for its appealing qualities. We also wanted an animal that had an impact in black and white to save money on printing costs."

 

The black-and-white panda has since come to stand as a symbol for the conservation movement as a whole