WWF celebrates Sir David Attenborough’s outstanding contributions to global conservation

Posted on 10 June 2021

Sir David Attenborough, naturalist and broadcaster, is named the recipient of WWF’s Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award.

Gland, 10 June 2021 - Sir David Attenborough, world renowned naturalist, writer and broadcaster, has been named the recipient of WWF’s Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award which honours and recognizes outstanding contributions made to the global conservation movement.

 

For over 60 years, Sir David Attenborough has brought the wonders of the natural world to our screens and into our homes, completely transforming our view of the wild world and inspiring action for our planet's most precious species and fragile habitats.

 

His extraordinary broadcasting career began when he joined BBC Television in 1952. From his first ever documentary series to the more recent A Life On Our Planet, Sir David Attenborough has become synonymous with natural history programming. His lifelong ambition has been to create societal affinity with the natural world through his work and he has been a strong advocate for the need to translate this affinity into real, collective action to protect our planet. 

 

“Sir David Attenborough has been a passionate champion for the natural world, dedicating his life to inspiring hundreds of millions around the world to love and care for nature and wildlife. Across more than 60 years, his universal appeal has transcended generations and borders,” said Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International. “With nature in crisis like never before, we need everyone on the planet to be a voice for nature and Sir David Attenborough has been a shining example of that advocacy. He has been integral in explaining nature to audiences and inspiring action for our planet, our one shared home.”

 

The Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award carries particular poignancy this year given the passing of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Edinburgh in April. Prince Philip - who would have turned 100 today - was a pivotal patron of WWF, serving as a passionate voice, advocate and champion for the organization’s work from its creation and particularly as WWF International’s President from 1981 to 1996. The Prince was also the first president of WWF-UK, from its founding in 1961 until 1982.

 

In 1970, WWF established its prestigious award, eponymously named the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award, to recognize and encourage significant achievement in the global environmental field.

 

“It is a particular honour to receive an award that carries the name of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke was a great pioneer of the conservation movement both in the UK and internationally. His concern for the natural world came from a deep knowledge and understanding, and his energy, advocacy and ability to reach leaders and people all around the world was an inspiration” said Sir David Attenborough.

 

This year WWF marks 60 years of conservation impact and its mission has only grown in relevance and scope over the last six decades, expanding from the protection of species and places to a systemic approach to nature conservation and sustainable development, partnering with others to address the conservation at scale of wildlife, forests, ocean and freshwater systems and to tackle the main drivers of nature loss.

 

Today WWF is calling for urgent action to address the global climate and nature crises and ensure a sustainable future for all. The conservation movement, along with world leaders, businesses and communities will have to achieve more in the next 10 years than in the last 60.

 

“The natural world has never been in greater need of help than it is today. I have seen the damage we have done to it myself. The good news is more and more people are beginning to recognise the threat of impending catastrophe. But there is a long way to go and time is running out. It will be the next generation that determines the future of our planet, and the passion of young people that will ensure that change happens” said Attenborough. 

Fish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
© Shutterstock / Debra James / WWF
Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) in the Gunung Leuser National Park, Indonesia
© Adam Mallon
Herd of Africans elephant (Loxodonta africana) walking through Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Africa
© Richard Krieberg
Top view of Tapajós River
© Andre Dib / WWF-Brazil
Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) on ice, Antarctic Peninsula
© Chris Johnson / WWF-Aus