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An NGO for the protection of the environment and endangered species founded by … hunters. This seems unlikely, but it is nevertheless the case of WWF, which chose the panda for icon. “Further investigation” devotes on February 18, 2021 a document to the famous World Wide Fund for Nature.
Among its founding presidents: Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and the Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of the Queen of England. In his residence in Sandringham, the British royal family still recently exhibited their trophies: baby rhinoceros, tiger skin, elephant tusk, leopard transformed into a carpet … And he is one of the greatest trophy hunters in the world. , Peter Flack, who administered WWF South Africa until 2015.
“Trophy hunting is obscenity”
These unnatural links, a former member of the panda organization’s leadership has publicly denounced them. Eduardo Gonçalves left WWF to found an NGO fighting against trophy hunting, which he considers “obscenity”. While investigating for his association, he made astonishing discoveries: in 2000, the WWF published guides … to evaluate the most beautiful trophies. They are still online on hunter websites.
One of them, titled Counting wildlife, shows African villagers how to measure a trophy such as a rhino horn, an elephant tusk, or a lion’s skin. On its pages, the WWF panda stands next to the logo of Safari Club International, a lobby of trophy hunters based in the United States. WWF has also organized workshops in partnership with local organizations, explains Eduardo Gonçalves, to teach African communities how to participate in the trophy hunting industry.
“This is exactly what the WWF should be fighting”
Why did an NGO that defends endangered species join forces to promote trophy hunting? A fundamental contradiction, but not only, according to Eduardo Gonçalves: “It’s also a betrayal of its original mission, and of why people give money to WWF. Because that’s exactly what the WWF is fighting, or should be fighting. And in any case, whatever the majority of people believe he’s fighting. “
By email, WWF management denies any “financial interest [ou] direct link with the trophy hunting industry “and declares to have” helped the local populations, at their request, to ensure that hunting is practiced in a reasoned manner (…) “. But when we know that in In southern Africa, hunting large mammals would bring in 350 million euros per year for safari organizers, governments and local populations, one wonders if the WWF would not be caught between conflicting demands …
Extract from “WWF: what is the panda playing?”, A document to see in “Further investigation” on February 18, 2021.