In Memory of Our Colleagues
In 2006, a helicopter carrying WWF staff members Dr. Chandra Gurung, Dr. Harka Gurung, Jennifer Headley, Yeshi Choden Lama, Matthew Preece, Dr. Jillian Bowling Schlaepfer and Mingma Sherpa as well as other conservation leaders crashed in Nepal, killing all 23 passengers on board.
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.
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.
The first three “national appeals” (now called national organizations) were also established in 1961 in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States. Since then, WWF-US has grown to include over 1 million supporters and has helped lead conservation projects in Alaska, the Northern Great Plains, and around the world.