The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was created in 1961 to raise funds for wildlife conservation and immediately recruited European royalty to help attract wealthy benefactors. At first it was a novel good cause and this is why Britain’s royal family, plus their close friend David Attenborough, have been loyal supporters for six decades. However, for more than twenty years, the WWF has not been the benevolent conservation organization that it was in the 1960s yet these powerful men support them with more vigor than ever.
Prince Philip was the first president of the WWF-UK but ended his association with the group when they morphed into a politicized activist organization lobbying for the limitation of fossil fuels to curb human-caused global warming. However, Prince Charles, now King Charles III, became even more involved in WWF propaganda machine and eventually initiated son William, now heir apparent, into doing the same.
When the WWF began falsely promoting itself as a scientific authority a dozen or so years ago, these naive elite boosters accepted it without question, parroting unsubstantiated WWF climate doomsday talking points at every opportunity. These men don’t speak with an authority of their own knowledge on this topic: they use their exalted positions to assist the WWF and others achieve their utopian dream: destroy for others the capitalism that created their own wealth and power.
It is clear now that many of the goals of the WWF are also shared by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and that these complement the vision the King and David Attenborough have for the future. They all want a return to a world with fewer people that live meager, circumscribed lives while the rich carry on their jet-setting ways. The King will lobby again for their collective vision of the world this Friday at Buckingham Palace.
Attenborough also spoke out on the topic in person a few weeks ago (see below) after years of making documentaries and public statements that make his position very clear. Attenborough became an official WWF ambassador in 2015, the same year that the WWF partnered with Netflix and the BBC to make their first documentary, ‘Our Planet’. The WWF’s warped perception of science prevailed in ‘Our Planet’, so it’s no wonder the documentary is full of misleading and deceptive information. The film featured the infamous falling walrus fiasco that is the focus of my book, Fallen Icon: Sir David Attenborough and the Walrus Deception.
I have copied an excerpt below about the WWF-Royalty-Attenborough connection as important background to understanding the power structure of the climate change and animal conservation agenda that is now being pushed hard in an emotionally manipulative manner. I have spent years showing that conditions in the natural world are not as bad as Attenborough and the WWF insist and so do not warrant extreme ‘solutions’ as proposed by King Charles, the WEF, and many who will attend the COP 27. I will continue resisting this utopian fantasy.
Excerpt from Fallen Icon
World Wildlife Fund, aka World Wildlife Fund for Nature
The WWF was founded in 1961 by businessmen as a way to help raise money for the newly-formed International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which was having financial trouble carrying out its mission to protect species at risk of extinction. WWF set up shop at IUCN headquarters in Switzerland, tying the two together by money. Because it aimed to attract wealthy benefactors – many of whom had a passion for African safaris – the WWF did not condemn hunting. It finally did impose restrictions on hunting in 1965 but only for those holding office at the WWF, on land ‘set aside for prosperity with WWF money’. Hunting in general or even trophy hunting specifically was never actively discouraged.[i]
Prince Bernhard, consort of Queen Juliana of The Netherlands was the first high-profile president of WWF International, while Prince Philip, consort of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, became the president of WWF-UK. In European royal tradition, both were avid big game hunters and generated considerable controversy for doing so in the early 1960s while promoting the new WWF conservation organization. They both eventually stopped hunting overseas although they kept hunting in Europe.[ii]
The WWF had lofty goals from the beginning but it took a while to amass the funds needed to really make a difference. Its first major grant was $38,000 to the Smithsonian Institution in 1973 to study the tiger population in Nepal.[iii] Over the years, WWF became very effective at its fund raising and lobbying for conservation causes.[iv] By 2010 it was an exceedingly wealthy and successful business: it had offices in 82 countries, more than 5,000 staff, and a total operating revenue of €524,963,000 (equivalent to just under three-quarters of a billion US dollars at that time).[v]
The WWF’s first venture into promoting the concept of human-caused global warming and its looming catastrophe appears to have come in 1999, when it established a ‘Climate Savers’ program that partnered with corporations to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions.[vi] In 2004, they developed a program to encourage the public to describe how they had personally experienced the effects of human-caused climate change, who they called ‘climate witnesses’. Although such stories were not verified and therefore could not be considered facts or evidence, a ‘Climate Witness Scientific Advisory Panel’ of experts was established. The job of these experts was to put a quasi-scientific stamp of approval on the tales of climate woe.[vii] Were they, or were they not, consistent with expected effects of climate change? Approved anecdotes were later published as ‘Climate Witness Fact Sheets’ that could be downloaded from the WWF website.
These initial ventures into the climate change narrative seem to have been the impetus for the WWF to start positioning and promoting itself as a trusted scientific authority on topics related to conservation and environmental protection (as it did to the UK House of Commons in 2014), rather than merely a fund-raising organization whose role was to help other organizations save species and habitats.[viii] For more than a decade, it has been wealthy enough to employ people with degrees in conservation biology – who we are encouraged to think of as unbiased scientists rather than activists with university degrees – and to fund research projects we are encouraged to think of as unbiased scientific studies rather than exercises in circular reasoning.[ix]
The very nature of the organization means that all employees and associates have a skewed vision of the world and an agenda that must be served, which tends to distort any research before it can even begin.[x] Since 1998, the WWF had been producing a ‘Living Planet Report’ on the state of the planet, based on studies of dubious validity and interpreted through the peculiar lens of WWF advocacy. However, obviously that wasn’t impactful enough – the organization finally branched out into big-ticket climate change documentaries in 2015, where their distorted interpretations of science could be turned into high-definition infomercials sold as educational entertainment – which is where Attenborough and the story of Pacific walruses came into play.[xi]
Before that, however, the WWF had been assisting cash-poor small communities across the Arctic (including Russia, Greenland, Canada and Alaska) protect themselves from polar bear attacks. Polar bear problems across the Arctic became increasingly common after the turn of the 21st century as polar bear numbers continued to grow after they received international protection from overhunting in 1973.[xii] However, the amount of cash invested in these programs has been small when considered against the organization’s enormous wealth. For example in 2020, WWF-Russia finally – after more than a decade of ‘partnership’ – assisted in the purchase of an ATV and a snowmobile for the village of Ryrkaipiy in Chukotka, which has had a problem with bears since at least 2006; in other areas, WWF trains and pays the small wages for a few polar bear guards who are undoubtedly happy to have any amount of cash for a few months (living as they do in economies where opportunities to earn money are rare).[xiii]
At the same time, the WWF exploit these occasions to indoctrinate local residents and their children to the current WWF view of the world, which gives them loyal local contacts they can depend upon for information and logistical support. However, most critically, these WWF programs are promoted heavily to the general public as ‘good works’: often, journalists are convinced to write about these helpful programs, giving the organization important free publicity.[xiv] On balance, the PR value of these Arctic programs – in terms of the increased donations to the WWF they generate – is almost certainly much larger than the costs to run them, which is one of the reasons the organization has become so rich.
David Attenborough has had a long association with the WWF in Britain. WWF-UK was the first national organization established after WWF-International was formed. In 1961, Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth II) served as its first president, from 1961 to 1982, a role his son Prince Charles took on in 2011. Remarkably, Prince Philip withdrew his support for the organization when the WWF began its aggressive campaign against global warming, even as his son Charles became a more fervent advocate.[xv] Attenborough never had such an epiphany: he came on board the WWF-UK along with the royal family in the early 1960s and has served as an official WWF ‘Ambassador’ since at least June 2015.[xvi]
Attenborough has always held the WWF in high regard – even after it morphed from a conservation fund-raising organization of the IUCN into a billion dollar conglomerate that required many millions of dollars in donations annually just to cover operating expenses and lobbying activities. Not being a scientist himself and therefore able to know better, he trusts the scientific authority of the WWF: if they say a Sixth Mass Extinction is imminent or that unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge, he not only believes them but enthusiastically passes along the message.[xvii] It is therefore hardly surprising that Attenborough would see a business deal to make a documentary with the WWF as a wonderful opportunity.
[i] Schwarzenbach, A. 2011:81
[ii] Kay 2014; Farhoud and Lines 2021
[iii] Schwarzenbach, A. 2011; WWF no date
[iv] Laframboise 2012
[v] Glüsing and Klawitter 2012; Laframboise 2011a; WWF 2011; shortly after this time, WWF-International seems to have stopped producing a document that shows its entire holdings (each subsidiary country produces its own), which obscures the immense wealth of the parent company.
[vi] WWF, no date
[vii] Laframboise 2011a; Laframboise 2011b; https://wwf.panda.org/?117540/Climate-Witness-Fact-Sheets 
[viii] Laframboise 2014
[ix] Given 1993; Horton et al. 2016; Noss 1999; Westcott 2016; WWF 2016a; WWF 2018; WWF 2020b
[xi] WWF 2016a; WWF 2018; https://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?345490/Our-Planet-highlights-need-for-global-action-to-protect-nature
[xii] Crockford 2019c; Wilder et al. 2017
[xiii] https://arcticwwf.org/newsroom/stories/tatyana-minenko-the-polar-bear-patrol-chief/ [Ryrkaipiy, 25 March 2020; https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/one-arctic-town-s-very-busy-polar-bear-patrol [East Greenland, 26 Feb 2018]
[xiv] Zerehi 2016
[xv] Booker 2017
[xvi] WWF 2016a
[xvii] BBC 2019c; Westcott 2016; WWF 2016b; https://www.inverse.com/article/39394-david-attenborough-sixth-mass-extinction
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