WWF mourns loss of Founder-President HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
Known as the 'Flying Prince of Conservation', for his love of flying and his dedication to nature conservation, Prince Bernhard was a driving force behind the creation of WWF in 1961, and served as the organization's first International President from 1961 to 1976. For the next 25 years, he continued to play a pivotal role in international efforts to promote conservation and ensure the protection of the natural world.
"Prince Bernhard provided an invaluable source of inspiration and support to WWF. He will be sorely missed," said Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International.
"His dedication to conservation and his role as an ambassador for nature was instrumental in generating support from Heads of State and the public in general."
Prince Bernhard played a central role in many of the achievements of WWF. He was deeply involved in the creation of numerous nature reserves, including the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, tiger reserves in India, Biebrza National Park in Poland, and the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire. In 1973, he was active in encouraging a number of Asian governments to help set up Operation Tiger, whose aim was to save the tiger from extinction. Two years later, he was also instrumental in the creation of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1975.
Fully conscious that effective conservation work requires effective funding, in 1971, Prince Bernhard founded 'The 1001: A Nature Trust'. He persuaded 1,000 people around the world to donate $10,000 each to establish a trust fund, the income from which helps to pay the core costs of WWF International.
"Prince Bernhard was an international spokesperson for the millions of citizens concerned about nature and the environment," said Chief Anyaoku, WWF's International President. "His death is our loss, WWF's loss, and simply a great loss for conservation."
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Clarisse Buma, Head of Press
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