The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) was a nature conservation organization founded in 1948. Its members included famous scientists and environmental activists. In 1961, the IUCN members organized a conference that lasted almost three days. However, the topic of their discussions during the conference was not environmental problems. Rather, it was about finding money for the activities of the organization. The organization of renowned scientists was struggling to make the money for even its daily activities.
However, two members who took part in the conference were thinking along a different way. They thought they needed a professional organization to raise fund for the nature conservationist activities. Those two people were famous British Ornithologists Peter Scott and Edward Max Nicholson.
At the same time there was another British activist who had been thinking the same way. It was Julian Huxley, the first Director General of UNESCO and co-founder of IUCN. He had recently written a few articles in ‘The Observer’ about the forthcoming natural disasters. He warned that the animals in Africa would disappear in two decades and the existence of man would be in danger as well. The articles captured attention worldwide and many nature lovers wrote letters to Huxley. One of the writers, in his letter, suggested to Huxley the idea of forming an international organization to raise fund for nature activities. The idea impressed Huxley and he contacted Nicholson and Scott. Nicholson was assigned with the works to form the organization. By 1961, many nature activists and scientists had joined the endeavor and on 11th September that year, the organization World Wildlife Fund was registered as a charity organization. The headquarters were decided to be built in Gland, Switzerland.
Peter Scott was selected as the first chairman of the organization. From then on, it was Scott who spearheaded the activities of WWF. The mascot of the organization was also the creation of Scott, based on a giant panda named Chi-Chi in London Zoo. The fundraising was initiated by an article about the extinction of animals in Daily Mirror, one of the most popular British newspapers then. The article attracted worldwide attention and in one week, the organization received the donations worth 60,000 pounds.
WWF is now the largest organization for the conservation of nature. It has offices in more than 40 countries and millions of activists across the world. Various conservation projects are carried out under their leadership. In 1986, as part of broadening their goals the name of the organization was changed. It is now officially known as World Wide Fund for Nature although the short name is used in the campaigns. The organization raises fund through various means, including membership fees, donations and the sale of greeting cards, stamps and souvenirs.