An environmental visionary and a father to WWF

WWF statement on the extraordinary life of Dr Luc Hoffmann

GLAND, Switzerland (22 July) – WWF mourns the death on Thursday of Dr Luc Hoffmann at the age of 93. At the same time, WWF celebrates his extraordinary life-long contribution to nature conservation and to the organization.

Dr Hoffmann was one of WWF International’s first board members and served as WWF International’s first vice president until 1988. In addition to working with WWF International’s founders to help establish the global organization, Dr Hoffmann was a founder of WWF-France and WWF-Greece. Dr Hoffmann was acting as vice president emeritus at the time of his death.

An ardent ornithologist from early childhood, Dr Luc Hoffmann obtained a PhD in Zoology from Basel University and authored more than 60 books and publications on birds and their habitats. Over his life, Dr Hoffmann remained committed to conservation through his personal work and through the activities of numerous institutes and foundations.

In addition to his work in support of WWF, Dr Hoffmann served as director of Wetlands International, vice-president of IUCN and established the Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania. He was a key figure in the original effort to save Spain’s Coto Doñana and was the driving force behind the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Dr Hoffmann established the Tour du Valat research centre in the Camargue region of France and dedicated his life to the centre’s work.

In a lasting legacy to honour Dr Hoffmann’s visionary work, in 2012 WWF and the MAVA Foundation established the Luc Hoffmann Institute to address some of the planet’s most difficult environmental challenges through sustainability science solutions. Dr Hoffmann was awarded WWF’s highest conservation honour, the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award, in 1998. He was also decorated with the French Legion of Honour in 2010 and received the 2016 Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation award for biodiversity conservation. 

Luc’s son André Hoffmann currently serves as vice president of WWF International. 

Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International, said:

“Luc Hoffmann was an environmental visionary and individually responsible for raising public awareness on the cause of conservation. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to protecting nature through his work in the field and through his philanthropy. Without Luc Hoffmann, there would be no WWF and we are forever grateful for his selfless contributions to our natural world. On behalf of WWF, I express the sincere sympathies of the entire WWF family to the Hoffmann family at this sad time.”

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International said:
“Luc was a true pioneer for modern nature conservation and inspired an entire generation of young nature lovers to take action to preserve habitats and species in danger. I was myself a product of his inspiration. Thank you Luc!”

Jonathan Hutton, Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute

“It is a privilege for me to be leading an institute that honours Luc Hoffmann’s conservation legacy. He helped pioneer the modern conservation movement and the Luc Hoffmann Institute will carry on this innovation and forward thinking.”

Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF-Greece 

“Luc Hoffmann's passing marks the end of a true epoch of conservation. He was an amazing man, a true pioneer and a very special friend who inspired so many of us with his unique passion for nature. We are greatly indebted to him for having founded WWF-Greece, and I will personally always cherish his wisdom and the very special times we had together in the field for so many years. We will dearly, dearly miss him.”

Pascal Canfin, CEO of WWF-France said:
“Few have been as involved as Luc Hoffmann in the efforts for the conservation of nature in France and all over the world. WWF-France not only mourns a man whose determination and commitment will always remain an example for us all; but also its founder. He devoted - in all humility - his life, his energy, his persuasive force, to protecting species and emblematic areas such as Camargue, Brenne and Alps.”

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For more information contact:

Kate Cooke, WWF International
office: +41 22 364 9041

Tanya Petersen, Luc Hoffmann Institute
phone: +41 79 912 2447
(in Australia time zone, GMT+10)


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