• Becci Pigeon

The World Wildlife Fund's dirty secrets: why NO ONE should donate to the WWF

The face of a black and white panda eating bamboo.

A lot of well meaning people support the World Wildlife Fund. With their famous panda logo and their frequent and eye-catching ad campaigns about gorgeous endangered snow leopards, tigers and elephants, the WWF is probably one of the most famous wildlife protection organisations on the planet. And in 2021, as we live through the sixth mass exinction, wild animals need our help more than ever.

But did you know that the WWF is an active part of the problem?

For example:

  • The WWF has been partnered with meat and dairy industry giant Cargill for over 15 years now. Animal agriculture, of course, is one of the leading causes of biodiversity loss, even moreso than transportation. But even in this industry, Cargill manages to stand out as being particularly irreponsible and unethical: for example, they are heavily involved in the destruction of the Brazilian Cerrado, earning them the unenviable title of The Worst Company in the World, and they have a record of dramatically underreporting their emissions by omitting supply chain emissions, which account for up to 90% of the total.

  • The WWF won the title of 'Greenwashing of the Year' from Survival International for their partnership with seven companies involved in the logging of almost 4 million hectares of forests belonging to the Baka and Bayaka 'Pygmies' of central Africa. The award is 'given to companies or organizations who dress up the destruction of tribal peoples’ forests as conservation.'

'WWF’s supporters might be surprised to learn that it’s working so closely with the loggers who are destroying one of Earth’s great rainforests. Congo Basin tribes, the original guardians, are being pushed aside and their societies wrecked. Across Africa and Asia, the big conservation organizations partner with industry and tourism and destroy the environment’s best allies. It’s a con, and it’s harming conservation.' -Survival International Director Stephen Corry
  • The WWF supports hunting, and that includes trophy hunting of severely endangered animals such as polar bears and black rhinos. As of last summer, the British branch of the WWF claims to have stopped endorsing trophy hunting specifically but it is unclear what the rest of the organisation, which has centres in 100+ countries, is doing. In fact, their page on the topic has not been updated and still argues that trophy hunting is a 'potential conservation tool that can be considered as part of an overall conservation strategy.'

  • The WWF has had a series of accusations of human rights abuses levied against it, and has been claimed that it 'funds, equips and works with paramilitary forces accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting and murdering scores of people in national parks across Africa and Asia.'

If you want to protect endangered animals, the very first thing to do is stop supporting the most significant cause of their destruction by going vegan. What about donating to organisations who can make an even bigger difference? Great idea! But be sure to do your research--and don't opt for giant multinational groups like the WWF that do more greenwashing than anything else.

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