It is a well over four decades since the veteran broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough first became vice-president of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and a mind-blowing 63 years since he originally enrolled as a member of our organisation – back in the days when we were known as the Fauna Preservation Society.
His long association with FFI may not feature anywhere among the myriad responsibilities, achievements and other biographical information enumerated in his Wikipedia profile, but from our perspective, the relationship has been hugely significant. In our view, any list of David Attenborough’s greatest achievements should include what he has done for this organisation, including his crucial contribution to one of FFI’s most iconic success stories.
Of the various organisations that I am involved with, Fauna & Flora International is one of the closest to my heart.
In normal circumstances, describing someone as a great ambassador for an organisation might reasonably be considered a fitting accolade. In this case, it doesn’t begin to do justice to how FFI has benefited – not least in terms of scientific credibility and popular appeal – from its close ties with a conservation legend.
Despite a schedule of commitments that would leave ordinary mortals reaching for the smelling salts, Sir David has consistently made time to endorse FFI’s work, provide moral support, and help promote our events, campaigns and activities. He is also a source of inspiration to everyone associated with the organisation. FFI staff past and present frequently cite Attenborough and his peerless nature documentaries as the main catalyst for their choice of career, and that’s surely the ultimate tribute.
Sir David once said that FFI ‘invented modern-day conservation'. Well, if I might return the favour, if we invented it, then it was Sir David who made the world care about it.
Too many species are in grave danger of being wiped off the face of the Earth. Like the threads in a tapestry, every last one of them is a vital part of the bigger picture.
Please support our work to protect the biodiversity on which we all depend - before it’s too late.