Featured image: A major investigation by news site Buzzfeed, released March 4, 2019, exposed a shocking level of violent abuse by ecoguards and rangers funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). © Buzzfeed
Britain’s charity regulator has launched an official investigation into WWF, in a major blow to the embattled organization.
The inquiry follows an explosive report by Buzzfeed News that revealed that WWF funds, equips, and works directly with paramilitary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assaulting, and murdering scores of people.
WWF’s main response to the Buzzfeed exposé has been to commission a law firm specializing in “reputation management” to conduct an “independent review.”
The investigation will examine whether WWF UK conducts proper due diligence to ensure that the grant money it sends overseas does not contribute to violence.
In a statement, the commission said the “atrocities and human rights abuses that were alleged are at odds with everything we associate with charity.”
The news comes just a day before the launch of the new Netflix-WWF series Our Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today: “It’s a step forward that the Charity Commission is finally launching an investigation, but we’re not holding our breath. The Commission is only concerned with WWFUK, and has no ability to judge its complicity in human rights violations.
“The most that will happen is that it will require WWF to investigate, which WWF has already said it’ll do. We’ll then have a long wait, ending in a bucket of whitewash.
“WWF has known about these atrocities for years. Let’s not forget that, at this moment, WWF is calling for a new protected area, Messok Dja, which is stealing Baka “Pygmy” land in Congo. What we need is a public outcry against fortress conservation which is so damaging to the planet and its peoples.”