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Attenborough's history with WLT

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David Attenborough and John Burton

Sir David Attenborough explains how he became passionate about the conservation work of the World Land Trust (WLT) through the charities founder and CEO, John Burton

“My links with the WLT go back very many years before it was established in 1989 - indeed, as far back as 1976 while I was working on Life on Earth. Those who watched the programme will recall that, while filming in Rwanda, we were alerted to the plight of the Mountain Gorillas.

"With John Burton, WLT’s CEO, who was at that time working for the Fauna Preservation Society (now Fauna and Flora International), we were able to launch the Mountain Gorilla Project which over the subsequent years has successfully halted the demise of these wonderful animals.

Sir David Attenborough at a fundraising event with WLT staff

Sir David Attenborough with Wold Land Trust (WLT) staff at a fundraising event in January 2012, where Sir David gave an inspiring speech about why he supports our conservation work across the world © David Bebber

"When John contacted me in 1989 to ask whether I would support a brand new rainforest initiative in Belize I was pleased to give it my backing. Since then I have watched as the WLT has gone on to purchase and protect critically endangered tracts of land to protect it acre by acre for the future.

"I have been immensely lucky in that my professional work has taken me to all corners of the world where I have been able to see first-hand some of the rarest and most spectacular wildlife on earth. But the fate of the creatures which share our planet lies entirely at the hand of mankind - it is within our power to protect them or watch them become extinct. Let us choose the first route."

Find out more about WLT's mission and ethos »

(Extract from Patron’s message, Annual Review and Accounts 2003, available from the WLT online or in hard copy.)

David Attenborough's signature

Sir David Attenborough, CH FRS


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