Jump to content
Ornithology Exchange (brought to you by the Ornithological Council)

Luc Hoffman, 1923-2016

Fern Davies

Recommended Posts

From BirdLife International:


Luc Hoffman was a singular man, with immense vision, passion and dedication. Co-founder of World Wildlife Fund, founding father of the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands, he was one of the pillars of nature conservation of our time. His passion for birds and biodiversity led him to create innovative mechanisms to secure the conservation of our fragile planet and channel an incredibly generous amount of his wealth into the MAVA Foundation for nature conservation.

His love for birds led him to secure incredible gains for conservation. Whether it was securing the future of Greater Flamingos in the Camargue in France, migratory shorebirds at Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, or the Spanish Imperial Eagle of Doñana in Spain, Luc had the vision and the courage to push for conservation solutions that have exemplified ‘sustainability’.

A world class birder, Luc also embodied BirdLife’s key principles: like us, he believed that science is the foundation of action; like us he loved birds and their migrations, and their relationship with wetlands helped guide his conservation efforts; like us he believed that conservation can only happen when we join forces and work together in partnership.

Luc’s passing hits the BirdLife family personally. He was one of us: a founding patron of BirdLife, a member of our Executive Committee, and one of our Vice Presidents who helped to model BirdLife as it is now. As such he was a crucial pillar of our organisation and a hero who received our highest recognition, BirdLife’s President’s Medal, in 2008 during the BirdLife Congress in Argentina.

Anecdotes on his dedication and efforts to save nature are countless. In a seminal birding expedition to West Africa as a young man, he visited the Banc d’Arguin. He recognised the area’s exceptional nature and its global importance, and through MAVA, his indomitable spirit, and powerful political connections, Luc drove the conservation of this unique place and its incredible avian assemblage.

Similarly, his support to Francisco Bernis resulted in the creation of Doñana National Park in Spain, an IBA (Important Bird & Biodiversity Area) and a crucial spot for the migration of birds between Europe and Africa. BirdLife in Spain, SEO, honoured Luc in 2000 for his instrumental support to the creation of the Park. Now, following Luc’s legacy SEO continues to play a crucial role in the protection of Doñana.

Luc was, by all accounts, unaffected by the trappings of wealth and power. We remember him also for his preference to stay in humble pensions and cheap hotels close to the coast, rather than in the presidential suites at five-star hotels. He refused to give publicity to his work, family or the foundation named after his children. He didn’t want accolades or praise; he wanted outcomes, for birds and conservation – but he deserved and received both.

Luc Hoffmann loved birds, nature, arts. He loved life. He will be sorely missed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From World Wildlife Fund:


GLAND, Switzerland – 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 said:
“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 said:
“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.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Phys.org


A wildlife groups says Dr. Luc Hoffmann, a Swiss ornithologist and naturalist with a passion for wetlands who helped create the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and many other conservation groups, has died at 93.


Hoffmann died Thursday at his home in the Camargue wetlands of southeastern France, which is known for flamingos and other birds, said the Tour de Valat, a research center he founded there over a half-century ago. No cause of death was given.


A grandson of the founder of the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, now Roche, Lukas "Luc" Hoffmann developed an early fascination with nature. He earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he was born on Jan. 23, 1923.


Hoffmann wrote over 60 books and publications, mostly on birds and their habitats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...