Luc Hoffmann was an extraordinary naturalist who believed fiercely in the value and protection of the planet’s wild splendour.

“Conservation is not the protection of nature against human development, but the preservation of life supporting systems and processes as a basis for a lasting development.”
Luc Hoffmann, MAVA Founder

Grandson of the founder of Hoffmann-La Roche, the pharmaceutical company now known as Roche, Luc’s enthusiasm for the natural world, especially birds, began in childhood.

Later enchanted by the unique wetlands of the Camargue in southern France while researching his PhD, he went on to set up the Tour du Valat biological research station, inspiring generations of ecologists. As well as the Camargue, Luc fell in love with what have become some of the world’s most iconic biodiversity sites: the Prespa Lakes in Greece, Macedonia and Albania, Doñana in Spain, the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, and the Bijagós Islands in Guinea Bissau.

Luc Hoffmann © HHôte Agence Caméléon
Flamants, Iwik (c) François Nimal

Seeing science and research as the keys to success, Luc inspired collaboration across a community of trusted partners and committed conservationists.

Mobilising popular support, Luc co-founded WWF in 1961 and helped create many other celebrated conservation organisations such as Wetlands International, IUCN, PRCM, and FIBA (which has now merged with MAVA). Recognising the need to reach across borders to protect wildlife, he also helped establish the Ramsar Convention on wetlands.


Luc was decorated with the French Legion of Honour in 2010 and received the 2016 Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation award for biodiversity conservation. He was also awarded WWF’s highest conservation honour, the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award, in 1998.

Through an untiring generosity of spirit, he affected change across countries and continents, transforming nature conservation into a global movement.

Prespa (c) Marko Pecarevic