Statements from Conservation International on the passing of E.O. Wilson

December 27, 2021

Arlington, VA (Dec. 27, 2021) – Today, Conservation International released the following statements on the passing of Edward O. Wilson, renowned scientist, conservationist and former member of the Conservation International Board of Directors:

Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan said:

“I was saddened to hear of Edward O. Wilson’s passing today. My thoughts are with his family and his colleagues at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. Every conservationist and ecologist owes their career path in some way to Ed. Many of us were inspired by his groundbreaking books including “Biodiversity,” which was seminal to the field and which helped establish that word in society’s consciousness. His writing reminded us that the world is really magnificent and connected and dripping with life. Ed served with distinction as part of the Conservation International board, and we will all miss his curiosity and wisdom.”

Founder of Conservation International and Chairman of the Board Peter Seligmann said:

“Edward O. Wilson had an outsized impact on biodiversity science and conservation. As a board member of Conservation International, his influence was profound, challenging the organization to focus intensively on protecting the most important biodiversity “hotspots.” Dr. Wilson inspired Jim Wolfensohn, then president of the World Bank, to work with Conservation International and others to launch the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund. Similarly, he was an inspiration to Gordon and Betty Moore to make biodiversity conservation a priority for their foundation.

“His scientific genius was surpassed only by his kindness and humility, making E.O. a friend to all. He had an uncanny ability to break through stubborn opposition to nature conservation. I will always remember conversations that we had with Evangelical Christians where E.O. was able to express with clarity that creation and biodiversity are one and the same.

“He will be missed by all who knew him and by all who read his brilliant writings.”


About Conservation International Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International’s work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.