Luc Hoffmann, the true guardian of nature, will be missed in Greece
The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (later known as ARCHELON) came to know him and show him the sea turtle nesting beaches of Zakynthos upon his request, in one of his frequent visits το Greece almost 30 years ago. Since then he was supportive of our work there and especially impressed by the importance of the nesting beach of Sekania. As a result, he quickly endorsed our proposal to invite WWF to purchase the private land behind Sekania beach in order to secure its conservation.
Thomas Arapis, current chair of ARCHELON, remembers:
The summer of 1989, amidst the sea turtle nesting season and our monitoring and awareness projects, I called Dr. Hoffmann from Zakynthos, to share an important development. I had just met, privately,with the “leader” of the family who owned the land behind Sekania beach. I had just discussed with that man the utopic, until then, proposal that the Society would secure the amount of money needed for the purchase of their land. And, I had just reached an agreement with him that he would try to convince his relatives to sell the land provided that an important sum of money would be deposited within one week in a dedicated bank account. Moreover it was agreed that in case an agreement for the purchase of the land would not be finally achieved, that amount of money would remain at the disposal of the land owners, without any return claim from “the ecologists”, as we were called by the local people back then.
I called Dr. Hoffmann on the phone without knowing what to expect.”Those are wonderful news”, he responded immediately.”I would be honored if you would allow me to help. If you agree, tomorrow my secretary will ensure that the required amount will be transferred to your account”.
That was Luc Hoffmann for me: kind, direct, intuitive. His actions served good reasons without expecting personal returns. A source of inspiration for me, for all of us.
This agreement became a reality. Following an initial co-financing from the European Commission, the purchase of the land was completed in 1994 by WWF- Greece, which had been established in-between with G. Valaoras as director. ARCHELON is grateful to Luc Hoffmann because without having ensured the absolute protection in Sekania beach, which hosts more than half of the total sea turtle nests on Zakynthos, the National Marine Park of Zakynthos might not have been established. We deeply wish that other people will follow his steps and contribute to nature conservation as greatly.