Fauna & Flora International (FFI) celebrates its centenary in 2003. It was founded as the Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire (SPWFE) in London in 1903. This paper analyses the events, people, and debates behind its formation and early development. It discusses why the Society was formed, how it worked, and what its main concerns were. It considers the nature and success of the Society's work from 1903 to 1914 in influencing the British Colonial Office's policy on issues such as game reserves, hunting and wildlife clearance for tsetse control in Africa. The SPWFE drew together an elite group of colonial administrators, hunters and other experts on game in Africa, and was effective in lobbying the Colonial Office about preservation. Many of its concerns, and ideas about how to address them, are similar to those that are current today, a century after its establishment.
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