© WWF-Pakistan

Fallen Pandas

On the morning of 15 December 2021, five of our colleagues and friends met with a fatal accident en route to Nathiagali Forests, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where they intended to collect data as part of the reconfirmation survey for the REDD+ project.

This tragedy has shocked us all and has left a void in our hearts.

To our friends who are no longer with us, your unfinished journeys and vacant desks are a painful reminder of your absence.

The Panda family from all around the world will miss you.


Aamir Saeed Khan

A passionate environmentalist and loving father

Originally hailing from Kohat, Aamir had over 25 years of experience in conducting forest surveys and implementing community-based conservation projects. Aamir was a technical expert in his field and started his career in WWF working in the Salt Range for a decade. He held two Master’s degrees, in organic chemistry and forestry from Pakistan Forest Institute, and was passionate about the protection of natural resources. Known to all for his kind heart and charitable nature, Aamir was a committed disaster relief volunteer, having spent hours in the field to help communities recover and rebuild after the earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010.

He leaves behind a wife, and three sons, aged 8, 15 and 21. 

Iftikhar Hussain

Nature enthusiast and loyal friend

Iftikhar had been a part of the Panda family since his internship days at the Chitral field office. A true nature enthusiast, Iftikhar held a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences and had helped the organization with many challenging projects, including work on snow leopards, Ibex, and Markhors. He worked with the staff in WWF-Sweden who remembered him fondly and are shocked at his passing.

His dedication towards his work, charismatic personality and humble nature made everyone warm up to him instantly, be it his colleagues, project partners, or the community members he worked with.

Iftikhar leaves behind a young, grieving widow and his beloved mother.

Atif Ali Khan

Future leader, beloved father, and son

Anyone who knew Atif knew he had a bright future ahead of him. Well-organized, talented, and professional, Atif was a gold medalist with an MPhil degree in forestry and rangeland management and was towards the end of completing his PhD degree. He joined the Panda family as an intern and quickly gained confidence and respect within the teams, exhibiting a level of intellect and wisdom unparalleled by his peers.

He leaves behind grieving parents, siblings, and a young widow with a four-month-old son. 

Rafiullah Swati

Budding professional and conservationist from early years

With a degree in forestry, Rafiullah joined WWF-Pakistan as an intern, like many of his team members. His passion towards forestry was unlike others as he had grown up watching his father working in the same field and protecting forests. Already the team leader of the Hazara team of the National Forest Inventory under the REDD+ project, Rafiullah was highly ambitious by nature and aspired to become an expert in his field. 

Farhan Ullah Afridi

Dedicated, diligent and expectant father

Farhan demonstrated maturity and seriousness towards his duty as a driver. He was also fond of nature and so Farhan enjoyed working on WWF assignments as they gave him a chance to explore new areas and be close to nature. Coming from an extremely marginalized background, he could not complete his education. However, he worked hard to provide for his family and despite his young age, was revered for his professionalism and work ethic.

He is survived by aged parents and a young, pregnant wife.