The Charity Commission has launched an official investigation into WWF UK following media reports claiming the organisation has been funding abuse overseas.
The inquiry follows a scathing report by Buzzfeed, which claimed the charity funds, equips and works directly with parliamentary forces that have been accused of beating, torturing, sexually assualting and murdering people.
The regulator's investigation will now seek to examine whether WWF UK conducts 'proper due diligence' to ensure the grant money it sends overseas does not contribute to any form of violence.
"Atrocities and human rights abuses that were alleged are at odds with everything we associate with charity," the regulator said in a statement.
The news comes just as the Netflix-WWF series Our Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is officially launched.
Commenting on the announcement, Survival International director Stephen Corry said: “It’s a step forward that the Charity Commission is finally launching an investigation, but we’re not holding our breath. The Commission is only concerned with WWF UK, and has no ability to judge its complicity in human rights violations.
“The most that will happen is that it will require WWF to investigate, which WWF has already said it’ll do. We’ll then have a long wait, ending in a bucket of whitewash."
However, the WWF has said it takes the allegations "extremely seriously" and is "committed to a full exploration of the issues that have been raised".
The wildlife charity has commissioned an independent review to examine specific allegations as well as its overall governance.