Spanish WWF sacks King Juan Carlos over elephant hunt

King Juan Carlos, file pic The vote to abolish the position of honorary president was carried by a 94% majority

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The conservation group WWF in Spain has removed King Juan Carlos as its honorary president for going on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana.

The WWF's Spanish chapter voted overwhelmingly to abolish the post, a statement said, adding that the safari did not sit well with WWF goals.

The king was widely criticised after news of the trip emerged in April, in the middle of a severe economic crisis.

Spain's royal family has faced a series of embarrassments this year.

King Juan Carlos apologised to the Spanish people for the hunting trip, which only came to light when he was flown home from Africa after breaking a hip.

An online petition calling for his resignation from the WWF post accumulated almost 85,000 signatures by the time he made his public apology.


The controversy prompted Spanish newspapers to publish a photo of the king on a previous safari, in which he is seen standing with a gun beside a dead elephant.

"Although this type of hunting is legal and regulated, many members consider it to be incompatible with the position of honorary patron of an international organisation that aims to protect the environment," the WWF statement said on Saturday.

The vote to abolish the position of honorary president was carried by a 94% majority, it said.

The king is generally popular in Spain, but the royal family has been beset by a series of embarrassing news stories this year.

The king's son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, has been questioned in connection with a corruption scandal involving claims that he used public funds to organise sports events.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Instead of a gun, why not use a camera with a long lens, a far better way of shooting any animal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    Hunting elephants in this day and age is as acceptable as hunting dolphins, chimpanzees, gorillas or orangutans. I.e. it isn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    There is nothing wrong with the legal hunting of elephants. Ignorant activists from Europe cry a lot but controlled hunting of elephants is needed to protect the environment in places like Namibia and Botswana. Huge and growing numbers of elephants are devastating places like the Chobe in Botswana which will lead to the extinction of other species.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Elephants are intelligent and sensitive pack animals who care for one another and who mourn their dead. Only a very callous person would even contemplate murdering them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Interesting animals having rights. Does an African family have the right to live as they choose, within their culture, or are they to accept our cultural values,that is only to kill animals we choose for them to kill. So King Calos' cultural values are somewhat different to many in the west. There is so much self righteousness/control in this it astonishes me. Do you really know what is 'right'


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