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 31.

    Many of the Royal families of Europe seem to be moving with the times and endearing themselves to their populations - however King Carlos of Spain is as dumb as a bag of hammers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    22. siquando: "amateur dental practice without amnesia".

    Does that mean not forgetting anaesthesia? And what exactly do you have against King Carl XVI Gustaf's teeth?

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Elephants are creatures of this world and have an absolute right to live in it without fear of being carelessly murdered through someone's distorted idea of what 'sport' consists of. I remain unimpressed by those who insist upon the empty entitlement to be regarded as in a different class from everybody else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    "The king is generally popular in Spain".

    Really? I would like to know what this is based on. My impression is that the Spanish royal family is deeply unpopular. It was not welcome back after Franco died and has been embarrassing since.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Funny the arguments that the elephant population is getting out of control. If there's one population that's out of control, its humans. And the unelected 'royalty' of the world is a population which seems particularly out of control. Perhaps we can reverse the roles for some fun: Take all of the monarchs, strip them of all weapons, and place them amongst some wild elephants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I don't know why they didn't do this years ago when he was hunting bears in Russia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Good decision - this is 2012 not 1912, its time the WWF got from its Tower in the golden streets of Geneva.
    At the current rate of poaching and killing for being in the wrong place - African elephants ( rhino etc etc) will be EXTINCT in our life time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Most of you negative posters are hypocrites!

    You are quick to criticise royals hunting yet most of you are keen to, and do, visit many destinations world-wide. Your endeavours to fly, cruise, and visit beautiful far-way locations is having a far more profound damaging affect on this planet than hunting. Holidays 'in the sun' & eating burgers actually is more damaging than hunting well ever be!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Good. What a pillock that man is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    i think we should invent a new blood sport .... amateur dental practice without amnesia on anyone of any royal line... don't vote this negatively you know you would love to have a go at the king of Sweden's nashers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Europe must get rid of these Monarcy Dictators. They represent no one, they hold military parades instead of holding elections for themselves. No Dictator should be allowed to travel as a representative of a country, because they do not represent anybody. You can not get rid of that parasite no matter what he does. That is why they are called Dictators. OUT>>>>>

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The fact is that elephants have no natural predators, so their numbers easily reach unsustainable levels. When elephant numbers get too high they decimate the local ecosystem by knocking trees down, which has very adverse knock on effects for all wildlife. Therefore some have to be removed, if you can get someone to come in and pay a lot of money to remove that elephant for you all the better!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Elephants hurt who?. Lovely creatures.

    No "friendly fire" ;-) available when hunting to bring this barbarism to a significant halt.

    Why are human beings so nasty, not only to themselves, but to living things in general?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    How can anyone in their right mind think this was the wrong decision ? It would be like having Prince Philip as head of race relations!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Maybe they should ask why the Spanish queen meddles in politics at very high levels as well as this story..... ;)

    Do a bit of research.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    So the nobility goes hunting while the peasants scratch for scraps. The world hasn't changed much really has it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    This should not be all he looses..


  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Spain in general has a long history of hunting and what are now classed as cruel sports. Obviously it comes from the top down. Franco was a keen hunter.
    Perhaps this sort of change in National feeling will help stop the wholesale slaughter of birds and mammals which has reduced many European species to near extinction. In the UK only game and pest birds may be hunted by shooters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Yes, right to remove King from post.
    But I've a sneaking feeling that people who have more than a couple of kids are doing more harm to wildlife..........

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.


    His influence on others will be lost?

    You mean influencing the recession-mired Spanish to go off shooting elephants? Appreciate your concern, but I think you don't have to lose sleep over that.


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