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 71.

    I just don't understand what's fun about shooting a huge animal like an elephant in an open space, I'm not sure if it'd even try to run away.

    Stalking a deer in a forest, trying to keep as quiet as possible as not to alert the animal, then having a nice bit of venison afterwards sounds a lot more sporting, and delicious.

  • 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'

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    To kill an elephant with a high powered rifle requires as much skill as picking your nose.

    And is about as impressive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    What a boring old Spaniard, never mind a supposed king, who thinks that hunting a magnificent creature "for sport/fun" can ever be justified. The only legitimate excuse for killing any wild creature is when it turns rogue and threatens the local community. Otherwise live and let live.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    The human animal is the most destructive creature on earth. Perhaps we could balance out the damage we cause by training the great apes to use high powered rifles. Then we could have an open season on all Royals. Dump them all in the centre of the African bush and let 500 trained and armed great apes have a safari. A lot of useless, self important birds culled by creatures they have abused.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    What is it with these people? what do they get personally from shooting and killing a helpless fellow creature?
    Is it some kind of perverted sexual rush and if so, what do they do then? do they run behind the nearest bush and become sexually self sufficient?
    Nauseating bunch of .......!

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Can't help feeling we're making a mountain out of a molehill here.Now if it had been a very rare endangered species like a panda..

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    We've a few parasites in our royal family who delight in killing animals.
    Get your reporters to highlight how many species charlie and the rest kill in a year.
    Awful people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    He's only sorry because he got caught!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    40. AlphonseEnorme

    I never actually endorsed his actions! Please don't put words into my mouth, thank you.

    I am merely stating the balance between the fact that he HAS apologised and we are all guilty of killing off the environment to one degree or another.

    Flying/cruising generate carbon emissions. Scientist give us 60 months to sort this out, after that, say goodbye to all your animals!

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Rather short sighted of the WWF. Making wildlife valuable for the locals by selling controlled hunting rights, will actually preserve wildlife. If the locals just have to put up with their crops being damaged by wildlife and they see no value in putting up with it, they will just shoot them as pests. Or in this case take the ivory.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    The king of Spain was WRONG. Royals including our own are completely out of touch with what can be considered sport.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I'm certain that the King of Spain already has a higher carbon footprint on the planet than the average person, therfore doing more damage to the enviroment, and then goes and kills an elephant on top of all that!
    Whilst ALL humans are burden on resources, some are a bigger burden than others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Who gives a monkeys?.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    @35-Read what I wrote;elephants decimate the landscape for all other WILDLIFE (not humans obviously) if their numbers are too high.

    And what do we do when a number of another species (homo -allegedly- sapiens) well ecceeds a number sustainable by their planet?

    One or another degenerate monarch won't be enough to solve that problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    He should have been removed from the post. Not for the shooting which may have been part of a necessary cull (sometimes needed for the benefit of other animals - including other elephants) but for the hypocrisy of it. As president of Spain's WWF he should, Like Caesar's wife, be above suspicion

  • Comment number 53.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    39. margaret howard

    Please educate yourself. Vast amounts of rainforest are being removed to make way for cattle farming because of our love of beef etc.. Species are being made extinct even BEFORE we get to know about them - never mind the Elephants.

    Man has every right to find out about the planet he lives on.

    Unfortunately, we need to moderate this, because of carbon emissions.


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