Europe

Spanish WWF sacks King Juan Carlos over elephant hunt

  • 22 July 2012
  • From the section Europe
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King Juan Carlos, file pic
Image caption The vote to abolish the position of honorary president was carried by a 94% majority

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.

'Incompatible'

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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