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 91.

    What a mindless idiot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Elephants are endangered and under serious threat from poaching in many parts of Africa. Allowing rich westerners to come over and hunt them for sport, as well as being grotesque, is undermining conservation efforts in other parts of Africa. How can you justify shooting dead poachers in one country for killing an elephant while allowing these rich morons to shoot as these please?!!

  • 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 88.

    Is there anyone left in the world in a position of power/authority anywhere in the world who actually sets a good exmaple to their nation's youngsters...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

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

    And is about as impressive."

    That at the time when some peace-keeping anti-ballistic missiles (e.g. US M3s) are capable of destroying a bullet with a bullet in space.

    Let's at least boast about something which really matters.

    And involves some intellectual skill, not merely brute force.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    (Part 2) I am also totally for rich stupid people to pay un-godly sums to hunt a couple of animals (when highly regulated) As sad as it may be it turns a local pest and competitor for agricultural/industrial space to a commodity which not only benefits the locals financially but also leads to the protection of the local habitatā€¦

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Why, oh why, would you have a WWF honorary position for the monarch of a country where there is bullfighting? WHY is ANYONE surprised at this retarded attitude by an out of touch, no doubt inbred symbol of the past?

    Seriously, this isn't news........

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    50 Really Sleeping

    "Since only 94% opted to remove King Carlos from his post, what were the other 6% thinking??"

    They're probably the same ones who still support bull fighting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    If there are too many elephants in Botswana now, then what is the harm in hunting them? If he was hunting Panda's then fair enough give him the sack.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    75. Really_Sleepy

    I do travel. But I understand what affect it has and I know I am guilty!

    I am therefore NOT being a hypocrite by criticising the King of Spain for one hunting trip!

    You will not find me, however, travelling to 'get the T-shirt', impress the neighbours or waste my time on a weekend beer trip to Amsterdam when I can do it just as good locally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    The man is a complete fool, killing animals in the name of sport.............that belongs in the anals of history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Our soldiers (especially one) stabbed in the back, trillions in tax evasion by disgusting pigs (we all have some who immediately spring to mind)

    Who gives a toss about a nonentity like the king of Spain. Send back his daughter's nutmeg and let's here no more about him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    (Part 1) When I was in Botswana even the reserve managers and tour guides which make their living off of the natural world were saying they desperately need a cull, in Chobe National Park they have over 60 000 of them along with everything else trying to live there and they cause major damageā€¦

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Let's face it.
    Killing animals for sport is usually a substitute for lackings in the trouser department!

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Compare a damage done by one fanatical suicidal Islamist terrorist (e.g.,Maj. Nidal Hassan) or a psychopath with a rifle (Breivik, Holmes, etc.) to a damage allegedly caused by elephants.

    [even if locked in a China shop]

    And aim accordingly next time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    kings sorry about hunting trip... pft doubt it, the only thing hes sorry about is the reaction hes got from it and that hes made to leave the group.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.


    I'm guessing you've never been abroad, never use public transport or travel by car because of your clear anger towards people who leave carbon footprints. Bet your feet are sore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Let's not forget that Spain still grant shark finning permits

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    We are not talking about squashing a fly here. Elephants are magnificent creatures with emotions and strong family bonds. Who in their right mind would want to destroy such a creature for 'sport'? The whole of the worlds 'elite' are walking a dangerous path, especially after learning they are hiding $21 trillion. Killing elephants for fun just about sums up their perverted morals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    57. AndyEsbjerg

    Yes, he probably has, but I haven't endorsed it!

    If he can influence politicians & other significant people in other countries then that is important. I am sure, like it or not, he would have more influence than most of us, because he, after all, whether you like it or not, is the King of Spain!

    I personally wouldn't sacrifice his influence for the sake of one hunting trip!


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