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 111.

    Regarding the King of spain. it is a diverse country, Catalunya (north) has banned bullfights but they continue popular in the south. Franco too was popular in some parts but hated in Catalunya. All goes back to the civil war. Not strictly elephant related, sorry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Hunting is utterly imoral and those engaging in this murder should be arrested. If Animals in thier natural habitat are causing problems there is a more humane way of dealing with it. I call on activists to fight back with all the power they have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Have none of you heard of Dinosaurs, who were not culled and populated for themselves and made themselves extinct?
    What will the elephants live on when they have obliterated the local habitat. They en masse migrate to other parts of Africa and then destroy those parts.Humans must live with nature which will always win. We are not the be all and end all of life. We naturally hunt let´s go fishing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Disgraceful behaviour from King Carlos. It's beyond me how anyone can call shooting a defenceless animal 'sport'. If the animals and birds had guns and could shoot back, that would be much more sporting!

    I gave up my membership of WWF because it's so closely allied to members of our own Royal Family who are happy to shoot for 'sport'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    There has always been a correlation between royalty and blazing away at wildlife, doesn't matter which country the royals are from either. Must be in their blood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    40. Alphonse Enorme I didn't say you did 'endorse his actions', However you DO appear to be tacitly defending the slaughter of Elephants or seeking to lessen its ghastliness by comparing it with issues you deem as comparable or worse. It matters little if "he was there just for the hunting or hunting was only part of his vacation" - the hypocrisy is palpable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    WWF in Spain has removed King Juan Carlos as Honorary President for going on an elephant hunting trip in Botswana. What, prey tell, did he do with the elephant meat - lay it waste, feed the porters? Was he lucky enough to get ivory too!
    Mistake & apologized, or got caught & apologized? I think the latter & good decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

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

    Perhaps the poor old boy thought it was a World Wrestling Federation beano he was being sent on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Great move by WWF. Hunting animals for sport is indefensible. Thousands of years ago we hunted out of necessity. Any hunting or similar "sport" (i.e. bull fighting) in the 21st century is simply barbarism by people on an ego trip. I thought we had evolved but perhaps I was wrong. Simple question is, how can anyone believe that killing something for their own amusement or adrenaline rush is okay ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    70 David

    "So King Calos' cultural values are somewhat different to many in the west"
    The stated guiding principles of the WWF are:

    "We need to share our world with all the other species that live on it. Respectfully. Harmoniously.
    And we must stop being the cause of their disappearance. Their extinction."
    That hardly fits in with the king's cultural values.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    "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...???"

    Vladimir Putin, Hujintao, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Kim Jong-un, Castro Bros, Jose M. Barroso, Bashar Assad, and, if you consider a career in a circus as a clown - Hugo Chavez.

  • 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 99.

    It says a lot about a conservation group that would have a known hunter as its president in the first place. The world is MAD!

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    How many of the critics writing in this blog have been to BOTSWANA?
    Botswana has a n overpopulation of elephants and if rich people want to spend money for some people to earn honest money in providing transport food and accommadation and gifts for the folk back home, that must be good for so many people. It is most likely that The King of Spain was a guest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    WWF and Greenpeace are now both funding pots for far left-wing propoganda. Any scientists, anthropologists and philaphropists worth their salt bailed over a decade ago when it was clear what was happening to both organisations. I'm not monarchy fan, but if I were King Carlos, I wouldn't be losing any sleep over this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Shooting purely for sport is morally wrong - how many more animals do humans have to make extinct? And Elephants do have natural predators - lions for one. The problem is caused by humans taking over elephant habitat for farming and upsetting the natural balance of the ecosystems. African wildlife survived perfectly in balance for millions of years before we came and meddled.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 93.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    @Josh... Humans are the cause of much trouble on this earth... Do they also have to be *removed*? Your logic is what is driving this planet to perdition. If we exercise animal population control, we also have to exercise human population control which is getting out of hand. This rate is unsustainable, and it isnt the elephants fault!


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