Crown’s folly

Tuesday 14 August 2012

WWF>> Vote • Spain/Botswana

King Juan Carlos (right) poses beside a dead elephantThe Spanish branch of WWF has stripped King Juan Carlos of his position as its honorary president after deciding that his recent elephant-hunting safari in Botswana was detrimental to the goal of the conservation group. The king had held the title since WWF was founded in Spain in 1968. Though such hunting is legal in Botswana, WWF Spain said, the monarch’s participation in it had made many of its members uneasy. On July 21, they voted to abolish the position of honorary president.

The Telegraph reports the king is known to be a hunter, but he normally kept a low profile during such trips. His visit to Botswana came to light as he broke his hip and had to be evacuated to Spain for replacement surgery. Shortly afterwards, newspapers published a publicity photograph for a safari company in which the king was seen, posing with a rifle in front of a dead elephant. After recovery, the 74-year-old king apologised to Spanish people, but by that time an online petition calling for his resignation from WWF post had gathered 85,000 signatures.

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