WWF drops Spain king as patron over hunting issue

Agence France-Presse
The wildlife charity WWF dropped Spain's Juan Carlos as honorary patron of its Spanish branch on July 21 because of an elephant-hunting trip he made to Botswana

ROYAL SCANDAL. Spain's king, Juan Carlos has apologized for going hunting in Africa last week. The 74-year-old monarch has been widely criticized for going on holiday while his country endures one of the deepest recessions in its history. Photo by AFP

MADRID, Spain – The wildlife charity WWF dropped Spain’s Juan Carlos as honorary patron of its Spanish branch on July 21 because of an elephant-hunting trip he made to Botswana, the group said.

“The members of WWF Spain voted today in a general meeting to end the position of honorary president, held until now by King Juan Carlos, from the statutes of the organisation,” it said in a statement published online.

It said the decision was prompted by complaints over the April hunting trip, which came to light when the king was rushed home for emergency surgery after breaking his hip.

With Spaniards suffering in a recession, the king got little public sympathy for his injury and a wave of criticism prompted him to apologise when he emerged on crutches from hospital.

Three months later, WWF in Spain, which has had the king as its honorary figurehead since its founding in 1968, said it decided that the elephant hunt was bad for its image.

“Although this type of hunt is legal and regulated, many members considered it incompatible with the honorary presidency of an international organisation for the defence of nature and the environment,” the WWF said.

The WFF is one of the organisations “that dedicates the most effort and resources to the conservation of species in danger of extinction,” it added. – Agence France-Presse