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Spanish King's costly hunting trip

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:11

April 19 - Spain's King Juan Carlos could be about to lose his position as an honorary branch president of the World Wildlife Fund after complaints about a costly elephant hunting trip to Botswana. Ciara Sutton reports.

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It's a trip Spain's King Juan Carlos may live to regret. He broke his hip on the elephant hunting safari in Botswana. He was condemned for taking the trip at a time of economic crisis at home. And now he may be about to lose his position as honorary president of Spain's branch of the World Wildlife Fund. The charity is asking members to vote on whether to remove him from the post after tens of thousands of complaints. Enrique Segovia is Head of Conservation at WWF in Spain. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) HEAD OF CONSERVATION AT WWF SPAIN, ENRIQUE SEGOVIA, SAYING: "The damage that this activity and the images of it are doing to our organisation has not just been done in Spain but across the world. That is why we have had to take these very strong, firm measures." 800 Spanish WWF members have threatened to quit if King Juan Carlos does not go. And feelings are particularly strong in Holland too where the Fund has a million members. The King has apologised for his actions. SPAIN'S KING JUAN CARLOS WALKING AND TALKING/(SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) ASKED BY A REPORTER ABOUT HIS CONDITION, SPAIN'S KING JUAN CARLOS, SAYING: "I feel much better. I thank the medical team and the clinic for the way they have treated me. I am looking forward to resuming my duties and, I am sorry. I have made a mistake - it won't happen again." But the WWF says it's not enough. (SOUNDBITE)(Spanish) HEAD OF CONSERVATION, WWF SPAIN, ENRIQUE SEGOVIA, SAYING: "The apologies given are general ones. He hasn't got in touch with us, to speak to us, about that unease. We haven´t had that contact yet." The hunting trip, complete with trophies, cost an estimated 30,000 euros, plus travel and accommodation. That didn't go down well in a country where almost half under 25s are out of work. Animal rights activists globally were equally appalled to learn the monarch was a keen hunter. Spain's media says he also once went bear hunting in Russia. After 44 years King Juan Carlos' could be about to lose his WWF title and some of the respect the royal family in Spain has traditionally held until recently. Ciara Sutton, Reuters.

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Spanish King's costly hunting trip

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:11