By Eloise Horsfield
THE Spanish Royal family has come under fire after King Juan Carlos fractured his hip during an ‘unnecessary and expensive’ elephant-hunting trip to Botswana.
The monarch has faced fierce criticism after he spent more than the average Spaniard’s salary on one luxury trip.
In particular he has been criticised for spending up to 45,000 euros on a hunting break when he is an honorary president of the WWF.
While a spokesman at Moncloa palace insisted it was a private holiday with no cost to the public purse, there is growing unease that the trip showed ‘bad taste’.
Spain’s IU boss Cayo Lara was enfuriated, saying: “He’s clearly not losing any sleep over the fact that thousands of young people are unemployed, while he goes off to Africa to hunt elephants.”
Expat wildlife guide Eva Monika Bratek added: “The fact that he is killing African animals instead of promoting safaris is simply unthinkable.
“The King might want to help his image by spending his money on sustainable activities which would help his own country’s economy in difficult times.”
Boss of Spain’s WWF Juan Carlos del Olmo was also forced to comment on calls for his resignation.
“We are deeply sensitive to the serious damage this outcry is causing to our credibility, particularly over the protection of elephants and other species,” he said.
Elephants are endangered in many countries but are shot legally for sport in some African countries, including Botswana.
The holiday only became public after the king fell down some steps during the night and broke his hip in three places.