18 Apr, 2012 @ 13:20
1 min read

King Juan Carlos under fire after Botswana hunting trip

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.

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. Experienced Hunters will appreciate the hunting challenge achieved here: tracking the beast with a guide, following the pie sized droppings, deftly aiming at the rapidly moving animal, accurately shooting at a target the size of…. a barn, killing for the meat – enough for 126 State Dinners (with Takeaways), a trophy head to be hung on the Palace Wall.. after it’s rebuilt with steel bar reinforcements. Overall – well done!

  2. Much as some people find it distasteful and I count myself as one of them, there is an over population of elephants and one way of culling them is to issue licences to hunters to shoot them. The money raised from these licences is used for conservation. Had it been Jim Smith from 9 Acacia Gardens nobody would have raised a twitter but as it was the King of Spain I guess he´s fair game if you´ll pardon the pun.

  3. It’s appalling that the Spanish head of State is off killing innocent Elephants for his pleasure while Spain is in economic turmoil. And! He is doing it on Spanish tax-payers money. How ridiculous and archaic is this picture. The Spanish people should abolish free-loader Monarchy and elect a head-of-state.

  4. Duke: If you do not cull them, they breed to the point of overpopulation Many will then starve, and most will suffer malnourishment and consequently suffer chronic illness. Exactly like humans, actually.

  5. I think that the fact wheather culling of elephants in Botswana is necessary or not is a little beside the point. A public figure such as king of a modern European country cannot afford to promote, by participation, such a controversial and morally dubious activity – and by participating in it, he is promoting it. Today the king has asked for forgiveness and said that he had made a mistake which would not repeat. The money which apparenty came from a rich businessman who “gave” the trip to the king, could have been used in much better ways. When unemployment is as high as it is in Spain, it is not a good time to be chasing elephants with a rifle somewhere in African bush…

  6. The Borbón family has a history of leaving Spain in time of crisis as evidenced by king Juan Carlos’ father, Don Juan, Count of Barcelona, who abandoned Spain during its civil war and spent the remainder of his life in exile in Portugal.

    While a pleasant if ineffectual monarch with an unexceptional family and its share of scandals, I have never seen any value added by Don Juan Carlos and find his family among the most lack-luster monarchies in Europe.

    Perhaps Spain should rethink the relevance of this insensitive monarchy and the resulting expensive and unproductive drain on the taxpayers’ wallets.

  7. I suggest that King Juan Carlos’s should visit Chaing Mai in the Kingdom of Thailand for his next vacation. He could spend a few days after his recovery at Woodys Elephant Training camp. He could train and work with elephants as a “Mahout”.
    Can the King export those tusks to Spain?

  8. Dear Judith, King Juan Carlos as Honorary President of the WWF likely showed poor taste in shooting an elephant (tho at a rich businessman’s donation.. the same way he got his large motor yacht, by the way)but he is NOT “like Dick Cheney in the USA” For the record, Cheney showed he shoots his fellow hunters/guests in their behind with a shotgun. A faster moving target than an elephant.

  9. Dear Peter and SE, The King, as Honorary President of the WWF – dedicated to protecting wild life species – should have left any beneficial “culling” to be done by someone else.. not him. Apology and seeking forgiveness is inadequate in his position. Resigning his Honorary position would be a sign of good faith.
    World-wide, for the financial and emotional support we give ALL Monarchys & close family friends, taxpayers do hold them to a higher standard of moral behavior. Otherwise their image in our eyes is severely tarnished. All IN or 0!

  10. A sickening sight – a magnificent, highly intelligent fellow creature brought to its knees and resting its shattered head on the tree as it slowly, painfully dies.
    It is humans which should be culled, spreading, out of control, devouring everything natural in their path.
    Virtually every living species on earth is mortally afraid of us, in much the same way that we are afraid of rats. A frightening comparison perhaps.

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