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WWF to vote on king’s future as honorary president

Conservationist group came in for criticism after monarch’s elephant-hunting trip

The Spanish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called an extraordinary meeting of its members with just one item on the agenda: whether or not to remove King Juan Carlos from his position as founding and honorary president of the environmental organization.

The meeting, scheduled for July 21, comes after the NGO was criticized for having the monarch as its figurehead following the revelation that the king went on an elephant-hunting trip to Botswana in April. The news surfaced after the king was forced to fly back to Spain with a dislocated hip. WWF Secretary General Juan Carlos del Olmo said the Royal Household had responded to the news of the vote by saying it would pay “the utmost respect to the decision taken by the members.”

King Juan Carlos has occupied the post of WWF honorary president since 1968, but has played a limited role in its operations. However, the elephant-hunting incident put the NGO in a tight spot with many members decrying the fact that a devoted hunter could be honorary president of the environmental organization.

At the time the WWF sent a letter to the Royal Household saying his actions had “provoked enormous contempt among members and in public opinion in general against the hunting of elephants, even when it is carried out in a legal and regulated way.”

Along with South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, Botswana is one of the few countries where the animals can be legally hunted.