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King removed from WWF post

Ecologists vote overwhelmingly to remove monarch after Botswana hunting trip

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King Juan Carlos poses during his Botswana safari. EL PAÍS

The Spanish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF España) decided at an extraordinary assembly on Saturday to remove the position of honorary president from its organization, which King Juan Carlos had occupied since its foundation in Spain in 1968.

The king has been the subject of fierce criticism after an elephant hunting trip to Botswana made headlines in April. Until the monarch fell and broke his hip, the expedition had not been made public.

WWF España said in a statement that it had taken into account the complaints of its members and society at large, both in Spain and abroad, over the king's Botswana jaunt. "Although this type of hunting is legal and regulated, it is considered incompatible by many of its members, with the honorary presidency of an international organization that defends nature and the environment like the WWF," the statement read.

In the vote over the removal of the honorary presidency, 94 percent of WWF members cast their ballots in favor. In order to eliminate the post, the NGO's statute requires the backing of two-thirds of members present at the vote, which numbered several dozen, to which are added email ballots.