King Juan Carlos of Spain is being widely criticized by environmental organizations after suffering a hip injury in an accident in Botswana where he went to hunt elephants, a species which conservation status is deemed “vulnerable”.
Note: The video above shows promotional material from Rann Safaris of Botswana (images are disturbing).
King Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón - Dos Sicilias, 74, underwent hip replacement surgery in Madrid after he sustained a triple hip fracture by missing a stair step, during a private hunting trip to Botswana, according to El Mundo and other Spanish news media. The injured king was flown back to Madrid in a private jet.
King Juan Carlos is the Honorary President of the Spanish branch of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) an international environmental organization advocating, amongst others, the protection of the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) because the conservation status of this animal is considered vulnerable.
King Juan Carlos is facing strong calls to resign his position in the Spanish branch of the WWF over his killing of African elephants. The online environmental advocacy forum Actuable had already attracted nearly 70,000 signatures calling for the King to renounce his honorary presidency in light of the recent hunting trip and previous trips to Africa with similar purposes, the hunting of elephants and buffalos.
Besides the controversy about the killing of endangered wild animals, the Spanish monarch has received criticism for his wasteful lifestyle at a time when the country is coping with a severe economic crisis.
Other members of Spanish royal family have been in the news recently. The King’s son-in-law, duke of Palma Iñaki Urdangarin, 44, became the first royal in modern Spanish history to appear in court as part of a fraud investigation. Mr. Urdangarin is being investigated for allegedly embezzling as much as 5.8 million euros (about US$7.6 million) in public funds assigned to sports and tourism events. The duke has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to defend his “honor and innocence” in court, according to the NYTimes.
Earlier this month the king’s grandson, Felipe Juan Froilán Marichalar y Borbón, 13, shot himself in the foot with a shotgun at a family estate. The incident is under police investigation because under Spanish regulations the operation of firearms by people under 14 is illegal.