Spain’s King In Controversy Over Hunting Trip

A controversy has erupted in Spain, when it was reported that Spain’s King Juan Carlos recently broke a hip on a trip to Botswana, a well-known destination for elephant-hunting.  Although the royal family did not confirm the reason for the trip, Botswana is notorious for hunting and the king has been photographed next to a dead elephant in the past.  Part of the controversy centers on the fact that King Juan Carlos is the honorary president of the Spanish branch of conservation group WWF.

It is hypocritical for the King to hunt endangered animals and be the head of a conservation society.  It gives the impression to the citizenry that conservation and the protection of endangered animals is not something to be taken seriously.  The social consciousness around the protection of our animals, our ecosystems, and our Earth needs to be supported and maintained.  Having a supposed “head” of a large, well regarded conservation group be hunting the exact animals he aims to protect is a disregard for the good work that the WWF is doing on behalf of endangered animals.

See Row over hunting trip for Spanish King Juan Carlos, BBC News Europe, (Apr. 16, 2012),


  1. Being the head of a conservation group as well as a hunter are not polar opposites. Teddy Roosevelt, arguably America’s greatest conservationist, was also a prolific hunter who traveled to Africa on a Safari. As a hunter myself, I understand the need to conserve the outdoors so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come. Thanks in part to T.R.’s efforts, we still have beautiful forests full of wildlife. Hunting, when done responsibly, helps to maintain ecosystems by controlling wildlife populations while at the safe time providing a source of enjoyable recreation for many. I am not sure of the hunting regulations in Botswana, but assuming there are protocols to ensure that the Elephant population is not put in danger, I see no problem with the hunt. Hunting and conservation go hand in hand. Although not everyone may enjoy it, those that do understand hunting’s unique role in aiding conservation efforts. Hunters were the first conservationists and still proudly fulfill this role today.

  2. While I do find it inappropriate that the king of Spain, as the honorary head to the WWF, went on an elephant hunt, what I find more appalling is that the trip cost about $60,000. That is an amount that is double the average salary in Spain. At a time when 50% of the youth in Spain, and 24% of the overall population are unemployed he went at the expense of the state. Further, this came only days after he gave a speech about the economic hardships in Spain. This must feel very frustrating for the people of Spain. It seems to be a clear example that the king is not really taking the needs of the country seriously. In addition to it seeming symbolic of the separation between the king and the rest of Spain, he used the states money to go on his extravagant trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *