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WWF-Spain requests a meeting with Spain’s royal authorities to share concerns about elephant hunt

Following widespread criticism of the recent participation of His Majesty King Juan Carlos in an elephant hunt in Botswana, the secretary general of WWF-Spain, Juan Carlos del Olmo, has requested a meeting with the royal authorities to share widespread public concerns and public calls for His Majesty to step down as Honorary President of WWF-Spain.

His Majesty has held the honorary presidency, a symbolic position, since his involvement in the founding of the organization (then known as ADENA in Spain) in 1968. He has no direct involvement in the day-to-day operations of WWF in Spain or elsewhere.

WWF also reaffirms its commitment to the conservation of wild elephants, a commitment we have held since WWF’s founding 50 years ago.

WWF is combating the biggest threats that elephants face in the wild, including poaching and habitat loss. We work with the governments, local communities and non-governmental partners in the countries where elephants roam to secure a future for this powerful symbol of nature.

Decades of hard work by WWF and other conservation groups has resulted in large and expanding populations of elephants in southern Africa, including Botswana, where some 300,000 elephants now roam across the sub-region.

Please find below a translated copy of the letter WWF-Spain sent to the Royal House:

Sr. D. Rafael Spottorno Díaz-Caro

Jefe de la Casa de Su Majestad El Rey

Palacio de la Zarzuela

28048 El Pardo


I am writing to convey WWF’s profound discomfort and concern at recent developments in Spain and the world, which has caused outrage from our partners and the general public against hunting elephants, even when it takes place in a legal and regulated environment.

For this reason, I would urgently seek a meeting to pass on the messages and attestations of concern, analyze the situation and provide a response to the thousands of people requesting a response from WWF in and out of our country.

Symptomatic of this rejection are the many members who are applying to leave WWF-Spain and the tens of thousands of people who have already used a variety of digital platforms to protest and demand that His Majesty the King not continue holding the honorary presidency of WWF-Spain.

This unfortunate event is internationally well known and we are deeply sensitive to the concerns expressed and the serious damage this outcry is causing to the credibility of WWF and the hard work that has developed over fifty years for the protection of elephants and other species.

I thank you in advance for your attention and look forward to meeting as soon as possible. 

Yours faithfully.

Juan Carlos del Olmo
Secretary General