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Princess Charlene’s opposition to killing sharks results in controversy

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has drawn the wrath of victims’ families after stating her opposition to the killing of sharks in the waters around the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean in March. Réunion is east of Madagascar and part of France.

The families have now expressed their anger on Facebook stating that Princess Charlene has been spreading “totally false ideas” after her comments a few months ago in the French magazine, Paris Match. The subject was brought up when Charlene expressed condolences for the death of surfer on 21 February while also criticising the surfer for being in the water. Her Serene Highness told the magazine, “I’m sorry for this young surfer, but he did not have to swim in these dirty waters, particularly attractive to sharks, and [where it is] forbidden to swimWithout these predators, the planet would not function as it must.”

The victims’ families want to meet the Princess and posted online, “A sportswoman such as yourself cannot decently put a fish before young, combative and ambitious humans whose only aim is to physically surpass themselves….In the name of what, Gabriella and Jacques, your children, who you describe as loving the aquatic environment, have a more legitimate right to enjoy the ocean surrounding them than the ultramarine dwellers?”

They also mentioned the finances of those who swim in these waters with many being below the poverty line, “Are you aware that in Reunion Island half of the inhabitants lives under the poverty line? They cannot afford to spend their holidays in luxury swimming pools or on Paradise beaches where serenity is the key word.

The families also used harsh terms to appeal to her maternal instinct saying, “Just one 3 metre shark would be capable of ripping up your two children and devouring them in one fell swoop. We are pleading with your maternal instinct. We are appalled at the huge gap between the aim of your charities and your lack of compassion for the massacre of young healthy, sporty girls and boys severely maimed or mortally injured.”

Charlene was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, in what is today Zimbabwe in January 1978. She spent the majority of her life in neighbouring South Africa and represented the country in international swim races including the Commonwealth and All-Africa Games.

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