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British royals mull removal of hunting trophies from Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham residence
Britain's Prince William talks with England football manager Roy Hodgson (L) after attending a dedication ceremony for a monument commemorating the famous World War I "Christmas Truce," at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, central England on December 12, 2014. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ANDREW YATES.

LONDON (AFP).- Britain's royal family could remove some hunting trophies that include elephant tusks and stuffed rhinos from Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham residence to avoid a possible debate with the EU over their legality.

Buckingham Palace said it will remove any items from the 62-piece collection that could break European Union rules on endangered species, according to a statement.

The collection is on public display in the museum at the country estate in eastern England, where the royal family traditionally spends Christmas.

The collection of stuffed lions, tiger and leopard skins, elephant tusks and two rare rhinos -- all bagged by royal marksmen between 1870 and 1941 -- is particularly uncomfortable for Prince William, the monarch's grandson, who has launched a campaign against illegal hunting and the trafficking of endangered species.

"The EU regulation covering such displays is complex and has been open to interpretation," said the statement.

"At Sandringham the understanding has always been that items on display in the museum are exempt from the need for an Article 10 certificate (required to use listed specimens for commercial purposes).

"However in any case where there is a genuine doubt the relevant specimen will be removed from display before the museum re-opens in April 2015," added the spokesman.

Seven of the items in the collection were killed by king Edward VII and his son king George V. George once killed 21 tigers during a trip to India in 1911.

None of the items was killed by current members of the family, although there are many keen hunters among them.

Prince Harry posed for a picture with a one-tonne water buffalo that he shot during his gap year in Africa and his brother William shot deer and wild boar during a visit to Spain.

Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip, the president emeritus of the World Wildlife Fund, is reputed to have killed one tiger, two crocodiles, many wild boar, stags and rabbits and around 30,000 pheasants during his lifetime.

Although the objects on display are antique specimens, they are still regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

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