Pelts for British busbies? Nay, a bear-faced booboo

The World Wildlife Fund says it is under siege by angry animal lovers because of erroneous reports that North American brown bears were slaughtered to provide towering fur hats for the Royal British wedding.

The source of the uproar was a report from Geneva that quoted a fund spokesman as saying: "The skins come from bears in North America that are so numerous they are considered pests and thus hunted."

A fund official assured animal lovers the bears are not considered pests. The flap began when Swiss environmentalists said 600 bears were killed to provide hats -- "busbies" -- for military units in the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The report was particularly distressing to the World Wildlife Fund because Charles's father, Prince Philip, is p resident of the organization.

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