Why Queen Elizabeth II Was Accused of Being a Squirrel Killer

Queen Elizabeth II is a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, the British monarch, head of state of more than a dozen countries, and also a squirrel killer?

A story printed several years ago resurfaced online and has royal fans asking if the queen, who is believed to be an animal lover, is really a squirrel killer. Here’s why a top ecologist once called out the royal family matriarch for threatening the red squirrel population.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s love for animals goes beyond just corgis

You can’t think about Queen Elizabeth’s animals without thinking about her corgis.

According to the American Kennel Club, her love for the breed of canines began at a young age as they have been a favorite of the royals for many years. The queen has reportedly owned around 30 corgis in her lifetime and has seen 14 generations of her first Pembroke Welsh Corgi Susan’s descendants.

She has owned many thoroughbred horses as well but a lesser known fact is that the monarch also owns an elephant, two jaguars, two giant turtles, and a sloth. Us Weekly reported that those animals reside at the London Zoo.

So why would anyone think that she was doing something to harm or threaten any animal?

 Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth II
Kate Middleton and Queen Elizabeth II | Phil Noble – WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Ecologist said queen ‘threatened the survival of red squirrels’

The story that has many scratching their heads and asking questions was printed in 1999 in Scotland’s The Herald.

The publication stated that Queen Elizabeth was accused by a leading ecologist of “threatening the survival of red squirrels” because of all the forestry work going on around her Balmoral Castle estate.

Dr. Adam Watson called out the monarch and other landowners with properties located in the Cairngorms National Park for tree felling, which was reportedly driving endangered animals from their natural habitat.

”Felling at Balmoral means some of the trees are now so far apart that pinewood animals can’t live there,” Watson said. ”Estates such as this are driven by economic factors, but their policies are causing tremendous damage to wildlife like the red squirrel. They are exterminated from areas which have been cleared of trees.”

He added that many areas had been “cleared completely” over a nine-year period “leaving just a small percentage of the original woodland.”

Helping the squirrel population?

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Not everyone though agreed with Watson.

In fact, Peter Ord who was the factor of the Balmoral estate at the time, defended its red squirrel record saying: ”We have a very big population of red squirrels on the estate. I would say our policies on woodlands are helping the squirrel population to blossom.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust noted that the red squirrel population in the U.K. has experienced a massive decline. There are only about 160,000 red squirrels left in the U.K., 75% of which are in Scotland.

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