What did Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip do for conservation, and will things change under King Charles the third

The queen has died suddenly at the age of 96. This is a good age by anyone’s standards, but understandably, across the UK and the many parts of the Commonwealth where the queen remains the head of state it is still disconcerting when things change.

What impact did the queen have on wildlife? Well unfortunately ruling a country like the UK, there is relatively little wildlife left to protect. Of course, the UK monarch while retaining many powers in theory has little sway over decisions in practice. Of course, in the Commonwealth this is quite different.

More importantly, the impact that the queen can have by example is more sizable.

Her pet of choice was a breed of dog called a Corgi of which she had about 30 over her lifetime. She has also been given a variety of animals, when traveling overseas though these have usually gone to London zoo for safekeeping. They include 2 Sloths from Brazil following a visit in 1968, as well as 2 black beavers from Canada, jaguars and even an elephant from Cameroon. She is also an avid horse owner, having owned as many as 30 at one time before.

There are also a few strange ancient laws that give her strange ownership. The crown owns all whales dolphins porpoises within British waters, and all the Swans on the river Thames.

Of course on her travels and in her comments, she also did unmeasurable positive things for the natural world.

Prince Philip, on the other hand was also very active in conservation and was even president of the WWF for 15 years from 1981 to 1996.

Thankfully, there is significant wild interests shared by the new king, HRH king Charles the 3rd so it is likely that the wonderful work of the Queen is likely to carry on.

The royal family are avid hunters, with grouse shoots on their land. While this is not great, as grouse moors tend to require the killing of almost everything else, it is not as bad as it could be. While Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip did hunt while abroad (as almost all wealthy people did) this appears to be left firmly in the past, with current generations not interested in hunting. It should be noted, that, while hunting trips may have once helped push species to extinction, back in 1960 there was only about 3 billion people on earth and as a result there was far more space for hunting while maintaining healthy populations.

As I have written before, while the practice does not appeal to me there are still places on earth where hunting occurs, and is done in a sustainable way. In some places, hunting allows the maintenance of vast reserves that would otherwise have been lost years ago. Never-the-less, this habit is something that needs to be ended in the next few decades with better uses found for the few remaining hunting reserves – I find it absurd to suggest that there is no way to make more money from other methods even in this day and age.

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