All the King’s Animals: The Return of Endangered Wildlife to Swaziland



This a is a non-fiction account of a conservation success story in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Excerpt from Foreword by His Majesty, King Mswati III, Ingwenyama of the Kingdom of Swaziland. The animals, the birds, the rivers, and the forests were indeed here long before us. It is mankind’s duty to protect them, and it is a duty that Swaziland very nearly failed to uphold. This book tells the story of how my country, under the guidance of King Sobhuza II and the devotion of one man, Ted “Machobane” Reilly, managed to fulfill its duty to the rest of the world by bringing back animals we had once lost. As a child, I was lucky to sit at the feet of a man who believed passionately in the conservation of the natural order of his kingdom. The responsibility for tomorrow’s world lies with the children of today. Cristina Kessler’s book reminds us that it is a responsibility we must take seriously if our natural world is to survive.

A century ago, Swaziland was replete with wild animals, such as impalas, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and lions. Over the years, poaching, hunting, farming, disease, and overpopulation annihilated these and other creatures in this South African country. However, during the past thirty years, one man has led the effort to successfully return wildlife to Swaziland. Author-photographer Cristina Kessler documents the inspiring work of conservationist Ted Reilly.

Author-photographer Kessler documents the e orts of conservationist Ted Reilly, who (with the help of King Sobhuza II and, later, his son King Mswati III) has helped return endangered wildlife to Swaziland. Beginning in the early 1960s on his own farm, Reilly restored the land to its original state by planting trees and creating wetland areas. Later, he added animals including plentiful species, such as wildebeests, impalas, and monitor lizards, as well as rhinos, elephants, and lions, which had disappeared from Swaziland in recent years. Although his efforts have been mostly successful, Reilly has had his problems (including drought, lack of funding, and poachers), and some of his actions have been controversial (cutting the horns of rhinos to keep poachers from killing them). Clear, close-up color photographs appear on every page, making the book a delight for browsers as well as useful for report writers.

Book Review

School Library Journal
Clear text and outstanding full-color photographs tell the remarkable and encouraging story of Swaziland’s determined effort to restock its plains and forests with native wildlife.