50 Years of Conservation Success in Swaziland


The country’s wildlife resource had been severely depleted and existed in remnant herds, largely on private farms. Wildlife was seen as vermin, a threat to the economic wealth of the country and thus there was no willingness to embrace the concept of conservation.

One man, Ted Reilly, had watched the demise of Swaziland’s wildlife heritage. His experiences across the border in South Africa and further away in Zambia reminded him of how wild Africa could be. Reilly dreamed of a park system for Swaziland, safeguarding the rich diversity and beautiful landscapes. Within five years Mlilwane Wildlife Reserve was created, the very start of conversation in Swaziland. 50 years on and the organisation set up by Ted Reilly, Big Game Parks, has had some tremendous achievements.

  • Conceived and initiated the Government Parks System
  • Pioneered the National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP)
  • Saved the Nguni Cattle from local extinction
  • Re-introduced over 22 large mammal species which had gone locally extinct
  • Returned the national cultural symbols (Lion representing the King, Elephant representing the Queen Mother) to Swaziland
  • Founded Big Game Parks Trust in the 90’s
  • Big Game Parks is the delegated authority on the Game Act and CITES
  • Big Game Parks operates a highly effective anti-poaching unit

Celebrating half a century.

Big Game Parks are celebrating 50 years of Swaziland’s natural heritage ‘Imvelo Yakitsi’ in the following ways…

  • Compiling historical archive information from 60s – present (available under ‘history’ here)
  • Launching a new Conservation Micro-site (www.biggameparks.org/conserve)
  • Sharing stories decade-by-decade of the last 50 years on their blog: www.bgpblog.org
  • Giving Children under 13 free entry to Hlane and Mlilwane on the following select ‘Family Days’ with child-specific nature activities available from 13h00 at just R60p/child:
    Over the next couple of months we’ll be revealing decade by decade the success of Mlilwane and the development of Swaziland’s Parks. Make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list and following us on facebook and twitter for the latest updates. We’ll also be revealing the plans for July 12th very soon!

To read the full story about Ted Reilly and conservation success in Swaziland please click here.

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