The Law of the Wild

From a review by Mark Avery: Any young or aspiring biologist would do well to read it to see where a PhD in behaviour and ecology might take you, and to learn that sticking power, enthusiasm and bounce-back-ability can take you a long way and deliver a very valuable and fulfilling life.

Reviewed in the UK on November 1, 2020

From  This is an extraordinary book! Deeper than its outline of a colorful and full life, it is a beacon of hope for humanity. Dr. Swingland is an inspiration to all those who have had a vision. His stamina in the relentless pursuit of global conservation is admirable. For all young scientists out there –keep your eyes on the big picture. Animals are truly our friends, and without our appreciation of them and their importance for our biosphere, we demean ourselves and diminish our stewardship of planet earth. Thank you, Dr. Swingland.

A. Russo

Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2020 

The Law of the Wild: An Ecologist’s Life


In The Law of the Wild, Ian Swingland offers a unique window into his life as a world-renowned conservation biologist. Captivating the reader with his adventures, exploits and near-death experiences, as well as sharing insights gained from advising powerful individuals in government and commerce, this is a book for those who are passionate about wildlife, biodiversity and its conservation. It is also a cracking good read as he shares stories from his close relationships with key figures in academia, business, charities and the bush.

   From modest beginnings to worldwide authority, Ian has been at the centre of conservation for half a century – working with -exotic (and humble) plants and animals, such as giant tortoises and komodo dragons – and setting up world-class institutions training future conservationists.

   The book describes how our relationship with wildlife affects our behaviour and vice versa. This book is an inspiration to conquer the many threats to life on Earth and to take better care of the natural world.



An inspiring story about an extraordinary ecologist that has changed the world for wildlife and people.  Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, biodiversity scientist, entrepreneur and former President of Mauritius

An amazing man whose exploits have blazed the way for others.  Tim Coles OBE, Operation Wallacea and Trust founder

Ian is a good friend of mine, deeply impressed by his intelligence, thoughtfulness, a first class and wide-ranging mind, happy to throw himself into a course of action if he believes it is of long term importance and underpinned by sound ethical principles.  Sir Christopher Wates, construction, development, philanthropist

Ian was brilliant to work with in a tricky situation. He had loads of energy, gets stuff done, made decisions, pushed people but does not understand that humans sometime lie to get their way.  Chris Mathias, entrepreneur, environmentalist, philanthropist

I have always admired Ian’s energy and vision. The Institute founded by Ian Swingland, is a first class scientific and conservation organisation.  Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, former Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Ian is a leading eclectic campaigning scientist in the world with great scientific integrity and personal passion achieving a considerable -eminence in the environmental world. Robin Hanbury-Tenison OBE, explorer, former President of Survival International, and Chief Executive of The Countryside Alliance

Some people have exciting and colourful lives, some people are good story tellers. Ian Swingland does both of these.  John Craig ONZM, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Management, Auckland, conservation biologist and landscape ecologist

Ian Swingland has made a huge difference to conservation and training the leaders of tomorrow, forging essential links between conservation and economics. This is how to do it!  Ian Redmond OBE, ape and elephant specialist and Ambassador, UN Convention on Migratory Species

The Law of the Wild will interest professional ecologists and amateur -enthusiasts; it will appeal to anyone who loves animals and wildlife. It is fascinating, enthralling and worthy of entering the lists of ‘can’t bear to put it down’ titles.  Pat Crawford, journalist