Book places spotlight on rhino poaching

Pam Newham

A Hout Bay author has written a book for children and teens about rhino poaching.

Pamela Newham released The Boy and the Poacher’s Moon.

World Rhino Day is marked on September 22 and raises awareness of the five rhino species, all of which are under threat from the illegal rhino horn trade.

Ms Newham takes a special interest in the fight against rhino poaching and six months before the release, the book idea came to her.

“I thought it would be a good story, especially when I got the idea of having my teenage characters stranded on their own in the Kruger Park at night where they are confronted, not only by the danger of wild animals, but the poachers who mainly come out when the moon is full,” she said.

The Boy and the Poacher’s Moon is about four boys stuck in the Kruger National Park after being chosen as the finalists in the Wild2Save Eco competition.

They later stumble upon a group of rhino poachers, meet up with a mysterious boy and a whistle-blower, embarking on an epic adventure to thwart the poachers’ plan and expose the villains.

“I have always been interested in conservation and wildlife. I was lucky as a child to spend holidays in the Kruger National Park, and this is when my love for the African bushveld became part of who I am,” Ms Newham said.

The scourge of rhino poaching had “shocked and saddened” her, she said, leading her to research the topic.

“I felt it was necessary to get the word out, especially to young people. However, as with all my books, what is uppermost in my mind is to tell an exciting and entertaining story that children will enjoy.”

Ms Newham grew up in Johannesburg, before moving to Hout Bay about 20 years ago.

She worked as a high school English teacher and a magazine journalist.

“For many years, I wrote for magazines such as Femina, Pace and Your Family. I always wanted to write fiction but found it difficult to do alongside journalism.”

About 10 years ago, after being a finalist in a competition, she decided to concentrate on writing fiction and started giving workshops on how to write.

With the book’s release coinciding in March with the start of lockdown, marketing it has been difficult.

“Normally, I would be visiting schools and libraries to talk about my book, but that has been impossible. I have done a couple of Zoom meetings online for schools, and they went very well. I am happy to do that for any school that might be interested,” Ms Newham said.