COWLING writer Jo Jones it hoping for a wildly successful first children’s novel.

The Wild Boys of Pilanesberg, published in paperback by United PC, tells the story of a rogue herd of young male elephants whose uncontrolled behaviour unsettles the natural balance in one of South Africa’s famous National Parks.

A series of attacks on animals in the park is brought to the attention of Dingida, a wise old elephant, who decides to investigate.

Working with animals that share the Pilanesberg Game Reserve he uncovers an uncomfortable truth about his own kind and a problem he must resolve if peace and harmony are to be restored.

Jo had the idea for the story while a regular visitor to Pilanesberg National Park during two years’ living and working in South Africa.

She said: “It’s loosely based on a true story of conservationists trying to help threatened elephants. A number of young elephants that survived the slaughter of the rest of their herd were brought to the park and released.

“Left with no matriarch, their behaviour went unchecked and coincided with the unexplained death of a number of rhino. However, the killings stopped when six adult elephant bulls were introduced to the park, with the young ones’ behaviour returning to normal.”

Jo says her love of wildlife led her to learn more about conservation in the park, and the conflict between man and animals in a landscape with limited resources.

She added: “I’ve learned from the amazing game rangers who dedicate themselves to conservation and the ending of poaching. I hope the book can in some small way inspire others to engage in the protection of our endangered wildlife.”

The Wild Boys of Pilanesberg is available from Amazon and Waterstones.