Barking up the right tree for conservation

What would an Eastern Cape dog say if it could speak?

Green Scorpions Eastern Cape’s adventurous director and author Div de Villiers delved into this question when he launched his entertaining new novel about the province’s war on rhino poaching at a packed book signing at the East London Museum this week.

WILD MAN: Green Scorpions Eastern Cape director Div de Villiers launched his new book, titled ‘Milo – The Education of a Wild Man’, at the East London Museum this week Picture: BARBARA HOLLANDS

Milo – The Education of a Wild Man is written through the eyes of De Villiers’s family pet of 12 years, “a female Jack Russell with one pink eye and a patch”.

By using this literary device, De Villiers is able to move himself out of the picture and let all the other characters speak.

The story, he said is “based on fact, but is actually fiction”.

It also enables him to write about dogs, for whom he has a great affection and which are an integral instrument in tracking down poachers.

And, while Milo did not play a central role in apprehending poachers, he got into a few scraps with snakes and was an excellent escape artist.

“She boxed above her weight because Jack Russells think they are Great Danes,” laughed De Villiers.

“The book is about Milo’s adventures though the Eastern Cape. I thought about what dogs would say if they could speak,” said De Villiers, who has been in wildlife conservation for 35 years and describes himself as a wildlife crime investigator.

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