GREENWICH, Conn. -- Greenwich teenager Jack Jones has been traveling to Africa every summer since he was a young child, which inspired him to write a children's book about his newest friend there: Chizi, the black rhino.
Chizi is a 2-year-old rhino who was discovered abandoned in Zimbabwe by two park rangers. Park Ranager Colin Wenham took Chizi home with him. He, his wife and two children have been raising Chizi until he is old enough to be released back into the wild.
Jones is a senior at Brunswick High School who has known the Wenham family his whole life. When they told him about Chizi's story, he decided to write a children's book about the animal, "Chizi's Tale: The True Story of an Orphaned Black Rhino."
The book is illustrated by Zimbabwean Jacqui Taylor, and all proceeds from sales will benefit the organization Tusk, which helps endangered species in Africa.
"My two main goals are to raise funds for Tusk and raise awareness about this great organization," Jones said.
He spent about a year writing the book. Although it was difficult, Jones said he was passionate about the subject and wanted children to hear the story and to learn about endangered black rhinos.
"I thought that since children are the future generation, the best way to get the message out is to give it to the children. That way, as they get older, they can realize the plight of the black rhino and figure out the best way to help."
The book was released earlier this month, and Jones and friends celebrated the publishing with a launch party at the Tudor Investment campus in Greenwich on Sunday. The event featured a reading of the book and a question and answer period with the Wenham family, who traveled from Zimbabwe to help celebrate. It also featured book signing, face painting, games for kids and ways for people to help out Tusk.
Jones, the son of billionaire Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones, said that writing the book was an amazing experience, though he isn't sure if writing children's books is something he wants to pursue full-time.
"Right now I'm focused on raising awareness. I love writing," he said. Jones is also taking classes on environmental conservation, and wants to continue to help out endangered rhinos.
Tusk was founded in 1990 and works in 18 countries in Africa to protect endangered species, with a particular focus on elephants, rhinos and lions. The organization raises money to protect the animals, as well as the communities of people who live alongside the wildlife.
"We try to keep or focus on communities and educational aspects," said Lydia Rouse, an executive assistant for Tusk. "We find that a lot of conservation-based projects recognize that the future of wildlife depends on people."
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