Tony Fitzjohn has just come to work on Kora, a lion preserve, for two elderly brothers, George and Terrence Adamson. On the first day Fitzjohn goes against George’s advice and is nearly mauled by a lion. Being informed this is how the last person to fill his position came to be killed, he writes the whole place off as crazy and decides to leave. With a last minute change of heart, and a lion cub brought in from a zoo for him to train and reintroduce into the wild he soon discovers his life’s true calling.
Years pass and Kora’s lions are being picked off by herdsmen one by one with bullets and poison and the elephants and rhinos are being poached at an alarming rate for their tusks and horns. The Adamson brothers are expending all of their energies in protecting the wildlife but can hardly compete; as Fitzjohn observes “A ranger may make 800 shillings a month but a poacher will pay him 10,000 just to turn his back for a day”. The odds seem to be insurmountable as the poachers pile in and the animal death toll rises while the local government decides that it doesn’t really want a wildlife preserve at all.