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Based on the incredible true events of one man and his five-year mission to rescue over 6,000 wild animals from the flooding of the Zambezi Valley, using the most primitive of resources whilst being buffeted by the colonial "Winds of Change" that swept through Africa during the early 1960s.
Southern Rhodesia, 1958: Rupert Fothergill, a middle-aged game ranger who much prefers a solitary life in the bush protecting wildlife, has quit his job. In this rapidly developing British colony, being a game ranger all too often involves having to destroy animals for encroaching on "progress", the cultivated lands and towns that have sprung up in their habitats, and Rupert simply can't do it anymore.
But before he can get used to life in the city with his wife and two children, Rupert finds himself volunteering to lead a rescue of the wild animals caught up in the floods caused by the damming of the Zambezi River in the north of the country.
But this act of defiance against "Progress" is easier said than done. Rupert is provided with just a handful of helpers - a snake scientist who is more allergic to anti-venom than he is to a black mamba bite, a young fit assistant who can't swim, and a group of scouts often too spooked to work effectively by the curses laid upon the growing lake by a local witch doctor.
The growing urgency to save as many animals as they can is heightened when they discover a white rhino on an island sixty years after the species was thought to have gone extinct. But rescuing "Hookhorn" before he starves to death or drowns is no easy feat and time is against them. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland is crumbling as the "Winds of Change" sweep through Africa and taking their meager funding with it. In desperation, Rupert takes one risk too many and is trampled by Hookhorn.
A man used to leading the way, must make the ultimate sacrifice and, in a parallel to the story's political backdrop, defer power if he is to see Rhodesia's last white rhino saved.