Welcome to the playground of the man called "The Leopard". The kingpin of a Rhino Poaching Syndicate who has no regard for the law or human life and he is poaching the majestic Rhino in the Zambezi Valley, the home of Piet van Zyl which brings the two men into direct conflict. Only one man will leave the playground of The Leopard.
Moving slowly the three men make their way across the vast river that separates Mozambique from their hunting ground in Zambia. The lunar light shines down, giving them enough visibility as they tie up the dugout canoe under the foliage of an overhanging tree, hidden from prying eyes as they move off into the thick bush, seeking their quarry...the thoughts of riches filling their minds, for the Portuguese, the one know as the Leopard, will pay them in dollars, and their families will eat again.
They move slowly and carefully, testing the wind, ensuring that they are downwind from their intended quarry. The man in front is filled with excitement for it is his first time venturing out into the illegal world of Rhino poaching, and as a reward, he has been allowed to carry the old 303 rifle to be used for the kill. The two seasoned poachers carry the sharpened ax and the food, safe in the knowledge that should they come up against the rangers; the man carrying the rifle will be the first one to feel the bite of a bullet.
Up ahead the silhouette that they are searching for stands out against the night sky...a Rhino cow with calf feeds, and the three go to ground...testing the wind once again, as the Rhino’s sense of smell and hearing are acute, but their eyesight is very poor, allowing the men to approach undetected by the majestic animals. The rifle is cocked, the bullet enters the chamber, and the shooter sights at the massive head of the cow as she peacefully grazes on the sweet succulent grass, her calf suckling on her, both unaware of the danger meters away from them.
The Africa night is shattered by rifle fire; the bullet from the 303 enters the neck area of the Rhino cow, the second bullet hitting the animal in the right leg, bringing all two thousand kilograms of terrified Rhino down, but not out. The calf squeals in terror, bolts from its mother at the sound of the shots, and then huddles up against her massive bulk, seeking comfort and protection.
Three men move forward, the ax is raised and brought down with tremendous force on the still living Rhino, their trophy within reach...a horn of thirty-one inches has just sentenced this magnificent beast to a slow death. The ax bites into flesh, blood flies as the man hacks at the base of the horn, the blows are not even...they cut into living flesh...they cut into the horn and the cries of anguish from the Cow and her calf ring out into the Zambian night.
The men leave as silently as they have arrived, melting back into the shadow...their ill gotten gains now hidden in a sack, with not only the horn, but part of the cows snout and upper lip hacked off without any compassion for the animal...just the thought of riches beyond their imagination...leaving the Rhino to die a slow agonizing death...unable to feed, smell or breath, the calf will soon be an orphan, all for the sake of the greed of man.
The only sign that they had ever been there, lies in the lush grass, bleeding freely from the gaping wound where her horn once was. The urgent cries of distress from her calf carry across the bushveld. The Rhino struggles to stand, the bond between mother and child is strong as she heeds its calls, but it proves too much for the gallant mother as her life blood flows onto the ground beneath her...she rests her head on the ground, struggling to breathe and slowly suffocates to death.