Haunted by guilt over her son's death in a jaguar attack, Elena Peres, a Peruvian conservation biologist, cast out by her husband and villagers, conducts adventure ecotours in Ecuador, still searching for the roaming killer jaguar to destroy it. When her charges are mauled by a boar, Elena holes up in a Puerto Maldonado hovel. She repeatedly refuses an offer to redeem herself by leading a rapid biological assessment expedition into the rainforest near her old village, the first step toward securing national park protection. The only proviso: no hunting jaguars. Elena finally relents, returns to her Peruvian village, now much-changed with drug cartels, corrupt government officials, coca fields and misery, endures villagers' and former husband and drug kingpin Carlos Rodriguez' enmity, and enlists help from her biologist friend, Ursula Ortiz. With little financial backing, no political clout, and constant roadblocks, Elena secures a ragtag team and sets off for the rainforest. But a rival expedition in league with Carlos, led by Dr. Markus Andrews, Elena's former teacher, thwarts her every move, sabotaging and killing jaguars and her team members in a push for her extinction and the rainforest's demise. Elena vows to complete the expedition, secure the rainforest and save the jaguar—whatever the cost.