In this instalment of our Safari Icons series, we take a look at the world-renowned Husband and Wife conservationist/photographic team – Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Veterans of the industry, with over 25 years experience, the Jouberts were recently honoured with their appointment as National Geographic Society’s “Explorers in Residence”. Having worked in some of Africa’s most remote corners, their work has touched millions of people the world over and established them as true pioneers in their field.
Based in Botswana, the Jouberts have developed an understanding and appreciation of the African wilderness that few others could match. Their documentary ‘Eternal Enemies’ – about the fierce competition that exists between spotted hyenas and lions – catapulted them into worldwide prominence and went on to become one of the most viewed wildlife documentaries of all time.
With five Emmy awards behind their name, their talent for filmmaking is matched only by their passion for conservation. The Joubert’s were instrumental in the establishment of the Big Cat Initiative in partnership with National Geographic, which was formed as an emergency action fund to drive the world’s attention to big cats and to develop real solutions to stop their decline in population.
“We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says Dereck. “They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.”
As co-founders of Great Plains Conservation (a preferred supplier to ASC), the Jouberts and their partners have undertaken to “find the right formula between conservation, communities and commerce” and stop the degradation of land throughout Africa, while becoming pioneers in Conservation Tourism. This year they added land in Tanzania, Kenya and an exciting new project in Rwanda, bringing the total amount of impacted conservation land to about 1.5 million acres.
Africa is blessed to have people as passionate about her conservation as Dereck and Beverly Joubert. As close friends of the ASC team, we salute them on their efforts and wish them all the best going forward.
*PS, Safari Guru Jeff says the best cat sightings he’s ever seen were at Great Plains Conservation’s Duba Plains Camp!
Check out this TED Talk where Dereck and Beverly speak about the life lessons they’ve learnt from Big Cats.