Dereck and Beverly Joubert




Photograph by Beverly Joubert

Photo: Dereck & Beverly Joubert, filmmakers, conservationists

Photograph by Mark Thiessen

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are award-winning filmmakers from Botswana who have been Explorers-in-Residence for over four years. Their mission is the conservation and understanding of the large predators and key African wildlife species that determine the course of all conservation in Africa.

They have been filming, researching, and exploring in Africa for over 25 years. Their coverage of unique predator behavior has resulted in 22 films, 10 books, six scientific papers, and many articles for National Geographic magazine. This body of work has resulted in five Emmys, a Peabody, the World Ecology Award, and the recent induction into the American Academy of Achievement.

Beverly Joubert also is an acclaimed photographer, and many of her photographs have appeared in National Geographic magazine. Filmmaking for them has always been a way to bring the message of conservation to audiences. Their recent expansion into conservation tourism via their new company, Great Plains, is a venture into community/conservation partnerships in Africa, and Great Plains has received awards for responsible tourism in London and South Africa.

It is the Jouberts’ belief that while some areas need the wilderness to be maintained in isolation, other areas will disappear unless viable, extremely-light-ecological-footprint (low-volume, high-cost) benefits are generated for communities. 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. These projects all aim to rehabilitate the environment and return these vast tracts of land to nature.

Their major effort today is in establishing the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic as an emergency action fund to drive the world’s attention to big cats and to develop real solutions to stop the decline that has seen lion numbers drop from 450,000 to 20,000 in 50 years.

“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.”

Support My Project

  • Photo: African lion

    The Big Cats Initiative

    From lions in Kenya to snow leopards in the Himalaya, the big cats of the world need help. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are quickly disappearing, all victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans.

  • Drawing: Lion in grass with flowers

    Write a Letter to a Lion

    Write letters to lions and the Jouberts will deliver them to African leaders to let them know how important lions are to kids everywhere.

Inside National Geographic Magazine

  • <p>Photo: A mother leopard and cub</p>

    Raising a Leopard

    Teaching a spirited cub to survive in the wilds of Botswana takes all the skill and patience a mother leopard can muster.

  • <p>Photo: Lions and buffalo</p>

    Killer Pride

    Dereck and Beverly Joubert discuss a wildlife relationship that could easily be thrown off balance.

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    Joubert Field Notes

    Dereck and Beverly Joubert discuss their field work for National Geographic magazine's "Botswana's Lions" feature article.

  • lion-attacking-buffalo-615.jpg

    Protecting Predators

    Dereck and Beverly Joubert have devoted their lives to the belief that big cats matter. Here's why.



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    Experience the compelling stories the Jouberts encounter in the field.

In Their Words

We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats.

—Dereck Joubert

Big Cats Week 2012


  • Photo: A lone lioness reluctantly gives up her kill as a wall of African buffalo crowd in to protect it

    Photo: Killer Pride

    Rarely witnessed behavior marks the predator-prey relationship of a pride of lions and a herd of Cape buffalo.


Listen to Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Hear various interviews with the Jouberts on National Geographic Weekend.

  • One of the new threats facing southern Africa's big cats is also an old one. National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Dereck and Beverley Joubert, tells Boyd that the fashion industry is looking for an edgy new trend -- and they're returning to furs. Although Botswana has banned all hunting inside its borders, the Jouberts say that there are only 50,000 leopards left and that a few thousand are being poached yearly. They also chat about their new movie, The Unlikely Leopard, about a cat that may have become a bit too comfortable letting his mother provide for him.

  • National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert capture astounding images of African wildlife in their beautiful films. The Jouberts live in the African bush alongside the lions and other animals they profile. They explain to Boyd that, because big cats are in such danger, their work is now focused on conservation projects such as the Cause an Uproar program.

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  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

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