Editor’s Note: Thanks to you, we are feeling the love. To show our gratitude, we are profiling some of our most cherished readers who often stop by to see what we have cooking on the site. Please make them feel welcome by saying hello!
Award winning photographer, filmmaker and conservationist Beverly Joubert has been working in Africa with her husband Dereck for 30 years. Together they are explorers in residence at the National Geographic Society. The Jouberts spend years at a time living in remote bush camps in Botswana tracking animals to film and photograph. Their work focuses on big cats and their goal is to inspire others to take care of the planet. In 2008 they founded The Big Cats Initiative as an effort to stop the decline of big cats in Africa. Their latest film The Last Lions premiered this year in cinemas around the US. with all profits from the film going to conservation. Two DVDs called Living With Big Cats and Big Cat Odyssey are to be released this year. To further educate and promote their mission the Jouberts recently expanded into conservation tourism through their company Great Plains Conservation.
Name: Beverly Joubert
What do you like reading about on EcoSalon?
EcoSalon is making people so much more conscious. There are so many good articles. One jumped out at me about plastics in the ocean. It is really important to bring that to the table. And also the article about young Sarah Outen rowing across the oceans – each ocean is different and she will be learning the value of each one.
Tell me a little bit about your work?
We have been working in particular areas of Africa for 30 years and we have watched the areas transform, and not for the better. The animals have been diminishing. Ninety five percent of the cats have gone over a 50 year period – about the time we have been alive. Every film or book we make acts as a platform for big cats. Our last feature film ‘The Last Lions’ we named provocatively so we could start having the conversation.
What is your environmental philosophy?
Big cats are the most sexy species. But by protecting land for lions you are protecting it for everything else too. And by protecting wilderness areas we are protecting ourselves because most of these areas are the lungs of the world.
What inspires you to keep going?
The younger generation is really enthusiastic. It seems that they don’t just think as they have been taught but they are truly innovative. As explorers we have always had to think outside the box and be innovative. We are getting letters from tiny little kids saying how much they love lions. They truly understand and have ideas of how to help.
When are you happiest?
We found a baby elephant drowning in a man made mud pool and Dereck and I worked all night to try and save the little animal. We only intervene if it (the problem) is man made. It was intensely rewarding in the end. The mother cow came running down when the baby was out and she was fondling him. She didn’t even try and charge us. That was the most rewarding and beautiful moment I have ever had.
Image: Dereck and Beverly Joubert