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Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Filmmakers, Conservationists and Explorers
Dereck and Beverly Joubert are world famous, award-winning filmmakers, conservationists and explorers from Botswana. As National Geographic Explorers-at-Large, they founded the Big Cats Initiative that now has over 147 projects across 28 countries, all focused on protecting large cats. One of their more recent films, Birth of a Pride, highlights the vision of the Big Cat Initiative and has won 19 awards bringing much awareness to this global project.  Another of their films, Tribe versus Pride, also ties into to the BCI – the story is told from the point of view of the Maasai who are grantees of the Initiative.  

Their mission for over 30 years has been the conservation and understanding of the large predators in particular, and other key wildlife species that determine the course of all conservation in Africa.

The Jouberts have produced over 40 films for National Geographic, published 12 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have authored many articles for the prestigious National Geographic Magazine. Their talks around the world are often sold out in minutes, and their TED talk has attracted millions of views. Among their 8 Emmy awards, (from 22 Emmy nominations,) a Peabody, Grand Teton, Golden Panda awards, World Ecology Award (with Prince Charles, Sylvia Earle and Richard Leakey) and the Mervin Jones Fellow Award from Lions Club International, it is their Presidential Order of Merit given to them by Botswana’s President for their conservation work, that stands out for them. Their latest film, Okavango, was premiered at Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States.

They have established a conservation and tourism foundation: The Great Plains Foundation and its sister company Great Plains Conservation. They presently manage over 1.5 million acres of wild lands in Africa, and that holds an estimated 2-3% of Africa’s elephants, lions, giraffe and other wildlife.
They co-produce each film, Dereck writes and does the cinematography while Beverly does all the sound. Beverly is also an acclaimed photographer for National Geographic, with exhibitions being seen from London to Sundance, Johannesburg to New York. One of their early films Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas, is estimated to have been seen by over a billion people across 127 countries.

In 2015 a single talk of theirs in Beijing went viral online in China and was followed by 195 million people. The later TV interview One on One with Yang Lan was watched by 200 million people. A referendum to ban all ivory trade in China was presented to the President in April 2015. In September that year President Obama and President Xi met and discussed an agreement with China to ban all ivory trade. They have appeared on the Ellen Show and hundreds of TV shows around the world. On average they are in the media 300 days a year.
The Jouberts are considered notable world-leading conservationists and thought leaders. One example is their project to move 100 rhinos out of the highest poaching zones of South Africa to Botswana already underway with 87 moved and 44 calves born from that group. It is a huge success.

The Jouberts’ efforts, as filmmakers, with the Big Cats Initiative, Rhinos without Borders and with Great Plains Conservation, coincide with one aim: to save the wild places of Africa, and to protect the creatures that depend on them.

Their global reach in terms of social media is significant. Via National Geographic, images are routinely being followed by up to a million people at a time. Great Plains has 300,000 followers, and Dereck and Beverly have 400,000 followers collectively. They use these platforms to continuously advocate current conservation topics and concerns, and to also raise funds to further their conservation efforts.
The President of Botswana recently said it well: “Theirs is a life long passion; for each other, for big cats, for Africa…they are true “children of Africa.”

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Thursday, October 1

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