Dereck and Beverly Joubert are wildlife filmmakers and conservationists (as well as National Geographic explorers-in-residence) with a mission to conserve and understand the big cats of Africa, as well as other key wildlife species. Beverly is also a photographer, and her pictures have appeared in National Geographic magazine.
WHAT THEY DO
Filmmaking and conservation.
When in the field, we get up around 4 a.m., snatch a cup of tea, and drive out into the bush to find our subject. Sometimes that is a lion pride or sometimes a single leopard. Each takes a different pace and skill. We follow the animals for the day, filming, researching, and collecting data or images. We are often back in camp by 8 p.m.
THE ONE THING THEY CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT
WHEN THEY WERE KIDS:
Derek: I was quiet and athletic. I preferred being outdoors, or doing creative stuff, but I was good at math and science.
Beverly: I have a twin brother, so we got up to great mischief and gave our mother gray hair early! I was a dancer, an athlete, played piano (not very well), and was a class leader.
Dereck: Ghandi and Sir Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor), who had adventures in India and then Africa about 120 years ago.
Beverly: Legadema, the little leopard that has become the most incredible ambassador for leopards around the world through our films.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EXPLORE
Dereck: We live in it! OK, maybe the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. We love diving when we can get to the ocean.
Beverly: Being in nature is absolutely my favorite. Living in the Okavango for three years watching a leopard grow up has certainly been a highlight.
MOST HEART-POUNDING EXPERIENCE
Dereck: We’ve been attacked by elephants four times, and once by a buffalo.
Beverly: Once while I was following a baby leopard, she walked away from her mother right into a troop of baboons. When they discovered her she bolted, at first toward us, then under our vehicle and out the other side. What the baboons did not count on was her mother!
Dereck: Running, or taking a swim in the Okavango swamp (keeping a lookout for leeches and crocodiles)
Beverly: Swimming is fun but crazy in these waters.