Wildlife Filmmakers and Conservationists: Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Wildlife Filmmakers and Conservationists: Dereck and Beverly Joubert

Profile of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, conservationists, wildlife filmmakers, and National Geographic Explorers at Large.

Grades

4 - 12+

Subjects

Arts and Music, Biology, Ecology, Filmmaking

Dereck and Beverly are environmentalists and documentary filmmakers who focus on the big cats native to their home in Botswana, and throughout Africa. They helped the National Geographic Society establish the Big Cats Initiative, which provides information and solutions to stop the number of big cats, especially lions, from dwindling.

EARLY WORK

Beverly and Dereck, who met when they were teenagers, always had an interest in the outdoors.

Dereck and his family often spent holidays in nature preserves. “It’s part of my DNA,” he says.

Beverly remembers how she and her twin brother explored the grasslands surrounding their childhood home in South Africa. She was awed by the “vast, open veldt.”

MOST EXCITING PART OF YOUR WORK

Beverly: “Being somewhere in the field and not knowing what will happen . . . capturing a unique scene or behavior . . . discovering something new for science.”

Dereck: “Spending time with individual animals, such as a leopard, and getting to know their personality and character.”

MOST DEMANDING PART OF YOUR WORK

Beverly and Dereck answer in unison: “Leaving the bush, finishing a project.”

Beverly says the hours required can be grueling. “We work seven days a week, 18-19 hours a day in extreme climates. The heat, dust, rain, and all the bugs can be emotionally exhausting, as well as physically.”

Dereck adds, “Because we work with predators, we deal with death all the time.”

HOW DO YOU DEFINE GEOGRAPHY?

Dereck defines geography as an active process: “Going out into the edges of society, gathering information, and bringing it back to the center. . . . It can be a journey in the mind. Going to the edge of the unknown.

Geography is looking at the Earth, and seeing the lines on its face.”

GEO-CONNECTION

Beverly and Dereck visit schools and museums all over the world, and they have noticed that students in developed countries are not as well-prepared in geography as students in less-developed countries.

“Kids in these far-flung places have a better sense of geography,” Dereck says. “They have to actively find themselves on a map. ‘Where am I?’”

Beverly encourages students to “get a visceral connection to a place”—not just looking for places on a map, but understanding the climate, biodiversity, and culture of a specific location.

SO, YOU WANT TO BE A . . . WILDLIFE FILMMAKER

Dereck encourages students to study diverse topics in biologyEarth science, zoology, ecology—instead of focusing on the latest camera or filmmaking technology. “Technology changes! It’s so much more important to understand the natural world,” he says.

GET INVOLVED

Beverly says conservationists “need to be completely 'in the zone'.” Turning off personal electronic devices is a great way to get closer to the natural world, she says. It allows people to always be watching and observing nature, instead of “listening for the beep-beep” of a smartphone.

Dereck is more succinct about the demands of life in the field: “Toughen up!”

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

August 8, 2022

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. She or he will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.

Media

If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.

Text

Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.

Interactives

Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources