Beverly’s photographs appear in March 2016 National Geographic magazine

I could be in the presence of leopards every minute of each day. Around 2003 [my husband] Dereck [Joubert] and I were fortunate to discover a newborn leopard cub. We had been tracking its mother for a few days. She led us to her den, where we met this tiny little fluffy fur ball, who we later called Legadema.

Legadema wobbled around her mother’s feet, very vulnerable. I instantly fell in love with this precious little creature. She was so exquisite in every way, from her camouflaged, beautiful fur coat to those piercing eyes. As she grew, her steel-blue eyes turned an incredible shade of bright amber, and they were always attentive.

She was filled with curiosity while she explored and investigated the forest. On many days she stared right at me, appearing to understand that we were not there to harm her but to protect her species. Her eyes would show compassion, which is so much of what I felt in her company.

The moments we spent with this mother and daughter were a lesson in caring and compassion. Their attention to each other, as if nothing else mattered, was part of the love affair I started feeling for all leopards. This moment changed our lives. For three and a half years we followed this inquisitive little cat. She seduced us to the point that we had no choice but to become ambassadors for leopards. —Beverly Joubert

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“Game of Lions” photographs by Beverly Joubert

Los Angeles, CA — Dereck and Beverly JoubertCo–Founders of Great Plains Conservation proudly announce their next feature film “Game of Lions” premiering Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 10 p.m. ET/7 PT on Nat Geo Wild as part of the network’s highest rated week, BIG CAT WEEK. Filmed in the heart of Africa’s great wildernesses of the Okavango Deltaand Selinda Reserve, on land conserved by Great Plains Conservation, the film answers one of the Joubert’s most pressing question after three decades of observing the great predators of Africa. “My whole life I’ve been fascinated by the question of what happens to young male lions when they get kicked out [of a pride] and become nomads, and what it takes to win the rights to emerge as a challenger to a pride male.” said filmmaker Dereck Joubert

As Joubert tells it, the film follows, “this extraordinary rite of passage, this boot camp for young male lions, and it touches on a subject that probably intrigues or bothers any young man, I suppose. Beverly and I had a lot of fun doing this because we were all over the place, following nomads, trying to understand what no one has so far covered because there are no basic rules to being a survivor, except to survive. Just one out of eight lions survive into adulthood and those that do enter into a game of kins, as each bloodline fights for its ultimate survival and the right to win a pride. Their fate has always been a mystery that has stumped conservationists and scientists for years.”

 

 

In Nat Geo WILD’s TV premiere of “Game of Lions,” narrated by Jeremy Irons for National Geographic Television andChannels, the Jouberts take an unflinching look at what happens to these lions in this spirited, moving and heartbreaking film set in the heart of the great plains of Africa.

“We were lucky to be able to do this project on land and in camps operated by Great Plains Conservation, areas which are truly wild places, with all the natural predators and prey in place and large enough for our needs on this film, because these young males really roam over huge distances and without working on reserves of this size, we’d have been stopping, applying for permissions on different land and losing our subjects every other day. As it was, we lost most of them!”

The Joubert estimates there are 20,000 lions left on Earth. Only 3,500 of those are males. Although they are born at a 50/50 ratio, by the time they reach maturity, very few remain — a fact attributable to both natural and unnatural causes.

About Great Plains Conservation:

Great Plains Conservation is a conservation company that uses tourism as a major component to help make conservation financially viable through what we call “Conservation Tourism.” Our projects and safari camps in Botswana and Kenya are rooted in this passion to make the environment whole again. They focus on providing a meaningful experience, something special for people but by doing so with a strong commitment to the lowest impact, high value, and safari experiences. Ensuring that areas in which we operate are environmentally sustainable and financially working enterprises for conservation and for communities is what we consider responsible tourism and business.

More than a television event, BIG CAT WEEK is an extension of the Big Cats Initiative, a long–term commitment by the National Geographic Society to stop poaching, save habitat and sound the call that big steps are needed to save big cats around the world. This global initiative actively supports on–the–ground conservation projects and education to help stem and eventually reverse the rapid disappearance of big cat populations. For more information on BIG CAT WEEK, visitwww.natgeowild.com/bigcatweek or follow us on twitter @NGC_PR. More information on the Big Cats Initiative and how you can get involved, visit www.causeanuproar.com.

Great Plains Conservation — www.Greatplainsconservation.com

Dereck and Beverly Joubert — www.Wildlifefilms.co

Caroline Graham, C4 Global Communications

[email protected] | +1 310.899.2727 | www.c4global.com