Hunting is Not a Hot Topic: An Interview with Dereck and Beverly Joubert

The Intrepid African couple Dereck and Beverly Joubert have spent over 25 years working in the wilderness areas of Botswana. Photograph by Wildlife Films.

I was in the middle of a profile interview with wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert for a prominent South African magazine.

We were chatting about their incredible experiences in the Botswana wilderness and some of their current projects, including an upcoming National Geographic film called Game of Lions.

I was keen to keep the conversation light, but I also wanted to ask them one question on the touchy topic of hunting in Botswana. As many people know, the Botswana government banned hunting completely in 2013. Many people are wondering what will happen to the massive concessions of land that operated under hunting. Will they become desolate and ravaged by poachers? Or will they be transformed into successful photographic operations, free of the hunters that profited from the land before? (Also see: “The End of Safari Hunting in Botswana.”)

The Jouberts have lived and filmed in Botswana for over 25 years. They also operate a commercial safari company and run more than 43 conservation projects on the ground throughout Africa, so the couple are certainly in a good position to make a comment. It’s an emotional topic for some, so before presenting the question, I included a short “disclaimer” saying that they were most welcome to be brief with their thoughts. Nobody wanted to get into an emotional tirade here. (Also see: “Lion Hunt Photo Touches Off Heated Conservation Debate.”)

Dereck was blunt and candid straight off the bat.

“I don’t think this is a hot topic at all, and I’m more than happy to talk about it. In fact, it’s a cold topic because the hunters are moving out.”

Listen to what else they had to say:

Paul Steyn is a widely-published multi-media content producer from South Africa, and regular contributor to National Geographic News and blogs. Having guided throughout Africa for some years, he went on to edit a prominent travel and wildlife magazine, and now focuses on nature storytelling in all its forms. In 2013, he joined a team of researchers and Bayei on a 250km transect of the Okavango Delta on traditional mokoros. In 2016, he accompanied the Great Elephant Census team in Tanzania and broke the groundbreaking results on National Geographic News . Contact: paul@paulsteyn.com Follow Paul on Twitter or Instagram
  • António Henrique Alves Monteiro

    As a White African, from Mozambique and from portuguese stock, and know leaving in Europe, and I follow the works of the Joubert Couple and for me, sorry with my poor English, I hope you people can understand it, the poachers, the bastards poacchers, they are not the very big problema, but the China, the chinese, using them as the ones that they do the dirt job for them, because the poachers are poor people, that they need something to eat, not only for themselves, but for the all family. They are used, because the ones that, as I said, that they get the profit, we all know well who. When China and others asian countries left the use of ivory, the ellies they can stand up, but I don’t bellieve any more in humans. With all the best for you people, from António.. In my country I was a hunter, but today I can’t kill a fly.

  • steffi hiller

    would it be possible to get the interview in writing. I do speak English but think I lost a few sentences. I would like to read the complete statements of the Jouberts. I experienced quite some amazing elephant encounters in the last 4 weeks in Ruaha/TZ and Selous/TZ. Patient and not so nice elephants, the latter due to recent poaching incidents.

  • Paul Steyn

    Hi Steffi, I will happily email you a transcript of the interview.

  • dragan simic

    dear paul,
    watching in serbia and the video is not opening at all.
    could you possibly send me the a transcript of the interview, too?
    all the best,

  • dragan simic

    oh, it finally did open, but could you anyway send me the text, i’d like to translate some parts and use it here, talking to local hunters…

  • Adam L

    Sustainable harvest is the way to go. No hunting in National Parks of course but some areas need to have multi-use laws set in place with game management and lumber use as part of the model. We all can’t exist on photographing animals, some areas should be set aside for only viewing, some multi use and some as private property for anything use. Difficult issue no doubt. I do have to ask, since there is a ban on hunting is that even for natives? That ban on hunting in Kenya created criminals out of natives in Kenya due to no model to allow them to hunt what they needed.

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