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

Dereck Jobert, 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: Follow Paul on Twitter or Instagram

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