Cape Town – Dedicated wildlife conservationists and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert were recently hosted by TV host Ellen DeGeneres to discuss their fascinating documentary, Soul of the Elephant.
The southern African couple from Botswana gave audiences around the globe chills as they spoke about ivory poaching, and how severely it affects elephants.
Beverly described a particular encounter with elephants, where they collected ivory of an elephant carcass. “We put it in the back of our vehicle [and drove away], but we couldn’t make it back to the nearest ranger station, so we had to sleep out in the middle of the bush.
“At about midnight, all of a sudden our vehicle was rocking from side to side. We woke up and we realised that it was an elephant bull. He was rocking us, so Dereck clapped his hands and off the bull went…
“About an hour later, the bull was back again, just rocking the car.
“That’s when we realised they could smell that ivory. We threw it out, and he [the elephant] just picked it up, and fondled it…
“In the morning when we woke up, they had taken the ivory away.”
For the documentary Dereck says they “wanted to get into the very soul of the elephant” and says working with elephants is a meditative experience.
The Jouberts have made 25 films for National Geographic, according to Wildlife Films. They’ve published 11 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have written many articles for the National Geographic Magazine.
Beverly Joubert is also an acclaimed photographer and her international exhibitions have further helped to raise awareness for the plight of big cats across the world.
In 2011, the couple was honored with the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service by the President of Botswana for their work within the country. The President said “Theirs is a life long passion; for each other, for big cats, for Africa… they are true children of Africa”.
The Jouberts 2011 film, “The Last Lions,” was filmed in Botswana and has since become a powerful ambassador for wild lions globally, reaching over 350 million people and collecting an array of international awards in the process.
After The Ellen DeGeneres Show interview, Dereck tweeted saying “loved the experience”, but was happy to leave before the Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman made his appearance.