Out in the Wild

Oct 5, 2006 6:43pm

I could not possibly live the way Dereck and Beverly Joubert do.  For the last twenty years they have spent much of their time in the wilderness in Botswana, in southern Africa, shooting video and stills of the animals who live there. They live in tents–when they’re not out on the plains by day with their cameras.  They get their food from the nearest village, half an hour away by bush plane.  They cook over an open fire.  Dereck says he has had malaria four times, and been bitten by scorpions twice.  But never, ever, he says, has he been charged by an elephant he was filming, or a lion he watched making a kill.  And certainly not by Legadema, the female leopard they profiled for three years. (Dereck Joubert shooting video of Legadema.  Photo by Beverly Joubert, used with permission from National Geographic.) "For us it really is a true paradise," Beverly said to me.  "It’s tough for us to leave the bush, it really is." They did, to edit their newest production, "Eye of the Leopard," which the National Geographic Channel will air Sunday at 8 PM EDT, with several repeats.  (There’s more on their site HERE.)  I’ve become friendly with some of the folks at National Geographic in recent years, and they give us their video.  We get some good stories; they get extra publicity.  Natually, I’d like to go off to some of the places in Geographic’s documentaries…but I’ve also had the feeling of knowing when I’m in over my head.  I spent three weeks in India on one trip; I didn’t know where it was safe to stand in the street, or what to do when a stranger thrust a cup of tea on me.  Three years in the forests of Botswana?  I’ll leave that to people who are better suited, like the Jouberts.  (Our piece on them closed World News this evening.  You can read my written version HERE.) Dereck–we set up our interview in New York’s Bronx Zoo–says he feels a touch uncomfortable in cities.  Too noisy, too crowded, too many of the complications that come with civilization.  "Wild places, wild animals have a value, even if it’s an intrinsic value, just to be left alone." You’re welcome to agree or disagree with him–in either case, please click below–but it’s worth listening to him first, and considering the commitment he and Beverly made to their work.  They really spent three years–with a few interruptions to edit in cities–documenting the life of a single leopard.  "I think it’s important for everybody to know that there is a wild place out there," he said to me, "a wild animal like a leopard moving in its natural environment. "I think that if we lose that, we lose that sense within our souls of creativity, of everything being okay."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus