Award-winning photographer & filmmaker. @dereckjoubert & I produce African wildlife conservation documentaries. More images at www.natgeocreative.com
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There is an undeniable primal warning when a lion looks directly into your eyes - even if you're in a vehicle. A snarling lion is another level altogether. #bigcatsarenotpets#thisismytrophy
In honour of #WorldGiraffeDay. These unique animals are such a symbol of Africa. What would an open savannah dotted with Acacias be without these silent giants? But again, giraffe populations are declining as habitat is lost and poaching rises. In only 30 years we've lost 40% of them. Once more we need to work quickly to protect these wild habitats and reverse the decline that is taking hold of all Africa's wildlife. #thisismytrophy
Lechwe running at speed through Duba's swampy plains. Their splayed hooves and long back legs let them do this especially well. These antelope are also a symbol of the success of protecting wild land. Under the guise of protecting big cats in this vast wilderness, the entire ecosystem has benefitted and all species here have increased their numbers. When we first took over Duba Plains there were perhaps 1000 lechwe. Today we're in the region of 10 000. And that is again also a huge benefit to the predators who do not need to wander into human habitation in search of prey. #thisismytrophy#conservation#landforlions#lechwe#okavango
Photo by @BeverlyJoubert#sponsored by @fujifilmX_US | A young adult lion investigates a young cub only two weeks old in the Masai Mara, Kenya. The male lion bites the top of the cubs head. It is rare for male lions to interact with the tiny cubs in the pride. The lioness keeps them hidden and protected from all lions in the pride until she makes an introduction and will stay close by to make sure they are unharmed. When they do interact, the males need to be very careful for obvious reasons.
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What an incredible animal. Being in the presence of a big tusker is very humbling. Knowing that there are only about 20 elephants with huge tusks left is devastating. Guns and the desire for ivory and trophies have little by little eliminated these impressive elephants along with their genes. #thisismytrophy#saynotoivory
Crossing a deep Okavango channel. This is a necessity for these swamp lions and it is not without danger. Hippos and crocodiles frequent these waters. The lions will often snarl and growl as they cross, aware of the risks, and even if they remain quiet the concentration in those wild eyes is very evident. #thisismytrophy#bigcats#okavango#duba
A young Duba lion with a grisly memento from a successful hunt. That full belly and overall good condition show that the Tsaro Pride is still thriving in this incredible part of the Okavango. #tsaropride#duba#okavango#bigcats#thisismytrophy
No man is an island, wrote John Donne. No species is. We are all intricately linked in a healthy environment. When the environment degrades, species begin to disappear and the essential ecosystem functions that we take for granted, and upon which we rely, begin to fall away. This #worldenvironmentday we should look at the ecosystems around us, the rapid changes that have been made and the commitment of individuals, companies and governments to do all they can to prevent unnecessary degradation and loss of biodiversity. So many people dream of holidays in exotic pristine destinations. Perhaps we should remember to focus on the environments around us as well.
One of the two massive, dominant males of the Tsaro pride at Duba. He's crossing a deep channel, slowly following the pride's females who crossed earlier to better hunting grounds. He may not take part in the hunt but he will certainly take a share of any kill they make. #swimminglions#bigcats#lionpolitics#thisismytrophy
Fright! These painted wolf pups had been sneaking up on the hooded vulture - unsure if it was possible food or potentially dangerous. Their nerves showed when the vulture swooped down to take off and both pups fell over in fright. There's a reason these dogs stick together in packs and look out for each other continually. #paintedwolf#wilddog#endangered#carefulnow
Looking back to the great Silvereye. She was a remarkably powerful cat who, together with Ma di Tao gave us incredible insight into the workings of prides and the difficulties that they face. Telling their story has helped to save the species with all profits from The Last Lions going straight to the Big Cats Initiative. Together with all your donations, the BCI has now funded over 100 Big Cat conservation projects around the world. #Silvereye#bigcats#causeanuproar#bigcatsinitiative
When lions sleep they can look very reminiscent of our house cats. Bellys up, paws floppy and legs draped over each other. However, when they're hunting there is absolutely no doubt in their demeanor that they are most certainly not pets. The wild power and predatory instinct shines brightly through those yellow eyes. #bigcats#landforlions#causeanuproar#wildandfree#thisismytrophy
One of the dominant Tsaro males at Duba chases one of his sons. The young lion is at an age where he is starting to be seen as a threat and it will soon be time for him to leave the pride and make his own way in life. Even though lion numbers have fallen dramatically over the last couple of decades, it won't be easy for him to find a territory of his own. Habitat loss and human conflict have taken their toll. And now a recent study says that lions are also suffering from a lack of prey. We've seen how conserving a habitat benefits all the species living there. It is becoming ever more evident that we need to protect a great deal more wild land before it is too late. #landforlions#bigcats#causeanuproar
March 3rd started beautifully. It was Dereck’s birthday as well as World Wildlife Day and we were in the Okavango - the place where we feel most at home. The place we have seen become wilder and more pristine as the scars from previous hunting days gradually heal. Herds of buffalo roam the golden plains and the roars of lions in the night speak of their battles. Here we have come to know incredibly strong individuals like Ma di Tau and Silvereye and shared their stories. It is here that we feel most alive and an intricate part of this great wild world.
Dereck and I had been laughing all that day. Old friends had sent 30 year old photos of us working in the field and good memories surrounded us. We were celebrating our lives in the wild, some of the successes we & other conservationists have had in recovering wildlife, and Dereck’s birthday.
Well, you know that the day took a turn and ended violently for us when we encountered a buffalo in the dark. Luckily for me, Dereck was there and my being here today is purely thanks to his calm actions to stabilise and save me despite his own injuries.
I did come close to death that night but honestly, had I died I would consider myself lucky enough to be able to say that I don’t have regrets. I have lived well and fought for the issues that matter, and together with Dereck we’ve tried to be a voice for wildlife and wild places.
It is a lucky person indeed to see death and not have regrets. But we’re not finished. There is sharp clarity in the fact that there is much more to do.
As Dereck said, we really couldn’t give up because it would feel like we were letting too many people down; letting lions, elephants & rhinos down. (Even letting buffalo down!) Knowing that we have the support of so many makes me even more convinced that it is now that we can and must really make a difference.
It will be a little while until we are back out there with cameras. In the meantime I am going through my photo library with conservation on my mind. So I will be sharing images and thoughts with you again as I find moments that inspire me.
Yes, it is a Brave New World, but together we can ensure that the outcome is positive.
There's so much unbelievable life out there. So many species that most of us will only see a fraction of them. Every one has a place in the environment that they're best adapted to. Everything is linked to make ecosystems healthy and functioning. Every species that is lost, weakens our very own grasp on survival. So let us celebrate all the wildlife out there and work towards a world that is more inclusive of species other than our own - because, ultimately we depend on them. Happy World Wildlife Day. #worldwildlifeday
These two Duba males are almost uncharacteristic in their displays of affection. Lions are affectionate and will constantly reinforce their heir bonds through touch but it appears that these two are particularly close. In an uncertain and dangerous world it benefits these cats to work together to increase their hunting success and hold on to a territory. It may surprise you however, that our little house cats also display a great deal of very lion-like behaviour. Watch Soul of the Cat to discover that your cat is not that domestic at all. #soulofthecat#littlebigcats#okavangolions
Our primitive brain wakes up to the predator when we look into their eyes. And yet the predator in miniature we have allowed into every part of our lives. Join us as we explore the similarities between enormous lions and little house cats this Big Cat Week in Soul of the Cat. #soulofthecat#littlebigcats#bigcatweek
Cheetahs are the only African big cats with the ability to purr. But with all the similarities that big cats and our little house cats share, it's almost surprising that the biggest of cats don't. You can find out all about the 'Soul of the Cat' on @natgeowild tonight! #soulofthecat#bigcatweek#littlebigcats
What's the difference between a lion and the little cat purring away on the end of your bed? Well, basically the difference is their size. Otherwise they are remarkably similar. Kittens and cubs are carried the same way, curl into the same ball and they will play the same pouncing games that teach them to hunt. Explore the Soul of the Cat with us this Big Cat Week on @natgeowild and find out just how wild your little tabby actually is. #soulofthecat#littlebigcats#bigcatweek
We've spent years in the field filming big cats. We've dealt with extreme weather, lack of sleep, biting insects, charging elephants and endless flat tyres. These challenges have helped us tell the stories because we have become part of the wild landscape. It has also put us in a position where a challenging shoot for Soul Of The Cat does not leave us feeling overwhelmed! #soulofthecat#littlebigcats#bigcatweek
They have trained us well to supply food and very comfortable shelter. They delight us with their antics and their contented purrs have healing qualities that extend to us. Cats are a very big part of many of our lives; completing our families. But there is always a wild streak within. A need to explore and test themselves. They can turn a garden into a jungle and pounce on swaying leaves and run up trees. Our pets have not lost the instincts that have made them so successful in the wild. They will always retain their inner 'big cat'. Look out for Soul of the Cat this Big Cat Week on Nat Geo Wild to explore these similarities. #soulofthecat#bigcatweek#littlebigcats
They've wormed their way into our homes and our hearts. But these little felines still harbour their inner big cat. Our latest documentary, Soul of the Cat looks at the similarities between big cats and the little lions who purr happily on the end of our beds, knowing how they rule the roost. Look out for it during Nat Geo Wild's Big Cat Week. #soulofthecat#bigcatweek#littlebigcats
A sphinx-like reflection in the last light of the day. A lioness lies still, as if made of stone while she watches her surroundings. She is oblivious to the new challenges lions are facing each day. The demand for lion bones as a substitute in tiger wine is growing rapidly. International trophy hunters are lobbying for more trophies. Land gets transformed daily and brings lions into more contact with humans and their livestock. Here in the Selinda Reserve she is safe from trophy hunting and the bone trade and we will look to preserve ever more wild land so that we are not left with only statues of lions to remind us of what we once had. #bigcats#thisismytrophy#botswana#1frame4nature#only20000left
To celebrate #worldwetlandsday I thought nothing can capture the perfection and wilderness of the Okavango's huge wetland system, quite like one of Duba's swimming lions in the middle of a hunt. Long may these watery plains remain untransformed, protected and a haven for all the wildlife that it sustains. #okavango#swimminglions#wetlands#delta#botswana
These little elephants certainly have attitude. They're very brave when they're surrounded by their herd and if they're startled, or suddenly woken from a nap, they'll often run around charging shadows and invented foes. @dereckjoubert and I could watch them all day! #elephant#botswana#taketimefornature
In a hunt for medals not lions. A Maasai warrior competes in the high jump at the Maasai Olympics. This competition of traditional sports has been created to test warrior skills in a way that eliminates any need for the historical act of lion killing. It has been highly successful and warriors from several manyattas come together to compete for recognition, express bravery, impress women and identify leaders. Valuable prizes are awarded to the winners. But conservation and lions are also winning, as a result of people willing to change and embrace new ideas in order to save a species. #maasaiolympics#1frame4nature#conservation#lionconservation#newideas#kenya
Shades of silver and gold with the stark silhouettes of male lechwe to contrast. The males are often fighting - vying for top position and the reproductive rights. But there are some evenings when it appears that everyone is watching the sunset and all is calm. #sunset#selinda#botswana#taketimeinnature
Drinking deeply at the end of a scorching day in Botswana. It's been revealed that 2016 was the hottest recorded year ever and we've been sweltering this January. With reduced rainfall and increased temperatures, these wild landscapes will undoubtedly change in the future. To best conserve the wildlife within, it makes sense to try to conserve as much as possible. @dereckjoubert and I are working to do just that. Have a look at GreatPlainsFoundation.com to see our current projects. #bigcats#botswana#climatechange#conservation#1frame4nature
This warthog not only is a good resting spot for a carmine bee-eater - she is also a helpful feeding accessory. The constant foraging will disturb numerous insects for the bird to swoop down and grab. #warthog#beeeater#botswana#freemeal
A young lion drinks deeply after a successful hunt on an exceptionally hot day in the Selinda Reserve in Botswana. He is one of 6 cubs - all of whom have been successfully raised to this age; a most unusual occurrence. There was a day in their young lives when we weren't sure that they would all make it. They were being guided by their two mothers across a deep channel as small cubs, when two panicked and turned back. The lionesses swam between their cubs for the rest of the day, trying to coax the scared two into swimming back to the others. Scared of crocodiles and hippos, they refused and eventually spent a long and undoubtedly nervous night on their own. At first light the following morning, the lionesses appeared again and this time the cubs had little hesitation in hanging on and swimming the channel to join their siblings. Now this young male is at an age when he is about to head off on his own and try his luck as an adult. With the strong lessons he would have learned from those determined lionesses, his chances may possibly be better than others of the same age. #bigcats#selindapride#lions#thisismytrophy
The shadow of a young cub falls on its mother's back. I found this image quite poignant, knowing the stresses that lions are facing in today's world. The fact that there are only 20 000 left definitely indicates that if we don't do more to protect them, lions can become just images - shadows of the great cats that rule Africa's savannahs. #bigcats#lions#endangered
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