Release of Eye of the Leopard App

A screenshot of the Eye of the Leopard app. Photographs by Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and Founder of the Big Cats Initiative.

In June 2003 we followed a leopard to a fallen tree and, after a while, noticed a tiny movement in the logs. An eight-day-old cub, still mostly sightless, stumbled out into the sunlight, starting a full and adventurous life — and a journey for Beverly and me that would end up being over four years wandering in the footsteps of this little leopard. She took us on a journey that daily exposed us to the secret lives of leopards and eventually led to us forming the Big Cats Initiative with the National Geographic Society because she so touched our lives. We understood through this process that she and the last remaining 50,000 leopards were voiceless in their own struggle for survival of their species, and that through the Big Cats Initiative we needed to become that voice.

For us this period of our lives was pivotal in that it turned us from filmmakers and conservationists alone to becoming ambassadors and advocates with a sense of urgency.

We made two films from our relationship with the leopard we called Legadema. She became a household name. Shops are named after her, people in the streets know her name, and at one of Beverly’s exhibitions in London people braved the rain and buses to stand and stare into her eyes. She inspired poetry, and solace as people claimed that just watching the film or flipping through the book gave them calm against their fears of advanced cancer. Her eyes have an enticing, seductive, healing effect on all of us. We completed the book, Eye of the Leopard, and it has been a bestseller. Thousands of tourists to Botswana visited her, and many came just to find her and stare into those eyes. We continued our work in the Selinda area with —> Read More