The Last Lions, a National Geographic documentary by acclaimed filmmakers and conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert opened in theaters nationwide last Friday. The film tells the harrowing true story of a lioness named Ma di Tau struggling to raise her cubs and stay alive in the fierce world of the African bush where danger lurks at every turn.
The film is garnering magnificent reviews and is bringing attention to the plight of African lions, whose numbers have been in severe decline over the last fifty years. The statistics the film quotes are sobering. The lion population in Africa has dwindled from 450,000 half a century ago to only 20,000 today.
The Jouberts are committed conservationists who have lived in the African bush amid lions, crocodiles and herds of wild buffalo to tell the stories of Africa’s threatened and dwindling animal populations. The Jouberts, along with National Geographic have established the Big Cats Initiative, a program that supports conservation projects, education, economic incentive efforts as well a global public-awareness campaign about the drastic decrease in the populations of big cats.
Photo credit: National Geographic