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The Last Lions Book

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A symbol of mythic potency, the African lion has ruled the human imagination for millennia. But in Botswana's Okavango Delta, the world's most awe-inspiring hunters are challenged not only by their waterlogged territory, but also by their formidable prey—the buffalo—who wield their massive horns with deadly accuracy. Pulsing with ancient rhythms of wild Africa, this harsh and eternal struggle is compelling, powerful, and poignant. Award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Beverly and Dereck Joubert, give us an unforgettable glimpse of this iconic drama in the official companion book to their feature film, The Last Lions, and warn that due to declining numbers of lions in the wild, it may soon end forever. Read more about the movie here.

In fascinating text and breathtaking images, the Jouberts reveal both the beauty and danger of the Okavango Delta and its inhabitants. We follow a lone lioness, Ma di Tau—Mother of Lions—and three newborns as they flee a ferocious rival pride. Braving the Delta, despite their instinctive hatred of water, the lioness and her cubs head for an island lost in a labyrinth of streams. She and two cubs escape successfully; a lurking crocodile snatches the third.

The Last Lions is a story of family and hope in a world of wild beauty and relentless predation that is a superbly photographed, sharply detailed intimate portrait of one dauntless mother struggling to protect her young and preserve her bloodline. It is a vivid, universal vision of the fate of lions everywhere, isolated on tiny islands amid a sea of humanity. Can we rescue them, or have we already, heedlessly, met the last lions?

For decades the Jouberts have lived among great cats in the wild, observing, documenting, and often discovering unsuspected facets of lion behavior. A key message is that the inexorably rising tide of human population will soon drown what remains of that world unless we act now. The book draws attention to the numbers (500,000 in the 1950s to only 25,000 lions today) and highlights projects that have been enacted to help preserve wilderness for lion habitat.


  • Softcover
  • 176 pages; 135 color photographs
  • 10 3/4" x 7 1/2"
  • © 2011

Author Info

Dereck and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, are internationally acclaimed naturalists and cinematographers. Their many years with lions have yielded not only books like Hunting with the Moon, but also such highly praised documentary films as Eternal Enemies: Lions and Hyenas; Reflections on Elephants; and Lions of Darkness, an outstanding body of work that has won four Emmys, two Chris awards, and a George Foster Peabody award.

Photo Gallery


Marvelous big cats


Every time I open this book I remember safari trips I have taken and resolve to take another. The Jouberts' devoation to the lives of these amazing creatures is outstanding and their photographic skills are phenomenal. Everyone who cares about preserving endangered species should read this book.

Grandma K



Good companion to the movie.


The Last Lions Series is a realistic education about the actual life lions lead. This includes the heart warming moments as well as the heartwrenching ones. The book is a good companion to the movie. It includes comments from the President of the Republic of Botswana which clarifies that country's stance. It also brings to life of the photographers lives.

Cat Lover

Tucson, AZ


Anything by the Joubert's is fantastic!


I bought the book after seeing the movie. I see it is now available on dvd, so will be purchasing that as well. These beautiful animals are in danger of becoming extinct & I just wish I could do more to help their cause.


Burnsville, MN


Could read this over and over


Beautiful scenery, heartbreaking true story.




''My hat off to big cats''


For educational needs.




The Last Lions Book

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