Lesley Rochat, also known as the Shark Warrior because of her passionate efforts in shark conservation, is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, followed by a high profile career as a professional actress, TV presenter and model. Her history in ocean and shark conservation goes back 20 years when given her growing concern for the marine environment, and after diversifying into the corporate world, she packed up a successful career and founded AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Cape Town, South Africa.
AfriOceans achieved major success through a unique shark conservation programme designed by Lesley that involved the satellite tagging and releasing of captive sharks. Under Lesley’s leadership, AfriOceans continues to successfully drive education, awareness and lobbying initiatives.
This award-winning documentary filmmaker is also the CEO of Blue Pulse Pictures, a production company owned by her. She has produced and directed numerous documentaries, including her multi-award winning documentary, Sharks in Deep Trouble, and the Panda Award winning Save Our Sharks short awareness video.
An avid diver and a PADI Dive Master with over 1000 dives, she is a well-published travel and environmental journalist and award-winning photographer. She is the author of several children’s books and educational books, and the creative director of countless educational and awareness initiatives. Her other major success is her work as a campaigner, which includes her Get Hooked on Conservation Ban Drumlines campaign, and her Panda Award winning Rethink the shark campaign.
As a social entrepreneur, Lesley established Shark Warrior Adventures, a responsible tourism business and self-funding initiative of the AfriOceans, which aims to reconnect people to Nature. Lesley leads underwater photography dive expeditions worldwide, photographic wildlife tours, and her popular Wildlife Conservation Photojournalism Internship program. In 2016, Shark Warrior Adventures opened a Shark Warrior Adventures Centre, a beach front watersports adventure centre, which offers adventures above and below the waves in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lesley has earned a respected reputation for her efforts in the conservation and protection of South Africa’s ocean wildlife. She is an important role player in ocean and shark conservation and her efforts are recognized worldwide. Her accolades include being an inductee of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, and a Fellow of The Explorers Club, among others.
Lesley’s Professional Positions
- AfriOceans Conservation Alliance: Purpose Founder (2003), Chief Executive Officer & Principal Photographer
- Blue Pulse Pictures: Director, Producer & Stills Photographer (1996 to date)
- Shark Warrior Adventures: Social Entrepreneur (2010 to date)
- Shark Warrior Adventure Centre: Co-founder and Partner (2016 to date)