Joachim Böhme, the founder of JBL, was first gripped by expedition fever 53 years ago. It was 1963, the year J. F. Kennedy was murdered, Konrad Adenauer was Chancellor and the Porsche 911 was introduced for the first time.
Together with his aquarist friend Friedewald Etzkorn, Joachim Böhme radically modified a Volkswagen Beetle and drove from Mannheim to the West African Mauritania which was only a stone’s throw of 5000 km away. The back seats were removed to make space for 120 l petrol and 80 l water, the seats were declined so that they could sleep in the car instead of in a tent and, with the permission of the Mauritanian government, they had a firearm with 60 shots so that they could hunt their own food. This was what they had on their first continent-spanning expedition. Nowadays GPS data receivers and charger units for the various electronic aids are the most important devices and indispensable items.
The two passionate aquarium and terrarium enthusiasts were primarily in search of viviparous tooth-carps in North West Africa, but were also thrilled to see crawling animals crossing their path! They even set out at night with torches to search (successfully) for reflecting chameleons. They even found what they thought was a poisonous snake, but it later turned out to be a non-poisonous adder species.
There is one incident Friedwald Etzkorn will never forget: when a nice spiny-tailed agama, about 35 cm long, crossed Joachim Böhme’s way. He followed the animal to a pile of stones where it was hiding. Joachim could be patient and he removed the pile stone by stone until he was able to catch and examine the animal.
This year it will be the 12th JBL Expedice 2016 Venezuela with 50 team members. 53 years later the JBL scientists and aquarium and terrarium enthusiasts still have such an interest in the natural habitats of the animals they keep that they set off every year to observe, search and learn. Roland Böhme, son of the company founder Joachim Böhme, has continued this company tradition with dedication and passion. In 2018 we will set out to four destinations in the Indian Ocean and in 2019 to Japan and the Ryukyu islands. Anyone who is interested in nature can apply for a place on the JBL homepage from the middle of 2017 under Expedice .