Matt’s still wild about crocs
MATT Wright grew up watching Crocodile Dundee, Alby Mangels and the Leyland Brothers so it's little wonder his own TV show is a mix of all three with a big dash of the "Matt factor".
Raised in the wilds of Papua New Guinea and the Australian outback, the host of the Nat Geo Wild series Outback Wrangler has been referred to as Australia's answer to Bear Grylls.
Matt regularly wrestles crocodiles, wild boar and snakes in his job as a wildlife relocator in the Northern Territory.
The chopper pilot and animal expert said he became comfortable with wildlife, including deadly snakes and sharks, at a young age.
Although he's not really a fan of spiders.
"Actually I had a guest in the chopper the other day and a big spider scared the shit out of her - and me," Matt told APN.
"We were 1000ft up and I thought she was going to jump out. It was big. I don't know what sort it was - it was as big as my hand."
In the backyard, Matt said he has "two pigs skulking around outside digging up my lawn and a 17ft croc that I should throw the pigs to".
And while Matt loves a cranky croc, he also has a soft spot for orang-utans and tigers.
"Seeing them in Indonesia and Borneo, the orang-utans are such a helpless animal and we're just decimating their land for palm oil plantations ... they just look so sad."
As a conservationist, Matt brings unique practical skills, a perspective based on hands-on experience and a genuine compassion to his day-to-day adventures from his home base in Darwin.
He works closely with scientists, wildlife management authorities, indigenous elders (traditional landowners) and cattle station owners to ensure a win-win situation for both the animals as well as the humans that need his help.
He'd love to do more work with animals overseas and "try to slow down a bit", but at the moment his days are busy with filming and running his business which includes relocating wildlife (mainly crocodiles) and conducting scenic helicopter tours around The Kimberley, Darwin and Cape York.
But Matt says it's been a long road to stardom and he certainly doesn't take his new-found fame for granted.
"I worked my arse off for so many years ... I didn't set out to be a TV star but I appreciate it."
Outback Wrangler season two premieres on The National Geographic Channel on Tuesday at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW.