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Meet the next Bear Grylls

REMEMBER this face.

Not just because it's good looking or you might see it on the Sunshine Coast, but because it's about to become a regular fixture in up to 90 million homes around the world.

Coast-based bush pilot and wildlife conservationist Matt Wright is the star of National Geographic's new series Outback Wrangler, debuting on the Nat Geo Wild channel here in Australia on October 4.

Comparisons have already been drawn between Wright and the late Steve Irwin and British survival expert Bear Grylls.

The series follows the blue-eyed bush pilot on his adventures both in the Australian outback and overseas, catching and relocating wild animals like crocs and snakes to areas where they won't pose a risk to people - and where people won't pose a risk to the animals.

Speaking to the Daily yesterday, before he flies to Canada to tag wild moose and bison, Wright recounted his first croc encounter.

"I must have been 19. There was one close to camp and the camp was going to shoot it," he said.

"I said 'how about I catch it?' and they sort of laughed at me. I went down there and caught it, put it in the back of the ute and moved it. The camp was a bit surprised."

Wright hopes to make his own mark on animal conservation, rather than try to fill anyone's shoes.

He's a natural on screen, although he's still trying to tackle the promotional side of things.

"When I'm in the field that's perfect, I'm in my element," he said. "It's when I come back to Sydney and do a live interview on national TV, that's where it's nerve wracking."

Wright decided he wanted to settle - if owning a house while travelling the world working with wild animals is what one would call settling - on the Sunshine Coast after completing his helicopter pilot's licence at Sunshine Coast Airport.

"I loved the Sunny Coast and I said 'that's where I'll call home'.

"I got back there 10 years later (laughs) and bought a place," he said.


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