By AAP, 9news.com.au
His day job consists of catching rogue saltwater crocodiles and mustering cattle from his helicopter in the Australian outback, but Matt Wright isn’t the next Steve Irwin, Bear Grylls or Crocodile Dundee for that matter.
“You get all those comparisons, and especially with Steve it’s an honour,” Mr Wright told AAP.
“It’s big boots to fill but I’m Matt Wright. I want to make my own mark.”
The 37-year-old is the star of National Geographic’s hit TV series Outback Wrangler, an environmental adventure show that’s hugely popular in the United States and poised to be sold globally across 65 countries.
Last month, Mr Wright was in the US for Tourism Australia’s annual G’day USA event, spruiking his homeland alongside Hollywood actor Chris Hemsworth.
The series follows the gutsy conservationist as he relocates Northern Territory crocs to areas where man and beast won’t harm one another.
It’s currently nesting season, and Mr Wright has been braving Top End swamps in a small dinghy to plunder eggs from protective mothers, armed with nothing more than a pole.
Mr Wright’s crew collects about 40,000 eggs, which are sold to farms where the reptiles are raised for meat or skins.
He has been criticised for this, but it means farmers now protect the animals that nest on their property because they get a cut of the profits.
The croc population has rebounded from the brink of extinction since they were protected in the late 1970s, and numbers have now risen up to 140,000 in the NT.
“You’ve got more crocs in the Territory than you do people,” Mr Wright said.
He has built a giant moat in the shape of Australia around his NT property with plans to turn his backyard into a resort where visitors can coexist with the predators.
It’ll house his ‘pet’ Tripod, an 80-year-old three-legged saltie that is 800kg and 17 foot long.
“Tripod will go into Tasmania, that’ll be the day spa,” Mr Wright said.
“I wouldn’t go bringing him inside for cuddles, but he’s tame enough to eat a pig leg.”
Lassoing a croc’s jaws together and dragging it from the water is all in a day’s work, but Mr Wright admits he’s had some close calls.
“Sometimes we end up in the water with them, trip over them or ended up with crocs on top of us,” he said.
“But I’ve still got both legs, both arms and hands.”
Matt Wright is exclusively managed by The Fordham Company.