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About Forrest Galante
Forrest Galante was born on March 31st, 1988 in California, but within the first few months of his life moved to Harare, Zimbabwe. He grew up on a productive farm that cultivated luxury alstroemeria flowers, various fruits and was home to a myriad of livestock and wild African animals. As a child, Galante’s favorite pastimes included catching snakes, fishing in the dam, breeding guinea pigs and playing rugby. When he wasn’t enjoying life on the farm, his mother would take him and his sister on safari in the African bush. As one of Africa’s first female safari guides and bush pilots, Galante’s mother took her children to explore some of the most remote parts of Africa, collecting artifacts and observing wildlife. Galante was enthralled by all wildlife and knew he would one day pursue a career with animals. At age 14, Galante was the youngest person to ever lead an international canoe safari down the Zambezi River.
In 2001, Galante’s world was turned upside down when terrible political turmoil in Zimbabwe caused their farm to be seized. They were forcefully evicted from their home in the middle of the night and fled the country of Zimbabwe. With only a suitcase each and a couple hundred dollars, Galante and his family returned to California to the small town of Cayucos, and later Santa Barbara.
Galante turned to free diving and spearfishing as a way to adjust to his new life in California. Over time and as his skills developed, Galante made a name for himself in the underwater community. He traveled to various countries worldwide to participate in spearfishing events and today holds six pole spear world records. Along the way, Galante also got certified as a SCUBA dive master, a 100-ton ship captain, and an EMT. In 2009, he graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in biology; special emphasis in marine biology and herpetology.
The year after his college graduation, Galante took a year to travel the world. He visited 46 of the most remote places on earth to work with and photograph rare wildlife. Along his journey, he caught crocodiles, dove with white sharks, photographed venomous snakes, outsmarted a startled hippo, dodged a cyclone, and had countless other adventures—but also was hospitalized multiple times.
Upon returning to California, Galante pursued a career in high-risk wildlife biology fieldwork, always focusing on animals on the brink of extinction. In 2014, he participated in Discovery’s hit show, Naked and Afraid and scored one of the highest PSRs (primate survival rating) ever on the show. Galante’s hands-on approach to wildlife, passion for nature and extraordinary background eventually led to the development of his own television show, Extinct or Alive, on Animal Planet. The show follows Galante as he travels the globe searching for animals he believes have wrongfully been deemed extinct.
Since 2018, Galante has captured evidence of the existence of two animals once believed to be extinct animals. In his first discovery, Forrest found trail footage of a Zanzibar leopard and in 2019 he discovered a female Fernandina Island tortoise, a species that hadn’t been seen for over 100 years. To learn more about his discoveries, read here.
Galante continues to conduct field expeditions and surveys, working not just with believed-extinct animals but also with a wide range of other wildlife. His mission is to inspire and educate people about animals and adventure through the media, including hosting programs on Animal Planet, on-camera expert interviews, and production of his own wildlife and natural history shows. He also communicates his mission through his active social media presence, with frequent posts to his 72 thousand Instagram followers.
Galante spends several months every year fulfilling one of his other great passions, coaching youth rugby. He was a competitive rugby player during his school and collegiate days until a severe back injury in Thailand slowed his playing career. As the head coach of the Santa Barbara Stingrays, a volunteer youth rugby program developed from scratch, he is able to help kids enjoy this amazing sport that builds strong character, friendship, and positive work ethic. Plus, the kids love the fact that their coach has been naked on TV!