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Living in the wild takes toll on TV's "Survivorman"
Thu Nov 6, 2008 2:28pm EST
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By Belinda Goldsmith
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Les Stroud, better known as TV adventurer "Survivorman," was chased by a jaguar, nearly dropped dead due to heatstroke and spent a sleepless night among lions. But now, he's tired of it all and ending his popular series about living in the wild.
Stroud is the Canadian host of the TV show "Survivorman" on the Science Channel in which he spends a week alone in the wild with little or no food and water or equipment, filming himself as he battles to survive in harsh environments.
But Stroud, 47, said he is filming his final adventure in the wild in Papua New Guinea this month which would wrap up his third and last series as Survivorman, although he expected the nickname would stick with him as he moved onto other projects.
"It takes a lot out of me as I really do what I do for real, with no camera crew, no nights in hotels like others do, and it takes a toll on my body," Stroud told Reuters.
"You can only do seven days surviving without food a certain number of times a year. I'm pleased with what I have done, I've been copied around the world, but 25 times I've not eaten anything for a week while sleeping on rocks. I need to move on."
Stroud, who has just released a book called "Survive! - Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive!," does not expect his new projects to be without risk.
He has spent more than 20 years as an outdoor adventurer and instructor in survival, teaching skills such as white water paddling, sea kayaking, hiking, and dog sledding.
"It's just what I do," he said, describing a possible new TV series in which he would follow in the footsteps of famous explorers.
Stroud was not always Survivorman, however. Back in the early 1980s, he filmed rock videos and became a producer of a Canadian music video channel.
He said it was the combination of filmmaking and outdoor experience that gave him the idea in 2000 of taking a few small cameras into the wilderness of Northern Ontario in Canada and spending a week alone without water, food, or equipment.
From this, he made two one-hour pilots for what eventually became the "Survivorman" series where he is dropped off in the wild, with a rescue crew keeping about 5 to 50 kms (3.1 to 31 miles) from him.
"I have not had to be rescued yet but there was one situation in Labrador where we had bad weather and we all had to be shipped out to safety," said Stroud.
"I did get chased out of the jungle by a jaguar once and I had one situation in the Kalahari Desert where it came close to calling in my rescue crew as I got close to having heat stroke. It was 61 degrees Celsius. (142 degrees Fahrenheit)
"But probably my most scared was being in lion territory in Africa. That was a scary place to be."
Is he scared of much? Continued...
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