October 28, 2011 / 9:15 AM / in 6 years

TV explorer aims to spark interest in discovery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Richard Wiese was born to explore.

Discovering his passion early in life climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania at age 11 with his father, he has since climbed the same mountain several times and visited every other continent on the globe.

He currently hosts “Born to Explore,” which premiered in September on U.S. network ABC, a program to inspire youth and adults and spark an interest in discovery and a love of outdoors.

A self-financed venture, the show focuses on local cultures, people and places across the globe, as well as the planet itself.

“I feel strongly there is magic in this world,” Wiese, 52, said, “new ideas and new wonderments all the time.”

Wiese, the youngest man to become president of The Explorers Club in New York, has 26 episodes for the series to be aired over the year.

They include traveling to Belize to meet the scientists and communities determined to protect the manatee, and a sojourn to the mountains and communities in the far reaches of Canada where black bears and polar bears co-exist.

Closer to home, Wiese searches for the northernmost alligator in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, now spotted close to the Virginia border.

He discovers why these reptiles are moving far from their traditional base and the impact on the families who live near.

In Botswana, Wiese meets three orphaned elephant “teenagers” and learns why there is conflict between the local tribes who farm the land and the elephants that destroy their crops.

Along the way, Wiese hopes the viewer takes away the same sense of wonderment about the world that he has.

“There are still things out there waiting to be discovered,” he said.

He added that viewers will see the interaction of people, the planet and nature and the really wonderful things that are still going on.

Wiese said he’s conservative when it comes to risk, being less gung-ho than when he was younger. But he also perceives more danger from people texting as they drive than being around a wild animal which can be more predictable.

Wiese admits he has a led a lucky life since birth, beginning with two caring parents, a university education and good economic times.

“If I had a magic wand, I’d be doing what I am doing but with more time with my children.”

Wiese, his 41-year-old safari-guide wife Nicci, daughter, aged 3-1/2 and their 18-month-old twin boys, live in Weston, Connecticut.

His unfulfilled dreams and aspirations stem from raising his young children successfully, wanting to provide them the same financially secure upbringing he enjoyed, and to show the world to them, as his father showed him.

From his travels Wiese said he has gained an increase in admiration for mothers around the world and appreciation for what he has at home.

“In Ethiopia, women drag water an hour each way and there is a lack of medical care,” Wiese said. “My kids, Americans in general are lucky. There is a lot of suffering in this world.”

Reporting by Nick Olivari; editing by Patricia Reaney

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