Forrest Galante was born 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 safaris 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 his family’s 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. 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.
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.
Galante uses his unique skill set to perform tasks and tracking of wildlife that no one else on earth has been able to accomplish, which includes the rediscovery of eight species previously lost to science. In doing so, Galante is rewriting natural history and has become the Charles Darwin of the 21st Century.
In 2020, Galante hosted an investigative exposé named Wet Markets Exposed on Vice TV. In the series, Galante explores how the mistreatment and illegal selling and consumption of animals allowed for the conception and spread of the COVID-19 virus.
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 Discovery Channel, on-camera expert interviews, and production of his own wildlife and natural history shows.