By Nina Wu
Let's hear it for Honolulu Zoo Society educators Stephanie Arne and Charles Lee, who are both finalists in a video contest to become the next "Wild Guide" for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The winner gets $10,000 and hosts the award-winning wildlife TV show's new webisode series, premiering this fall on YouTube.
Lee and Arne are among 12 semi-finalists whittled down from 200 entrants. The public can vote for the top three finalists until May 23 at www.wildkingdom.com/nextwildguide.
In his video, Lee — animal lover, adventurer and educator — says "My lifelong goal is to help wildlife and help people around the world appreciate them and their natural habitats."
Action speaks louder than words, according to Lee. He leaps along Oahu's rocky shoreline, tags an iguana, catches a mongoose, rescues a sea turtle with a hook in its mouth and teaches the public about how Hawaiian monk seals need to be given space to sunbathe on the shoreline.
Arne is also full of action. She kayaks, jumps into the ocean from a boat, climbs along the shoreline and introduces us to ring-tailed lemurs and how they groom one another. She takes us to the Oahu rainforest to look for Jackson chameleons — she's a great educator, showing us how their eyes can move independently and how they communicate through color.
Looks like they have some stiff competition from around the nation. Good luck to both of them!