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World’s "Sexiest Veterinarian" Evan Antin Bonded With Crocodiles, Bearcats, and Tarsiers in the Philippines

Antin is the host of a new show on Animal Planet called Evan Goes Wild.
IMAGE Courtesy
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There have been plenty of animal and nature shows on TV over the years, most of which have been presented by hosts with genuine charisma and appeal. But how many have featured an actual veterinarian as host, who not just grinned and made cutesy contact with the furry beasts, but actually knew what they were talking about and had the medical degree to prove it? That’s what Evan Antin of new animal show Evan Goes Wild is setting out to do. 

Evan Goes Wild takes a different approach to the usual shows you see on Animal Planet by having Antin, a licensed veterinarian, as host. Premiering on the cable network on Monday, May 13, the show takes viewers to different parts of the world to spotlight Antin interacting with different wild animals, and, in some cases, even come to their aid.

“There are some other veterinary shows on TV already, but there’s not another show where there’s a veterinarian who travels the world and explores wildlife and takes you with them,” he tells Esquire Philippines. “I take you to these places, you experience them with me, you’re seeing what these incredible countries have to offer in terms of the natural beauty, the people, the culture, and of course, the wildlife and even the domesticated animals. So having that combination is very unique.”

Evan Antin is the host of Animal Planet's Evan Goes Wild

IMAGE: Courtesy Animal Planet

Who is Evan Antin?

Antin has become well-known particularly on social media: he's the most followed veterinarian on Instagram. It might’ve helped that he was named by People Magazine as the world’s “sexiest veterinarian alive” in 2014 and in 2017. The recognition instantly catapulted Antin to celebrity status, even if he had yet to land the TV hosting gig. Antin studied evolutionary and ecological biology at University of Colorado at Boulder and has traveled the world to places like Australia and Tanzania to learn more about animals and the environment.

In this interview, Antin talks about his visits to the Philippines, what he really thinks about the opportunities he has gotten because of his looks, and why people shouldn’t be creeped out by weird and wild animals:

Esquire Philippines: Where are you right now and what’s outside your window?

Evan Antin: Well, I’m just at home right now, sitting on my couch. I got my dog here right next to me.

Great thanks! Do you remember your first-ever pet when you were a kid?

Evan Antin: Sure! My first ever pet was a bunny named Paco. I don’t know where I got that name or what that means but he was a sweet little bunny. My mom said I was sweet and gentle with him and actually, I can hardly remember but I had him when I was about two until I was five, I think. We also had dogs, cats, reptiles and all that other stuff too. But Paco was my first pet.

Evan Antin travels the world interacting and helping wild and domesticated animals, like this sloth

IMAGE: Courtesy Animal Planet

In a previous interview, you mentioned that you’ve interacted with crocodiles here in the Philippines. How many times have you been here? What are your favorite places and what other animals have you interacted with here?

Evan Antin: I’ve been there three times—once in 2016 and twice in 2018 (once was for the show). I was working with crocodiles in Northern Luzon. There’s a population of Philippine crocodiles there, which is the most endangered crocodile in the world. That was super special for me. Crocodiles are one of my favorites, if not favorite animals in the world. And to be able to interact with one in their natural habitat, in the Sierra Madre (mountains), was seriously epic. It is so special to me and that was such a beautiful part of the world.

Palawan is also incredible! Palawan is the last frontier. I mean, it’s so wild. The jungle and wildlife are so intense. There are cobras there; I got to work with binturongs (bearcats) and a huge water monitor in the Underground River. I’ve also gone up north in Taytay and El Nido to do some diving—that’s pretty hard to beat.

One more place is Bohol where I saw tarsiers—a really small primate. When I travel, I like to do ecotourism kind of stuff. I’ve been to Manila but most of my travels in the Philippines, I go to remote areas in the jungle, in the wild.

Lots of people make a big deal about your looks, most famously when People Magazine put you on its sexiest list. Do you sometimes feel like you get more opportunities because of your looks?

Evan Antin: Yeah, I’ll be honest, being in People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive and having some viral moments online, it’s been in my favorites. What I mean by that is that I’ve used it to my advantage. If that’s how I get recognized and notice initially, but then it gives me an opportunity to talk about veterinary medicine and wildlife conservation, and things I’m passionate about that I think are important beyond looks, I’ll take it. It’s been a positive thing for me and my career and so, I’m lucky that things are working out and it’s helped me with my platform and what I do now.

Evan Antin first gained attention after People Magazine named him Sexiest Veterinarian Alive in 2014 and then again in 2017

IMAGE: Courtesy Animal Planet

You’ve been talking about your dream of having your own TV show for years. What was it like when it finally came true? After this, what’s next for you?

Evan Antin: As you can imagine, it was surreal to find out it was happening. This has been a dream of mine for 13 years. (Back then) ­I had a camcorder, tripod and lived in the car and travelled the outback by myself for three weeks in Australia because I wanted to film my little wild life show and have a catalogue of that which I can use in the future. I’ve been doing educational videos ever since so this has been a very long-term goal of mine—I’ve had this vision for my entire adult life.

And when it really became real, it was this version of this show I always pictured—you know traveling around the world, working with animals around the world and showcasing my passion in raising awareness for wildlife conservation and vet medicine, it was like my biggest dream come true.

Moving forward, I’d love for it to have a season 2. I’d love to keep doing this. But here’s the thing, I will always travel the world and work with wildlife whether or not I have a camera crew with me but if I can have that audience with me to share this adventure, raise awareness, share my passion and get people excited about animals, that’s something I will want to continue towards whether or not it’s with this show or not. But hopefully, I hope it’s with this show.

If you were to be a wild animal, what animal would you be?

Evan Antin: I think it would be pretty incredible to be a bird of prey because they just ride the air currents, you know? They just get up in the sky, not really flapping their wings, they’re just cruising. It’s just like flying, like how superheroes fly so just having that ability to fly and see what the world below you looks, it’s pretty unreal. Very few animals get that experience so I think it would be great to be a huge eagle or falcon or something.

Evan Antin says he enjoyed his visits to the Philippines, particularly his interactions with the endangered Philippine crocodiles

IMAGE: Courtesy Animal Planet

I love animals, too. I have a couple of dogs myself. But I’m a bit afraid of some of the more exotic or wild animals. When you were younger, were you never scared of wild or weird animals?

Evan Antin: No, for me I’m excited about it. If it’s an animal I’m not comfortable with or haven’t worked with, you know I’m excited to get to know it and get to learn more about it. But there’s not one animal that I have a fear of or whatever.

For anyone who’s scared of a certain animal, in some cases, it’s an irrational fear and it’s not because they’ve had a bad experience. Like a lot of people are afraid of rats, snakes, spiders—not because they have been bitten by one or attacked by one—but just because they are creeped out by them. My best advice is to take a leap of faith. Try to find somebody or a place where there’s an animal like this so you can have more exposure to it. You’ll learn that snakes are really nothing to be afraid of. The truth is, they’re more afraid of you than you are afraid of them. There are venomous snakes out there that are dangerous, but they don’t attack people. I mean the same goes with sharks. A lot of people don’t go into the ocean because of sharks. But, 6 people every year around the world die from shark attacks. It happens but more people die from being bit by a human in New York City every year than around the world are killed by sharks, you know what I mean?

So, if you have a fear like that, my advice is to do a little research. Look into it a little bit and maybe you could conquer that fear with some facts and rationality. I know it’s not easy, but I’ve changed a lot of people’s opinions and helped them conquer fears of snakes and spiders over the years just by showing them that “Look! Look at this snake! It’s really not that bad.”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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