We wanted to get to know explorers, scientists and conservationists from around the world a little better – so we launched our “Explorer Log Questionnaire”.

The concept is simple, the idea straightforward.

Every month, explorers from around the world will be answering between 15 and 20 questions on the Legends of the Wild Log, so that we, and you, can better understand who they are, what they study, what inspired them to be who they are today, and more!

Today, Ray Smith, founder of Legends of the Wild answers the first “Explorer Log Questionnaire”.

The former logger, banker and now wildlife conservation explorer reflects on small town living, the importance of wildlife research funding and finding himself face to face with a great white shark.

  1. What is your name: Ray Smith
  2. Where are you from: A small town on the shores of Lake Ontario.
  3. What do you love most about your hometown: It was small and it was home.
  4. Where do you live now: A small town on the Atlantic Ocean.
  5. What is your field of research / activity: Organizing tourism expeditions to support wildlife conservation.
  6. What led you to what your current activity / what inspired you: Meeting countless, fascinating scientists whose research projects, aimed at wildlife conservation, were starved for funding.
  7. Tell us about your most unforgettable moment in the field: Coming face to face to with a great white shark in False Bay, South Africa and recognizing that its only emotion for me was simple curiosity.
  8. What is your greatest pride: My kids.
  9. What is your greatest regret: Absolutely nothing.
  10. What is your greatest fear: That we are unable to stem the rising tide of apathy regarding the accelerated loss of wildlife species of the planet.
  11. What would you like to be remembered for: Trying.
  12. What individual has inspired you most: Jacques Cousteau
  13. What animal do you most revere: All of them, from the smallest to the largest.
  14. What animal do you most fear: Bullet ants!
  15. Where do you see yourself and your research efforts / activity in the next 10 years: Broadening extensively the portfolio of wildlife research projects that we support, at Legends of the Wild, across the planet.
  16. When did you realize that this was what you wanted to do: Upon my first visit to Amazonia.
  17. If you had one message to give to readers and future generations out there it would be…If we can’t find a better way to distribute tourism revenues to wildlife and wildland conservation efforts, we will lose our animals forever, at an even faster rate. I would tell everyone to explore our wildlands with scientists and support the funding of their conservation research.


As a child he was fascinated by wildlife – Siberian tigers, Congolese gorillas, orcas and great whites… majestic and powerful legends of the wild.


As an adult his passions remained the same, but were temporarily sidetracked by his work in the forests of western British Columbia, followed by a career in New York. It wasn’t until a face to face encounter with a great white shark in False Bay, South Africa that Ray Smith decided to set off to experience first hand some of the planet’s most untouched wilderness settings and follow his passion to protect wildlife species around the world.

So was born “Legends of the Wild” – a unique conservation expedition company, whose aim is to arrange unique life experiences through encounters with legendary wild animals in the most remote locales on the planet. Legends of the Wild voyages start where others turn back, taking clients deep into the rainforests of Panama or Amazonia or to the slopes of the Himalayas to witness and participate in vital research projects aimed at wildlife conservation.

Innovative and disruptive, Legends of the Wild is a pioneer in its field of exploration travel, with Ray and his team having spent years working with local scientists, indigenous peoples and logistics experts, to compose extreme wildlife adventures that are unique, respectful of the environment, and that fund critical wildlife scientific research projects.

In the words of Legends of the Wild founder, Ray Smith :

“We organize and arrange unique life experiences through encounters with legendary wild animals in the most remote locales on the planet. Our voyages start where others turn back.

We do this because we are excited by the notion of leaving the beaten path and heading into the wild. We do this because we still share a child’s excitement over the prospect of an encounter with a paramount predator in the unfamiliar murkiness of its natural environment, so far from the cocoon of our everyday lives. We do this because we have an insatiable curiosity and boundless respect for these legends of the wild.”