Stephanie Arne: Next Wild Guide?

Jun 27, 2013

In 2005, South Dakota State University senior Stephanie Arne was about to graduate with a degree in human development. Her plan had been to go on to get her master's degree and become a counselor. But in her heart was a passion to work with wildlife. A trip to West Africa with Zeno Wicks, a now retired professor of plant science; Sally Gillman, then an assistant professor in human development and family studies; other faculty and about 15 fellow SDSU students convinced Arne to go with her heart. That life now includes the possibility of becoming the next Wild Guide for a new, online version of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, which premiered Jan. 6, 1963. She was notified May 29 that she is one of three finalists. The show was a fixture for Sunday TV viewing in its early years and ran until 1988, with a revival in 2002 that still runs on the cable channel Animal Planet. Earlier this year, Mutual of Omaha created an online competition to select a host for the Web series. Candidates sent in two-minute audition videos to apply for the job. The winner, who will receive $10,000 in addition to the hosting position, will be announced July 15. Arne brings with her a green iguana, a tortoise, tarantula, boa constrictor and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

Dakota Midday Host Karl Gehrke Holding Julius Squeezers, a Boa Constrictor with Stephanie Arne

Dakota Midday host Karl Gehrke and Stephanie Arne with Wiki, the Iguana