Paul 'Mungo' Mungeam on the hunt for giant snakes in the Amazon.
Paul 'Mungo' Mungeam on the hunt for giant snakes in the Amazon. Supplied

Bear Grylls' cameraman separates myths from monsters

YOU have to be ready for anything when you're working with Bear Grylls.  

Paul "Mungo" Mungeam has spent more than a decade with a camera on his shoulder as he traversed mountainsides or dangled from helicopters to get the best shot of the survival expert for his various TV shows.   

Now Paul is stepping in front of the camera for his own show for Animal Planet's Monster Week, Expedition Mungo.   

"I've been courted with the idea of starring in front of the camera quite a few times over the years," he tells The Guide.

"I quite enjoy it but not in a fame-hungry way. I like the fact that I can share my opinion. Often I'm behind the camera thinking something completely different (to the presenter)."  

In Expedition Mungo, Paul and his "extreme environment crew" travel to some of the most remote places on Earth to explore the myths and legends he's heard about during his 20 years of travelling the world.  

Paul 'Mungo' Mungeam holds a camera on a boat in the forest in a scene from Expedition Mungo.
Paul 'Mungo' Mungeam holds a camera on a boat in the forest in a scene from Expedition Mungo. Supplied

From a 45m-long super snake in Peru's Amazon rainforest to a Bigfoot-like creature living in the foothills of the Andes in Argentina and a merciless serpent - the Genali - which prowls the murky waterways of Borneo, Paul is out to separate fact from fiction when it comes to these mythical monsters.  

"It's a whodunit, thriller-type thing," he says.  

"As the story unfolded we had to weave and duck with it as it happened.  

"Everybody laughs at it but if we do find that one day there is a yeti-type race that still lives in these remote corners then it will challenge our humanity. I've always retained a childlike enthusiasm - some could call me naive and that's fair enough but I like the idea of 'what if this existed?'. It would be amazing."  

Going the extra mile to meet those who claim to have seen these creatures unearthed some interesting results that should pique the interest of even the most cynical of viewers.  

"In Argentina we meet a guy who had an encounter with a yeti-like creature," Paul says.  

"He was a very normal man who's got three kids and a normal house. He was fishing and had this encounter one morning and he went mute for two weeks.  

"Then he lost his job and got outed by his community. If he was just making this story up then surely he would just raise up his hand and say, 'I was making all this up. Can I have my job back now?' We were the first TV interview he'd ever given."  

Liberia proved to be the most challenging location for the crew.  

"Liberia had a civil war for 14 years and then after had the Ebola crisis," he says.  

"It's one of the more remote places I've ever been. To get to this fishing camp we flew into the country, took small planes, 4x4s, motorbikes, canoes and then hiked on foot to get where we needed to go. We were told if you get seriously injured there's no real way of getting you out quickly. You'll have to do the same thing on the way back."

While Paul knew the chances of discovering a real-life monster were rare, he did get to the bottom of one myth.   

"At least one of the stories we actually solve," he says.

"It was quite amazing.It shocked me more than anyone else. It was a massive relief."  

Expedition Mungo premieres on Animal Planet on Monday, October 30 at 8.30pm Qld, 9.30pm NSW.

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