Gary Golding, Tarzan of Los Angeles

The Discovery Channel reality show, Naked and Afraid tests the limits of man’s survival instincts. Gary Golding was one of the most memorable survival experts who stretched these limits to the fullest. 

Gary appeared on the American reality television show in 2018 and again in 2021 for the seventh season. But, despite being one of the most daring contestants the show has ever had, Golding did not make it to the end of season 7, dropping out on the 40th day.

If you were shocked by Gary’s sudden departure, you are not alone; fans of the show wondered what had happened to the ‘Tarzan of Los Angeles.’

So, what happened to Gary on Naked and Afraid? Read on for all the deets!

Meet Gary From Naked and Afraid

Gary Golding was born in Australia and is assumed to be 59 years old at the time of writing. According to his website, he works as an animal rescuer, wilderness guide, and nature and environment teacher. 

Not much is known about Gary’s personal life, although there have been speculations that he is married with two daughters by a picture he once posted on Instagram.

In the past, Gary has mentioned that he was brought up in a strict household, and by age seven, he’d do his laundry. Perhaps this is where he got his strong survival skills from. 

The American reality television show survivalist is better known for his “Kill Mankind” product line that consists of merchandise, including T-shirts, caps, and other paraphernalia. 

Why Did Gary Golding Tap Out?

After participating in the Naked and Afraid challenge on Discovery Channel in 2018, Gary returned to the show in 2021 for season 7.

To the surprise of many a fan, the self-proclaimed Tarzan of Los Angeles didn’t stay on the show long enough, leaving on day 40. Contestants in the series are required to survive in the wild for an unprecedented 60 day-challenge in jungles and deserts.

So, what made the survival expert leave the American reality television show 20 days earlier than the expected challenge period?

Fans have speculated that Golding must have fallen seriously sick after all the wild (and potentially dangerous) food he had been eating while on the show.

If you remember well, there was a time Gary gorged out an alligator’s eyeballs and happily ate them. Yuck! That is another level of the most disgusting things Gary has done.

Gary tapped out of Naked and Afraid, possibly because he became ill and could no longer continue filming. Obviously, this is not something Discovery Channel would be happy to reveal, given that the show thrives on this kind of drama.

Fans are split down the middle, with some feeling bad for Gary and others saying the bloke deserves to be sick; what did he expect after eating wild animals and even vomiting on the show?

One Discovery Channel fan said on Twitter, “My money is on Gary being infected by some parasites from that gator he ate. Another one add, ”Sorry to see Gary go but he did this to himself,” while another one added “Of course Gary is sick! What did he expect after eating every part of an alligator without considering the possibility of parasites?”

As another user said, eating stuff just to be disgusting is stupid. How did Gary expect to survive the popular American reality television challenge when he went about eating anything and everything.

The way we know Gary and his mad survival skills, he is not one to quit easily. So, the fact that he departed the show midway before the challenge period was over clearly indicates that something serious happened to him.

Anything from parasites, a virus, pneumonia, or poisoning from the raw wild meat he had eaten could have caused the survival expert to call it quits just a few days short of completing the unprecedented 60-day challenge.

Gary Golding Illness 

Eating raw wild meat is not the only thing that afflicted Gary on Naked and Afraid. In the course of the 40 days that he was on the show, his body was covered in mosquito bites. He also came down with an infection on his back, which he thought was a botfly. This was the first time we really saw Gary defeated and under the weather. 

Botflies are parasites that mosquitoes inject into the skin. The larvae grow under the skin, feed on the host’s blood, and then wiggle out from under the skin and fly away when ready. A botfly infection can be extremely painful.

It turned out that the infection was not a botfly. But, after things became too serious, a medic still had to cut out the infection Gary was suffering from. Were it not cut out, the contestant would have gotten gangrene.

Aside from eating raw alligator meat and attempting to kill a wild boar, Gary has also attempted to eat maggots and even tarantulas, including the legs and all the hairy parts.

Watching Golding on Discovery Channel do all this to survive in the wild is quite queasy. But, you must admit that his stunts and antiques were the most authentic of the season.

Gary Golding Investigated After Eating Dead Baby Dolphin

In a Naked and Afraid episode named “Alone: Gary of the Jungle,” Gary is left to navigate the jungles of Belize on his own for the unprecedented 60-day challenge. He does befriend a turtle that he names Timmy, but the weirdest thing is that Golding keeps wondering whether he should eat the turtle or keep him as a pet.

Later after that incident, Gary posted a video in January 2020 showing himself eating a deceased baby dolphin in Laguna Beach, Southern California.

In the bizarre video, in which he slices the dolphin that had been washed to the shores, he says he wants to find out if the mammal’s stomach has any plastic or balloon. Gary proclaimed he did not want to “let this thing go to waste.” He then went on to grill parts of the dolphin, including the heart. 

It turns out that Gary could have violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, according to the Orange County Register at Aliso Beach in Southern California.

Kai Bond, the Laguna Beach Lifeguard Captain, said about the incident, “We are looking into the details. We’re in a Marine Protected Area, and he(Gary) may have violated the law.”

We aren’t sure what happened with that case. Still, Gary later admitted that his actions were unacceptable, saying he had no idea it was illegal and that this was an ”educational opportunity” for all.

Since leaving the Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid challenge prematurely, Gary Golding has continued his work as a nature conservationist, teacher, and tour guide. We wish him the best in his endeavors!

Update: Gary has become a part of the exciting new edition of Naked and Afraid: Last One Standing. This fresh take on the franchise elevates the challenge by having 12 of its most seasoned participants compete against each other in an intense 45-day survival ordeal set in the rugged terrain of South Africa’s Oribi Gorge.