Dominic Monaghan has been well-prepared for his latest TV venture, "Wild Things," for his entire life.

Besides an innate fascination with all things in nature, Monaghan's previous roles in the movie trilogy "Lord Of The Rings" and the TV show "Lost" have exposed him to natural environments he may not have experienced otherwise. To put it simply, Monaghan is an outdoorsman, and is absolutely bonkers for nature.

"Wild Things" follows Monaghan as he travels around the globe searching for nature's strangest and most beautiful creatures. Some are terrifying (cobras, tarantulas, water snakes), but all are fascinating, and Monaghan shows immense respect for the animals he encounters, and bears a level of professionalism and awe that we've seen before, embodied in the late Steve Irwin.

Huffpost TV chatted with Monaghan over the phone from Los Angeles -- he explained to us why he's so fascinated by nature, how it all began, and how he's trying to encourage people to get out and travel more often.

I watched the premiere episode with the Vietnamese Giant Water Bug. Gross.
Why, thank you! [Laughs]

Have these sorts of things been a lifelong interest for you - bugs, nature, the whole bit?
The natural world, certainly. I can't remember a time when I haven't been fascinated by nature. I'm a pretty impatient person, and when I was a kid, I wanted the natural world to be de-mystified a little bit. I realized that you could just go into your garden and get a close look at insects whenever you wanted. That's why the insect thing came into play, but I'm deeply interested in birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians -- you name it.

Do you have any particular childhood memory of your love for nature?
I recall my parents taking our family to Italy when I was six or seven years old, and my brother and I catching lizards. It's not that easy, because lizards are extremely fast. I remember having five or six of them in the bucket. I was curious and interested ... and fearless. The natural world has given me some amazing gifts over the years: I've played a lot of characters based on animals, I've spent a lot of my free time traveling to beautiful places all over the world, and I've witnessed natural phenomena in those places. This show is my way of introducing people to the things that I've gained a lot of satisfaction from.

You've spent a lot of time in New Zealand [filming "Lord Of The Rings"], which is home to some of the world's most beautiful things. What was your experience like there?
I'm hoping to get back there for Season 2 of "Wild Things," but apparently the biggest insect in the world lives there -- the giant weta, a cave-dwelling cricket. When we were shooting "LOTR," they would bring in these giant bags of leaves to the studio and dump them out in order to make it look like we were outdoors. Peter Jackson is quite scared of wetas, so I would go right up to them and grab them, to put them back outside and away from him. [Laughs] I saw a lot of cool things there, like the glo-worms in the caves, and I saw whales, dolphins, and so many creatures. New Zealand is a great place to see nature because it's relatively untouched.

Did you receive any particular training for this show?
I keep animals at home: snakes, spiders, praying mantises, centipedes and things like that, so I have a certain amount of hands-on experience with those. I have friends who breed certain types of exotic animals, so I can go hang out with them, and I've spent some time at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. I watch an inordinate amount of nature shows and read a lot of scientific papers. To a certain degree, I'm self-taught. We have a medic with us, at all times too, just to be safe.


At times watching "Wild Things," it felt like a travel show too, not just a show about nature. Would you agree?
Yes, absolutely! Some of our major influences when we made the show were Anthony Bourdain and Steve Irwin, to name two. I made sure we did street food every episode, and I wanted to interact with the locals on the street, so you see quite a bit of that. We included the hustle and bustle of the various cities before we ventured off into the jungle. People who don't necessarily like creepy-crawlies might tune because they like street food, and people who don't necessarily like street food will tune in because they like travel shows. I'm attempting to break some of those myths - that travelling to strange countries is intimidating, scary or not recommended.

It's not that bad going somewhere where you don't speak the language. The world is a friendly place if you walk around with a smile on your face. I hope people will travel a bit more after seeing this show.

"Wild Things" premieres on January 21 on OLN at 9 p.m. EST/PST in Canada, and on BBC America at 10 p.m. EST and 9 p.m. CST in the U.S. on January 22.

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  • "The Biggest Loser"

    Returns Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. EST and moves to regular timeslot on Monday, January 7 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Jillian Michaels! She's back to help whip contestants into shape. Plus, for the first time, kids (ages 13-16) will be on the show along with 15 adult contestants.

  • "Downton Abbey"

    Returns Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Bates was left to rot in jail, Matthew and Mary finally got together and the Dowager Countess was sassy. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Americans! Shirley MacLaine guest stars as Martha, Cora's mother. She's very rich. Season 3 has already aired in the UK and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/26/downton-abbey-season-4-dan-stevens_n_2364574.html">one prominent character is saying goodbye to "Downton Abbey."</a>

  • "The Bachelor"

    Returns Monday, January 7 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Sean Lowe <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Jilted "Bachelorette" contestant Sean returns to TV as "The Bachelor" and seeks to find love.

  • "Deception"

    Monday, January 7 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Meagan Good, Laz Alonso, Tate Donovan and Victor Garber <strong>What's It About</strong>: A wealthy socialite and party girl is found dead of an overdose, but something's fishy about her death. Enter FBI Agent Will Moreno (Alonso), who recruits his former partner Joanna Padget (Good), the deceased's former best friend. Joanna hides her true occupation and infiltrates the family she grew up around to find the truth about her friend's death.

  • "Betty White's Off Their Rockers"

    Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Betty White will entertain a ton of guest stars while introducing the elderly pranksters. Kim Kardashian, the ladies of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Ed Asner and NeNe Leakes are among the names who will appear on the prank show.

  • "Pretty Little Liars"

    Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Toby is on the A Team, Garrett's dead, Aria's dad has some strange connection to Ali, Paige saved the day and Ezra's a dad ... and Alex Mack is his baby mama. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Mona is released from Radley and is back at Rosewood High. Clearly, she'll be working with Toby, who the liars are still in the dark about. It's only a matter of time before Spencer learns the truth ... and starts to lose it. Dr. Sullivan will return, hopefully to prevent any breakdowns. Plus, we'll see more about what the hell Byron was doing with Ali the night she died.

  • "Cougar Town"

    Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. EST on TBS. <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong>Jules and Grayson had a quickie beachfront wedding and rode off into the distance on horseback. <strong>What's Ahead: </strong>For starters, it's on TBS! Everybody's favorite wine-guzzlin' crew will be joined by guest stars Alexndra Wentworth, Shirley Jones, Gillian Vigman, Tippi Herden and more.

  • "Justified"

    Returns Tuesday, January 8 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: In Season 3, Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) prevented carpetbagger/gangster Robert Quarles from establishing a criminal network in Harlan, but a pregnant Winona left the US Marshal and he found out his father shot a good man. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) will no doubt continue to be a thorn in Raylan's side.

  • "Stars In Danger: The High Dive"

    Wednesday January, 9 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: JWoww, Bethany Hamilton, Alexandra Paul, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, David Chokachi, Terrell Owens, Antonio Sabato Jr. <strong>What's It About:</strong> C-list celebrities learn to dive like the pros with the help of Olympian Troy Dumais.

  • "1600 Penn"

    Thursday, January 10 at 9:30 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Josh Gad, Bill Pullman, Jenna Elfman <strong>What's It About</strong>: The Gilchrists are your typical American family ... they just so happen to be the first family of the United States. Gad stars as the hapless son of President Dale Gilchrist (Pullman) and stepson of Emily (Elfman).

  • "Girls"

    Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Jessa bizarrely got married, Shoshanna slept with Ray, Hannah and Adam broke up and Marnie still misses Charlie. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: After months of criticism, Hannah makes a black friend (or more than a friend) -- and it's Donald Glover. Patrick Wilson will also play a love interest for Hannah later in the season and Shiri Appleby joins Season 2 as Adam's new girlfriend, much to Hannah's dismay. Elijah moves in with Hannah -- and starts to question his sexuality. Shoshanna is dealing with her post-sex relationship with Ray. Plus, Rita Wilson will stop by to play Marnie's mom and to help her shape up.

  • "Shameless"

    Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Karen had her and Lip's baby and fled, prompting Lip to move back home and go back to school. Estefania and Marco were on the verge of breaking up and in happier news, Fiona passed her GED. ("Teen Mom's" Amber: Take note.) <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: It's 137 days since we’ve last seen the Gallagher's. Jimmy has moved into the house with them and Fiona uses the family's money in desperation and the others aren't too pleased. Oh and (shocker) Frank's missing.

  • "Enlightened"

    Returns Sunday, January 13 at 9:30 p.m. EST <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Following her very public breakdown, Amy (Laura Dern) returned to work with a positive outlook ... only to start down the path of revenge after being laughed at by her coworkers. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Will Amy return to the path of enlightenment?

  • "House of Lies"

    Returns Sunday, January 13 at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Did they or didn't they? Marty (Don Cheadle) and Jeannie (Kristen Bell) ended the season with a romp in the sheets ... maybe. They've gotten rid of the Rainmaker and stand triumphant. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Galweather Stearn brings in a new CEO who's all about female power. Adam Brody returns to TV with a guest role.

  • "Californication"

    Returns Sunday, January 13 at 10:30 p.m. EST on Showtime. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: After Bates left Karen, Hank sees an opportunity. But when his ex Carrie returns and offers him an anti-depressant-laced drink, Hank loses consciousness just after seeing a vision of Karen, to whom he says, "I love you." <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Hank is penning a rock opera "about love conquering all" with Atticus Fetch (Tim Minchin), a coked up rock star. Maggie Grace has a nine-episode arc as infamous rock groupie Faith, who becomes involved with Hank, and in one episode, Grace's former "Lost" co-star Jorge Garcia will appear as an old contact from Faith's past. Season 6 will also see a guest appearance from Marilyn Manson.

  • "The Carrie Diaries"

    Monday, January 14 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW <strong>Starring:</strong> AnnaSophia Robb, Freema Agyeman, Chloe Bridges, Austin Butler and more. <strong>What's It About:</strong> A prequel to "Sex and the City," the new CW series follows Carrie Bradshaw as a high schooler in the '80s. She's discovering her style, dating, dealing with the death of her mother and falling in love for the first time ... with Manhattan.

  • "Lost Girl"

    Returns Monday, January 14 at 10 p.m. EST on Syfy <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Victory! But the darkness continues to grow in Bo (Anna Silk). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Bo must make a deadly decision. Plus, tune in for guest star Linda Hamilton and recurring guest star Rachel Skarsten.

  • "American Idol"

    Returns Wednesday, January 16 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Feuds! Divas! Dawgs! Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban join the judging panel alongside veteran Randy Jackson for Season 12.

  • "Anger Management"

    Returns Thursday, January 17 at 9 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: After Charlie and Kate slept together, they were in a weird place with their relationship. And when Charlie's daughter Sam kissed a girl at school, a photo wound up on Facebook and Charlie and Jennifer questioned their daughter's sexual orientation. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: 70+ more episodes. And in Season 2, Charlie will blow up at his sister's baby shower and will question if his father Martin is developing Alzheimer's. Cee Lo Green will stop by as a version of himself, seeking Charlie's assistance under Hollywood pressure.

  • "Archer"

    Returns Thursday, January 17 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: The ISIS crew -- including Archer -- were held captive on the Space Station Horizon <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: A "Bob's Burgers" crossover! H. Jon Benjamin provides the voice of both Archer and Bob.

  • "The Following"

    Monday, January 21 at 9 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea, Annie Parisse <strong>What's It About</strong>: Ryan Hardy's (Bacon) been out of the FBI game for a while, that is until his biggest catch, serial killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy) resurfaces ... along with a cult-like following ready to carry out his bidding.

  • "The Taste"

    Tuesday, January 22 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, Brian Malarkey <strong>What's It About</strong>: Think "The Voice" (there are teams and coaches), plus "Top Chef" (culinary competition) and you've got ABC's "The Taste."

  • "White Collar"

    Returns Tuesday, January 22 at 10 p.m. EST on USA <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Peter (Tim DeKay) and Neal (Matt Bomer) stepped into the boxing ring to infiltrate a white collar boxing club. Neal discovered his father was still alive (and played by Treat Williams!) <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Peter and Neal search for the truth about Neal's dad and his crimes and Neal goes undercover with the Irish mob ... And hopefully, more boxing.

  • "Dallas"

    Returns Wednesday, January 28 at 9 p.m. EST on TNT. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Slaps, sex and secrets filled the first season of the new "Dallas." The season ended with John Ross (Josh Henderson) teaming up with J.R. (Larry Hagman) to destroy Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and Elena (Jordana Brewster). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Familiar faces return and the Ewings say goodbye to J.R. after series star Larry Hagman passed away about half way into filming Season 2. Producers will incorporate his death into the story.

  • "The Americans"

    Wednesday, January 30 at 10 p.m. EST on FX. <strong>Starring</strong>: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich <strong>What's It About</strong>: Elizabeth (Russell) and Phillip (Rhys) Jennings are the perfect couple: They've got two kids and are living the life of every American in the '80s ... but they just so happen to be KGB spies posing as regular ol' US citizens.

  • "Do No Harm"

    Thursday, January 31at 10 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring:</strong> Steven Pasquale, Alana de la Garza, Phylicia Rashād, John Carroll Lynch <strong>What's It About: </strong>A brilliant neurosurgeon (Pasquale) has a big secret: a very villainous dual personality. It's a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde story mixed with a medical drama.

  • "Rules of Engagement"

    Returns Monday, February 4 at 8:30 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Audrey (Megyn Price) was upstaged at her own baby shower by Brenda (Sara Rue). Meanwhile, Russell (David Spade) started to display creative talents after taking a break from women. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Sitcom hijinks!

  • "Smash"

    Returns Tuesday, February 5 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC and moves to its normal Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST timeslot on February 12 on NBC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Karen (Katharine McPhee) wowed the crowd as Marilyn Monroe in previews of "Bombshell" in Boston. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: More Broadway drama! There's a new musical in town that could rival "Bombshell" for all the buzz. Plus guest stars Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin and more.

  • "Body of Proof"

    Returns Tuesday, February 5 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Peter (Nicholas Bishop) saved Megan (Dana Delany) from a serial killer, but was stabbed in the process. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: New blood! Bishop, John Carroll Lynch and Sonja Sohn are out and Mark Valley is in.

  • "Community"

    Returns Thursday, February 7 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Evil Abed, "lawsuits" and sandwich shops filled the "Community" Season 3 finale that aired what feels like 30 years ago. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Six seasons and a movie. Just kidding, although that'd be cool (cool cool cool). Malcolm McDowell, Tricia Helfer, Jason Alexander and more will drop by for some Human Beings antics. Plus, Chevy Chase will depart the show.

  • "Touch"

    Returns Friday, February 8 at 8 p.m. EST on Fox <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Martin (Kiefer Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) fled to California and met up with Lucy (Maria Bello). <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Martin (Sutherland) and Jake (David Mazouz) soak up the Los Angeles sun ... and find themselves in the middle of a "global conspiracy."

  • "Survivor"

    Returns Wednesday, February 13 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Jeff Probst, unnamed contestants <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Fans vs. Favorites, Round 2

  • "Southland"

    Returns Wednesday, February 13 at 10 p.m. EST on TNT. <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Cooper saved Tang, and then Tang got a big promotion becoming sergeant and watch commander. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: "One Tree Hill" star Chad Michael Murray joins the cast as goofball Officer Dave Mendoza.

  • "Zero Hour"

    Thursday, February 14 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Anthony Edwards, Carmen Ejogo, Scott Michael Foster, Addison Timlin, Jacinda Barrett and Michael Nyqvist <strong>What's It About</strong>: Think "National Treasure" and "Da Vinci's Code," but on TV and starring Dr. Greene from "ER." Edwards plays Hank Galliston, the publisher of Modern Skeptic Magazine. When his wife is abducted, Hank and his pals are joined by the FBI as they attempt to crack various conspiracies and get his wife back.

  • "The Amazing Race"

    Returns Sunday, February 17 at 8:00 p.m. EST on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Phil Keoghan, unnamed contestants <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Globetrotting adventure.

  • "Cult"

    Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m. EST on The CW <strong>Starring:</strong> Matt Davis, Alona Tal, Jessica Lucas, Robert Knepper <strong>What's It About</strong>: Matt Davis stars as Jeff, a journalist who investigates his brother's disappearance and his involvement with a group of obsessive fans who have formed a pseudo-cult around a TV series ... about a cult.

  • "Golden Boy"

    Premieres Tuesday, February 26 at 10 p.m. EST. Special showing on Tuesday, March 5 at 10 p.m. EST before moving to its regular Fridays at 9 p.m. EST time period on March 8 on CBS <strong>Starring</strong>: Theo James, Chi McBride, Kevin Alejandro, Bonnie Somerville <strong>What's It About</strong>: The series charts the rise of Walter William Clark Jr. (James), a beat cop who quickly moves up the ranks of the NYPD before becoming commissioner.

  • "Psych"

    Returns Wednesday, February 27 at 10 p.m. EST <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Henry (Corbin Bernsen) got back into the detective game with the help of Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill). But the case ended with a bang as Henry was shot by a former friend. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Parminder Nagra joins the cast as a love interest of Gus. Plus, the long-awaited musical episode airs! Look for episodes inspired by "Clue" and "The Blair Witch Project" and for guest stars Jeffrey Tambor and Anthony Michael Hall, as well.

  • "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice"

    Sunday, March 3 at 9 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>Starring</strong>: Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Penn Jillette, Lil Jon, Bret Michaels, Dennis Rodman, Dee Snider, Marilu Henner, La Toya Jackson, Claudia Jordan, Omarosa, Lisa Rinna, Brande Roderick <strong>What's It About</strong>: It's "Celebrity Apprentice," but with contestants who have already been to the boardroom with Donald Trump.

  • "Red Widow"

    Sunday, March 3, 9:00 p.m. EST and moves to its regular timeslot on Sunday, March 10, 10:00 p.m. EST on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Radha Mitchell, Goran Visnjic, Clifton Collins, Jr., Sterling Beaumon <strong>What's It About</strong>: Marta Walraven (Mitchell)'s husband Evan supports the family by exporting weed and is involved in the world of organized crime with Bratva, Russian gangsters. After Evan's murder, Marta seeks to protect her kids, but gets tangled in the seedy underworld.

  • "Fashion Star"

    Returns Friday, March 8 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos return to the show with new host Louise Roe as 13 new contestants compete for the chance to launch their own clothing line.

  • "Dancing With the Stars"

    Returns Monday, March 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Tom Bergeron, Brooke Burke Charvet, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, Len Goodman and unnamed celebrity contestants. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Celebrities dancing.

  • "The Voice"

    Returns Monday, March 25 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. <strong>Starring</strong>: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Presumably, a lot less ridiculously outfits without Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green.

  • "Game of Thrones"

    Returns Sunday, March 31 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: War came. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/game-of-thrones-finale-recap_b_1566867.html">Read Maureen Ryan's recap for more</a>. <strong>What's Ahead</strong>: Tons of new cast members played by the likes of Diana Rigg, Iwan Rheon, Mackenzie Crook, Clive Russell and many more. Season 3 will be about half of George R.R. Martin's "A Storm of Swords," one of the series' most beloved books.

  • "How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life)"

    Wednesday, April 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins, Brad Garrett <strong>What's It About</strong>: Polly (Chalke) is a recently divorced single mom. Since the divorce, Polly's been having some struggles and decides to move back in with her eccentric parents, Elaine (Perkins) and Max (Garrett). Hijinks ensue.

  • "Family Tools"

    Wednesday, May 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC <strong>Starring</strong>: Kyle Bornheimer, J.K. Simmons, Leah Remini <strong>What's It About</strong>: After Tony (Simmons) suffers a heart attack, he's forced to hand over the family handyman business to his bumbling son Jack (Bornheimer).

  • "The Goodwin Games"

    TBA on Fox <strong>Starring</strong>: Becki Newton, Scott Foley, T.J. Miller <strong>What's It About</strong>: Three estranged siblings reunite after the death of their father and unexpectedly find themselves heirs to a $20 million fortune ... if they adhere to their dad's wishes.

  • "Save Me"

    TBA on NBC <strong>Starring:</strong> Anne Heche, Michael Landes and Alexandra Breckenridge. <strong>What's It About: </strong>Anne Heche stars as Beth, a woman whose life -- and marriage -- is falling apart. However, after a new-death experience, Beth claims God starts speaking to her and sets her on a new life path.

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