“Crikey, mate. You're far safer dealing with crocodiles and western diamondback rattlesnakes than the executives and the producers, all those sharks in the big MGM building.” -Said the ever enthusiastic, ever passionate, ever humorous, and unanimously loved, Stephen Robert Irwin, more popularly known as Steve Irwin- The Crocodile Hunter.
Steve Irwin, Born on 22 February, 1962, in upper Fern Tree Gully, Victoria, moved with his parents and two sisters to Beerwah, Queensland, where his folks opened the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park in 1970. By the time he was nine-years-old, he was helping his dad catch small problem crocodiles hanging around boat ramps by plunging into the water, and wrestling them back into the dinghy. His sixth-sense with regard to animals never failed him, his death, a tragic mishap.
In 1991 Steve took over managing the wildlife park, turned it into one of the world’s best zoo, the famous Australia zoo. There he met Terri Rains, a visiting tourist, their marriage a bond of passion with regard to their tireless love for animals. Instead of a honeymoon, the couple embarked on filming a wildlife documentary with John Stainton from the ‘Best Picture Show’ company. The show broke through with amazing results and was later turned into the epic series, The Crocodile Hunter.
The name seems ironic, since Steve’s chances of harming an animal were as good as the sun rising in the west. However his fans, who knew him and loved him, thought this name was apt, as he was daring and truly a hunter of zeal.
Watching his shows was like watching a man plunge towards his death, wrestling with crocodiles, catching venomous snakes, holding up insects, lying in the wild with tigers, the things I could only dream of…the person I’d want to be.
He claimed that even if you’d take off all his clothes, drop him nude in the Amazon river, or in the deserts of Australia, he would survive just fine. He was born to live with animals, care for them, and speak the words they could only think.
He cried furiously when his crocodiles died, or if an animal was injured. Describing any individual he met, who according to him looked very much like a certain species of a reptile, or monkey, was a compliment of the highest regard. His world the world of the animals, the ones he valued more than his human counterparts.
Historically speaking, conversation or preaching about the wrong of killing animals aired on television left a God like repetitive feel. Steve broke that trend. He brought us to the action, made us feel present at the time, and showed us the beauty and excitement of the wilderness. He would not lecture individuals on the importance of these living beasts, instead he would show us their beauty, and make us not want to harm them out if respect for life. His passion was contagious, the depth of his emotion towards them, indescribable.
On 4 September 2006, The Crocodile Hunter was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef . Steve was in the area filming his own documentary,Ocean's Deadliest , but weather had stalled filming. He decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program.His daughter Bindi Irwin was hosting when, according to his friend and colleague, John Stainton,, he swam too close to one of the stingrays. An individual, who dared to tread with the most dangerous animals in the world, was ironically killed by one of the mildest.
The Crocodile Hunter taught the world that conservation was not about being boring, but about having fun. It was a simple method of loving the land you live in, live and let live, protect and be protected. With my role models death I see the world as a larger spectrum of hope, a place where you live your life to the fullest without fear, and eventually encounter the time you have to leave, leaving behind a strong legacy…one etched in history..one which made the world different. Stephen Robert Irwin, as he always said "Born a wildlife warrior, die a wildlife warrior."