22 February 1962 - 4 September 2006
Steve Irwin, a great naturalist and conservationist, was the director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, and host of Animal Planet's series "Crocodile Hunter" (1996). The son of naturalists Bob and Lyn Irwin, Steve has spent his entire life studying, living and working with animals. He grew up at the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where he took part in the daily feeding, care and maintenance of the park's many animal inhabitants. He soon became an expert on local wildlife, particularly reptiles. And (as anyone who has ever seen Steve will easily believe), by the time he was 9, his dad had taught him to jump in and catch crocodiles in the rivers in North Queensland. Together, this father-and-son team can boast that every crocodile at the Australia Zoo (numbering over 150) was either caught with their own hands, or bred and raised at the zoo. Steve made his name in the Queensland government's rogue Crocodile Relocation Program, where he was one of the most successful participants, in which the reptiles could be transferred and relocated to proper localties in the most absolute humane, non-tranquilizing manner - He frequently implements the non-tranquilizing factor in his televison show "Croc Files" - safely catching and relocating dozens of troublesome crocodiles without harm to them (or him).
Irwin's unique talents first came to the attention of the world television audience with the premiere of the first installment of "Crocodile Hunter" (1996).
He and his wife travelled to around the world to educate the public about the care and responsibility we all have to the natural world.
Among other things, he has prevented a Safari Plan proposal in Australia, in witch rich Americans would safari hunt and kill 25 crocodiles every year for pleasure. While the plan had widespread backing in the Northern Territory, the Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell rejected it under a lot of pressure from Steve.
Against all odds Steve was not killed by a croc but by a stab from a stingray barb through the heart. A normally placid species that only deploys its poisonous tail spines as a defence. Its poison is not fatal though. The cause of death was "a stab through the heart". Experts say a death from a stingray attack is extremely rare.
"It's just absolutely unbelievable," Nigel Marven, a well-known wildlife specialist who was a longtime friend of Irwin's, said on The Early Show. "To be killed by a big crocodile or bitten by a snake, you'd have believed it. But a stingray? There's only been three cases in Australia of deaths by stingrays in the last 100 years. Seventeen worldwide. So it's a tremendous freak accident."
Steve was just unlucky. If the ray had stabbed him anywhere else we wouldn't even talking about it now.
I personally was crushed when I heard.
Documentaries will never be the same for me! He gave me something to remember and a smile on my face knowing that there are still humans out there. The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and a great human being specimen.
I just can't believe it he is gone! I can NOT accept it!
How can I say rest in peace? Steve can never rest! He is on fire, as he many times said about himself: "I'm on fire, I wake up in the morning and feel I can never do enough . . ." Steve is not dead! He can never die! He just took a journey by himself. He is somewhere out there hunting crocs! So I will not say Rest in Peace. But I will say: Farewell my brother, my friend, one day we'll meet again!