Steve Irwin- The Crocodile Hunter
Steve Irwin- The Crocodile Hunter
Steve Irwin (Stephen Robert Irwin) (February 22, 1962 – September 4, 2006) was an Australian wildlife expert and television personality. He became popular for hosting the internationally-broadcast wildlife documentary series ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ with his wife Terri Irwin.
Birth and early life:
Stephen Robert Irwin was born on 22 February, 1962, in upper Fern Tree Gully, Victoria. His father, Bob Irwin, was a wildlife expert interested in herpetology and his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. He moved with his parents and two sisters to Beerwah, Queensland, where his folks opened the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park in 1970. His love for wild animals, specially reptiles grew from a very young age. He caught a Common Brown (a venomous snake) at the tender age of six. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age.Also at age nine he wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father’s supervision. He worked as a volunteer for Queensland’s East Coast Crocodile Management program and captured over 100 crocodiles, some of which were relocated, while others were housed at the family park. He also met his future wife Terri Raines there in 1991. Steve married Terri in June 1992. Together they had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin (born 24 July 1998), and a son, Robert Clarence “Bob” (named after Irwin’s father) Irwin (born 1 December 2003). Together with her, he also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo in Queensland, founded by his parents.
Career and Rise to Fame:
Irwin took over the management of the park in 1991 and renamed it Australia Zoo in 1992. The footage of his crocodile-trapping honeymoon with Terri became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. Soon the show became popular all over the globe. In 1998 he hosted the documentary ‘The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World’. By this time, the Crocodile Hunter series was now broadcast in over 137 countries, reaching 500 million people. People loved his unique presenting style with an Australian accent, signature khaki shorts, and the catchphrase “Crikey!”. In 2001, Irwin appeared in a cameo role in the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle 2. Irwin’s only starring feature film role was in 2002’s The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, which received mixed reviews.
Role as an Environmentalist:
Steve Irwin, together with his father Bob Irwin, discovered a new species of Australian turtle and named it Irwin’s Turtle Elseya irwini. Irwin founded an independent charity named Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, which was later renamed “Wildlife Warriors Worldwide”. He also helped found International Crocodile Rescue, the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund (named in memory of his mother, who died in a car-crash in 2000),and the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility.
On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in north Queensland. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean’s Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi was hosting, when, according to his friend and colleague, John Stainton, he swam too close to one of the stingrays. “He came on top of the stingray and the stingray’s barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart,” said Stainton, who was on board Irwin’s boat the Croc One.
Honours and Achievements:
In 2001, Irwin was awarded the Centenary Medal for his “service to global conservation and to Australian tourism”.In 2004, he was recognised as Tourism Export of the Year. The Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre in Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary was named by the Kerala government after late Steve Irwin.
In 2009, a genus and a species of Australian air-breathing land snail was named after Steve Irwin, the genus and species Crikey steveirwini Stanisic, 2009, in the land snail family Camaenidae.
Sir David Attenborough praised Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying “He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator.”