Who is he?

Image Source: Australia Zoo

If there’s one thing I would want to be remembered for it’s passion and enthusiasm. Conservation is my job, my life, my whole being.  – Steve Irwin (Happy Feet).

Born on 1962, 22 February, to parents that were both deeply involved in wildlife, his infatuation with nature seemed predestined. Australia’s flora and fauna has always been part of Steve Irwin’s life. His father owned a zoo, and at the tender age of 6 years old, he caught his first venomous snake, a Common Brown. His father was a herpetologist, and his mother, a wildlife rehabilitator. Just like his children, Steve also grew up within a zoo, and helped with its daily operations, such as the feeding of his favourite salt water crocodiles. The amazing childhood he spent in the facility nurtured the world’s favourite crocodile hunter.

Even when he married his beloved wife, wildlife was also part of their ceremony. Their love for wildlife was so binding and strong, their honeymoon trip to visit Australia’s wildlife was filmed, and ultimately became the series we all know and love – The Crocodile Hunter. The power couple was never far away from each other, and all the subsequent documentary Steve film, Terri was always nearby, supporting both him, and his love for the wild. Their love ultimately gave them 2 children that quickly followed their footstep in conservation.Even without Steve, Terri has adamantly stayed faithful to Steve’s upbringing, even against Briticism, and brought her 2 children around the globe to interact with the animals that both Steve and her loved.

One of their wedding photos. Image Source: Terri Irwin

Always prioritizing the welfare of the animals he cared for, Steve was constantly looking for ways to capture and release the animals in the most stress-free environment as possible. Instead of metal poles, he choose to use the tree branches around the river banks to fashion out crocodile traps, despite the tediousness of it’s erection. Innovative in his ways, Steve always strive to protect the crocodiles from being captured and relocated, as he understood that despite their massive forms, crocodiles were easily stressed. Their capture and relocation would most definitely put them at risk of death. Never one to shy away from new things, he also adopted Pavlov’s classical conditioning to force crocodiles to associate traps with fisherman’s boat and light (Crocs Down Under | Wild Things). Using the same thought, Steve also never use a metal prod during his expeditions, steadfastly using sticks and branches he found nearby to approach the snakes.

On 2006, September 4, tragedy stroked when Steve was struck in the chest by a stingray hundreds of time within seconds. He was attempting to film footage of wild marine animals for Bindi’s documentary, when he unintentionally boxed a stingray into a corner, forcing the animal to go into attack mode. Even during this accident, he was still optimistic, believing it was just a punctured lung, and he would survive. However, the reality was that the stingray’s barb had pierced his heart, and he unfortunately passed away on the filming boat.

His death, though sudden, was always how people imagined him to go, surrounded by nature, and doing what he loved most. May he forever rest in peace, and may his legacy inspire the next generation of Crocodile Hunters.