Steve gained international fame through his various wildlife documentaries that were aired in many countries across the world. What made his documentary series unique and captivating was his braveness toward reptiles, and his enthusiasm in getting “down and dirty” with the crocodiles.
Steve saw his programmes as a means of conservation. He sought to share with his viewers his enthusiasm and love for crocodiles. Additionally, as people typically thought of crocodiles as mere creatures with scary jaws and rough scaly skin, Steve wanted to change their perceptions for the better. He genuinely hoped that his viewers worldwide would be infected by his excitement, and learn to appreciate the crocodiles and their abilities, and come to live harmoniously with them.
“My belief is that what comes across on the television is a capture of my enthusiasm and my passion for wildlife… I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.”
– Steve Irwin
In fact, Steve’s wildlife documentaries were considered by many as his greatest contribution toward wildlife conservation.
“He [Steve] taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator.”
– David Attenborough, English naturalist
Steve’s very first wildlife documentary that gained him the nickname “The Crocodile Hunter” and and led to the subsequent release of other documentaries, was the widely acclaimed “The Crocodile Hunter”. He filmed this documentary with his wife, Terri, shortly after their marriage.
“The Croc Files”, aired from 1999 to 2000, was a documentary series about crocodiles. It aimed to bring viewers through the world of crocodiles and witness the astounding abilities of crocodiles.
Later, aired from 2002 to 2004, “The Crocodile Hunter Diaries” gave viewers insights to the everyday lives of the Irwins and employees at Australia Zoo. The documentary also showcased some of the conservation programmes and efforts undertaken at the zoo.
The wildlife documentaries proved important in the Irwins’ careers as conservationists. Steve’s international celebrity status made him a more influential conservationist worldwide. Apart from that, the earnings from the wildlife documentaries Steve and his family starred in were used to fund numerous conservation efforts.
“Every cent we earn from Crocodile Hunter goes straight back into conservation. Every single cent.”
– Steve Irwin