"If something ever happens to me, people are gonna be like 'we knew a croc would
get him!'" Steve Irwin.
Australian naturalist, wildlife expert and television personality Steve Irwin is
wildly popular as the host of Animal Planet's wildlife documentary series “The
Crocodile Hunter” (alongside wife Terri Irwin). He owned and operated Australia
Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, which was founded by his parents.
On September 4, 2006, the world was shocked when the loving conservationist was
announced dead after being stung by a stingray's poisonous spine during filming
his own documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44 and left behind a wife,
42-year-old Terri, and two children: an 8-year-old daughter, Bindi, and a
2-year-old son, Bob.
Born to Love Animals
Childhood and Family:
"Here is my greatest gift to the world. We need to stand proud of what is
Australia, the greatest grazing nation on the face of the Earth! The whole joint
is grazing land and by crikey we're good at it! We should be (eating) beef and
lamb, not kangaroos and crocodiles. They're why tourists come to Australia. They
are tourism icons!" Steve Irwin.
In Essendon, Victoria, Australia, Stephen Robert Irwin was born on February 22,
1962. He later moved to Queensland, where his parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin,
started the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, a small reptile park in Beerwah
on the Sunshine Coast. Steve graduated from Caloundra State High School in 1979.
"I thought there was no one like this anywhere in the world. He sounded like an
environmental Tarzan, a larger-than-life superhero guy." Terri Irwin (on Steve
On a holiday, Steve met a visitor of his zoo, animal naturalist Terri Raines
(born July 20, 1964 in Eugene, Oregon). In June 1992, the twosome married and
has two children together: daughter Bindi Sue Irwin (born on July 24, 1998) and
son Robert Clarence "Bob" Irwin (born on December 1, 2003). Bindi, whom Irwin
once described as "the reason he was put on the Earth," is actually named for
Steve's favorite pets, a saltwater crocodile named Bindi and his dog, a
Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Sui. The dog, which has incidentally appeared
in numerous "Croc Hunter" episodes with Steve and Terri, died in June 2004. As
for son Bob, he is named after Steve's father, Robert, and Terri's father,
"The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the
people he loves even more." Terri Raines (on Steve Irwin).
On September 4, 2006, while snorkeling for filming his own documentary to be
called “The Ocean's Deadliest” in Batt Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef off
the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest
by a short-tail stingray barb and caused his death. The rare events were caught
on camera and is still in argument whether it will be viewed publicly or not.
Queensland government offered a state funeral to Irwin's family, which they
later respectfully declined as his father explained "he (Steve Irwin) is an
ordinary guy, he is just an ordinary bloke and he wants to be remembered as an
"My number one rule is to keep that camera rolling. Even if it's shaky or
slightly out of focus, I don't give a rip. Even if a big old alligator is
chewing me up I want to go down and go, 'Crikey!' just before I die. That would
be the ultimate for me." Steve Irwin.
"I consider myself a wild-life warrior. My mission is to save the world's
endangered species." Steve Irwin.
Born in an animal-loving family, Steve Irwin received a 12-foot scrub python on
his 6th birthday and had started hunting and catching crocodiles by the age of
nine. He followed his parents moving to Queensland and helped them running a
small reptile park called the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. Since an early
age, Irwin had been educated by his father about reptiles and how to jump in and
catch crocodiles in the rivers of North Queensland at night. And as he grew up,
he became a crocodile trapper, removing crocodiles from near populated areas
where they were considered a danger and kept them in the family park. He stayed
in North Queensland for around five years. He also followed in his father's
footsteps, becoming a volunteer for the Queensland Government's East Coast
Crocodile Management program.
In 1991, Irwin took over the running of the park, which was renamed the
"Australia Zoo" in 1992. He also got his first break into television when his
old friend, television producer John Stainton, was filming a television
commercial in the Australian reptile park and offered to shoot a documentary of
Irwin and his animals. Later that year, Irwin made his first wildlife
documentary, one-hour TV series "The Crocodile Hunter." Its first episode was a
wildly successful in America, thanks to the footage which featured Irwin and new
wife Terri in crocodile-trapping honeymoon. The series debuted on Australian TV
screens in 1996, and had made its way onto North American television by the
following year. By 1999, Irwin and his seemingly outrageous antics, enthusiastic
presenting style, broad Australian accent, khakis outfit and catchphrase "Crikey!"
had become very popular in the United States. He made his first appearance on
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in May 2001. That same year, Irwin was awarded
the Centenary Medal for his "service to global conservation and to Australian
tourism," and the Australian Zoo was voted Queensland's top tourist attraction
Irwin also graced the big screen. He appeared in the 2001 feature film Dr.
Dolittle 2, the Eddie Murphy vehicle about a doctor who can communicate with
animals. The next year, he starred as himself in the feature The Crocodile
Hunter: Collision Course, alongside wife Terri. The film won the Best Family
Feature Film award for a comedy film at the Young Artist Awards. Irwin later
donated a generous portion of his movie earnings to various crocodile and animal
rescue leagues. In 2003, Irwin was reportedly in line to host a chat show on
Australian network television, a series that never went into production.
In January 2004, Irwin rose to controversy when in a public show, he carried
one-month-old son Bob in his arm while hand-feeding a chicken carcass to a
4-meter-long crocodile. He was criticized for being irresponsible and tantamount
to child abuse. Irwin had refused to apologize for his action, claiming that the
danger was only a perceived danger because he was in complete control of the
situation. He also explained that the crocodile was the old one and it had been
in the zoo for years, which he knew very well and could predict its behavior.
Afterall, no charges were filed, and according to a report, Irwin told officials
he would not repeat the stunt.
In June that same year, Irwin also faced allegations for being too close to and
disturbed some wildlife (whales, seals and penguins) while filming a
documentary, “Ice Breaker,” in Antarctica. But the case was closed without
charges being filed. Meanwhile, also in that year, Irwin was recognized as
Tourism Export of the Year. He was also nominated for Australian of the Year,
but lost out to Steve Waugh, a former captain of the Australian Test cricket
team from 1999 to 2004.
In January 2006, Irwin appeared at the Pauley Pavilion, UCLA in Los Angeles,
California, as part of "Australia Week" celebrations in the USA. He also told
“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that Discovery Kids would be making a show for
his daughter, Bindi, supposedly called “Jungle Girl.” The American network The
Travel Channel also had begun to show a series of specials starring Irwin and
his family as they traveled on cross-country tours.
A passionate conservationist, Irwin founded the Steve Irwin Conservation
Foundation, which was later renamed Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, and became an
independent charity. He also helped to found a number of other projects,
including the International Crocodile Rescue, and the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund,
in memory of his mother, with proceeds going to the Iron Bark Station Wildlife
“The one thing I would want to be remembered for is passion and enthusiasm.
Conservation is my life, my job, my whole persona.” Steve Irwin.