Everyone who loves nature and animals knows the man who was known as the “crocodile hunter”. Steve Irwin’s life was fun – he never failed to thrill the audience with his dangerous stunts from snakes to crocodiles.
Steve Irwin was always dressed in his khaki shirts and shorts and had an infectious personality. He was passionate about his work and knew how to wow his audience with a mixture of passion, education, and humor. He was also never afraid to make jokes about himself. Steve was the whole package and was loved by everyone until his death.
Steve’s complete portfolio included zookeeper, animal welfarist, television personality, actor and all-round comedian. He is best known for his iconic show The Crocodile Hunter, which quickly became his calling card. The show was hugely successful in Australia before being taken over by Animal Planet, an American cable network. From there it achieved massive international success and a huge audience, which was shown in over 200 countries at its peak.
Steve continued to expand his catalog and eventually managed to film it with films such as Eddie Murphy’s 2001 hit Dr. Dolittle 2 and his wife’s movie The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, made a year later. This film brought in 33 million dollars with a budget of 12 million dollars. The couple also put on other shows that focused on their work. Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries and New Breed Vets were broadcast chronologically from 2001 to 2006.
Irwin’s an advertising and TV successes are too numerous to mention. He was a separate guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He was also featured in a FedEx commercial in 2000 and another one for The Ghan, a passenger train that ran between Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide.
He also lent his voice as an elephant seal named Trev in the 2005 animated film Happy Feet, which was dedicated to him when he died during post-production.
His passion for endangered animals and his concern about the loss of their habitat due to land clearance was obvious. He founded Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, originally known as the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, an independent charity. There was also the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund, in memory of his mother, and the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility.
Steve Irwin and his daughter, Bindi Irwin, even named a turtle and a land snail after him. He discovered this new species of turtle in 1997 on a fishing trip with his father and named it Elseya Irwin (Irwin’s turtle). The newly discovered land breathing land snail was named Crikey Steveirwini, a mixture of his name and a popular catchword.
Steve Irwin has received numerous nominations and awards both before and after his death. These include;
- The Centenary Medal for his service to global conservation and contributions to Australian tourism in 2001.
- The Tourism Export of the Year, 2004
- Nomination for Australian of the Year, 2004
- Adjunct Professor Posthumously, from the University of Queensland’s School of Integrative Biology in 2007.
- Queensland Business Leaders Hall Of Fame in recognition of his contribution to global entrepreneurship both in business and wildlife conservation that boosted Queensland’s international reputation, 2009.
- He posthumously received the Queensland Greats Awards in 2015
- Received his own star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2017
Steve Irwin’s Parents
Steve, who attended Landsborough State School and Caloundra State High School, was later to move with his parents to Queensland. There his parents, Bob and Lyn, founded a small game park with a special focus on reptiles such as snakes and crocodiles.
Bob started exposing Steve to these dangerous animals at a tender age. It started with smaller things like feeding the animals and care and maintenance tasks. When he was six years old, his father memorably gave him a 12-foot scouring python. When he was nine years old, under his father’s watchful eye, he wrestled with his first crocodile, which he had drawn after everything his father had taught him about reptiles.
During his time as a volunteer for the Crocodile Management Program in Queensland East, he caught more than 100 crocodiles. While most of them were relocated, some found a new home in his family park. In 1991 he took over the park from his father and in 1998 he changed the name to Australian Zoo.
Steve Irwin’s Family, Children, Wife
Steve met his wife Terri Raines in 1991. They got along well right away and got married the following year, June 4th, 1992, not believing it was wise to wear wedding rings as this could be a danger to them or the animals.
Steve Irwin and FamilyTerri was an American naturalist who was visiting wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Australia at the time. Their trip took them to the zoo where they met Steve. She described him as a unique, larger-than-life environmental Tarzan. They spent their honeymoon wrestling and catching crocodiles. This adventure later became the first episode of her successful TV documentary The Crocodile Hunt
Their union produced a daughter Bindi Sue Irwin in 1998 and a son, Robert Clarence Irwin, born in 2003. Bindi Sue was named after a saltwater crocodile and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, two of Steve’s favorite animals. Her second, Robert, was named after Steve’s father, Bob Lyn.
After Steven’s death, his daughter Bindi followed in her father’s footsteps. She even had her own show, which was broadcast on Discovery Kids, Animal Planet and Australia’s ABC1 and was called Bindi the Jungle Girl.
Steve’s Death and Cause of Death
On September 4, 2006, Steve was at Batt Reef near Port Douglas in Queensland. He was involved in the production of the documentary series Ocean’s Deadliest. During one of his breaks, he decided to go snorkeling with a member of the camera crew to shoot footage for his daughter’s TV show Bindi the Jungle Girl.
While he was trying to film a two-meter long stingray from behind as he swam away, he suddenly reared up and stung Steve. He administered over a hundred stings, piercing his heart with his barb. He was resuscitated and rushed to the Lower Islands where his death was confirmed.
Five days later a private ceremony was held in Caloundra and he was buried the same day in the Australian Zoo. Steve Irwin’s burial site was not accessible to tourists who flocked to the zoo after his death.