Steve Irwin, also known as The Crocodile Hunter, was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist, television personality, wildlife educator and environmentalist.
He was born on February 22, 1962, in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia, and died on September 4, 2006, at the age of 44.
Irwin grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles and was educated regarding them by his father, Bob.
He achieved international fame in the late 1990s from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series that he co-hosted with his wife, Terri:
The couple also hosted the series Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets. They also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo, founded by Steve’s parents in Beerwah, Queensland.
Irwin was passionate about wildlife conservation and was known for his close encounters with deadly and usually endangered animals, notably crocodiles, in Australia’s Outback and later in the jungles of Asia and Africa.
He also established large private wildlife refuges in Australia and founded an international organization, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, to promote wildlife conservation.
Irwin’s contributions have made him synonymous with Australia among both citizens and foreigners, and his likeness has been used by the government of Queensland to promote tourism in the state.
Steve Irwin cause of death
Irwin died on September 4, 2006, while filming a documentary called Ocean’s Deadliest at Batt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland.
He was tragically killed by a stingray that pierced his chest, penetrating his thoracic wall and heart, causing massive trauma.
Irwin was swimming in chest-deep water and approached a short-tail stingray from the rear in order to film it swimming away.
He initially believed he had only a punctured lung, but the stingray’s barb pierced his heart, causing him to bleed to death.
Crew members aboard Irwin’s boat administered CPR and rushed him to the nearby Low Island, where medical staff pronounced him dead.
Irwin’s death is the only fatality from a stingray captured on video, although the footage has not been released to the public.
It is also one of the few human deaths from stingrays.
Before Irwin’s stingray attack, only two other fatal attacks had been recorded in Australia while around the world, only one to two fatal attacks are reported every year.
It is worth noting that Irwin always gave instructions to his camera crew to keep filming, even if he was in danger or dying.
According to his biographer, Tommy Donovan, Irwin wanted a video of his death, saying, ‘If he died, he would be sad if no one got it on tape.’
Steve Irwin career
Irwin grew up on a wildlife park owned by his parents and went on to become an animal enthusiast and TV personality, hosting the popular series The Crocodile Hunter, among other nature programs.
He derived his passion for wildlife from his parents, who participated in early efforts to protect Australia’s wild reptiles.
In 1970, the family moved from Victoria to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, where Bob and Lyn Irwin founded the Beerwah Reptile Park on 4 acres (1.6 hectare) of land.
The young Irwin accompanied his father on expeditions in the Outback to trap lizards, venomous snakes, and crocodiles, and he helped to nurse and rehabilitate the injured or abandoned kangaroos, wallabies and birds that the park took in.
In the early 1980s, Irwin worked for the Crocodile Management Program, sometimes spending months alone in the bush in search of the animals.
Skilled at capturing the largest and most dangerous crocodiles, he eventually acquired a reputation as Australia’s top ‘croc catcher’.
Instead of a honeymoon, Irwin and his wife embarked on filming a wildlife documentary while relocating a problem crocodile in far north Queensland.
The show was so successful that it turned into a series and The Crocodile Hunter was born.
The TV series became an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary hit, which Irwin hosted with his wife, Terri.
Irwin was often criticized for disturbing wildlife unnecessarily or for indulging in showmanship, but he claimed that his risk-taking style helped to raise concern for threatened but dangerous animals and enabled viewers to appreciate directly their power, beauty and uniqueness.
Irwin was passionate about wildlife conservation and protection, particularly for crocodiles.
He and his wife made a documentary about catching and relocating crocodiles to protect them from poachers and uninformed, scared people.
Irwin was determined to devote his life to changing the perception of crocodiles with the help of his wife.
He was always helping people and animals, all while finding time to raise a family with his job as a herpetologist and zoologist.
Irwin was described by Mark Townend, CEO of RSPCA Queensland, as a ‘modern-day Noah’.
In the years after his death, Irwin’s likeness, catchphrases, mannerisms and contributions have made Irwin synonymous with Australia among both citizens and foreigners.