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"Steve Irwin"

Steve Irwin. (2009, May 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:18, May 26, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Steve_Irwin&oldid=292454181

Stephen Robert Irwin (22 February 1962 - 4 September 2006), known simply as Steve Irwin and nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an iconic Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. He achieved worldwide fame from the television program The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series co-hosted with his wife Terri Irwin. Together, they also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo, founded by his parents in Beerwah, Queensland. He died in 2006 after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship MV Steve Irwin was named in his honour, christened by his wife Terri, who said "If Steve were alive, he'd be aboard with them!"

Born on his mother's birthday[1] to Lyn and Bob Irwin in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Irwin moved with his parents as a child to Queensland in 1970. Irwin described his father as a wildlife expert interested in herpetology while his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. After moving to Queensland, Bob and Lyn Irwin started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Steve grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles.

Irwin became involved with the park in a number of ways, including taking part in daily animal feeding, as well as care and maintenance activities. On his sixth birthday he was given a 12-foot (4 m) scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age.[2] Also at age nine he wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father's supervision.[3] He graduated from Caloundra State High School in 1979. He soon moved to Northern Queensland, where he became a crocodile trapper, removing crocodiles from populated areas where they were considered a danger. He performed the service for free with the quid pro quo that he be allowed to keep them for the park. Irwin followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a volunteer for the Queensland Government's East Coast Crocodile Management program.

The park was a family run business, until it was turned over to Steve. He took over the running of the park, now called Australia Zoo (renaming it in 1992). Also that year, he appeared in a one-off reptile and wildlife special for television. In 1991, he met Terri Raines at the park, while performing a demonstration. The two married in June 1992, in Terri's hometown of Eugene, Oregon. The footage, shot by John Stainton, of their crocodile-trapping honeymoon became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. The series debuted on Australian TV screens in 1996, and by the following year had made its way onto North American television. The Crocodile Hunter became successful in the United States and also, after repackaging by Partridge Films for ITV, in the UK.[4] In 1998, he continued, working with producer and director Mark Strickson, to present The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World. By 1999, he had become very popular in the United States, making his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. By this time, the Crocodile Hunter series was broadcast in over 137 countries, reaching 500 million people. His exuberant and enthusiastic presenting style, broad Australian accent, signature khaki shorts, and catchphrase "Crikey!" became known worldwide.[5] Sir David Attenborough praised Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator."[6]

A 2000 FedEx commercial with Steve Irwin lightheartedly dealed with the possibility of occupational death from snakebite and the fanciful notion that FedEx would have saved him, if only FedEx were used.[7]

Under Irwin's leadership, the operations grew to include the zoo, the television series, the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation (renamed Wildlife Warriors), and the International Crocodile Rescue. Improvements to the Australia Zoo include the Animal Planet Crocoseum, the rainforest aviary and Tiger Temple. Irwin mentioned that he was considering opening an Australia Zoo in Las Vegas, Nevada, and possibly at other sites around the world.[1]

In 2001, Irwin appeared in a cameo role in the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle 2, in which a crocodile warns Dolittle that he knows Irwin is going to grab him and is prepared to attack when he does, but Dolittle fails to warn Irwin in time. Irwin's only starring feature film role was in 2002's The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, which was released to mixed reviews. In the film Irwin (who portrayed himself and performed numerous stunts) mistakes some CIA agents for poachers. He sets out to stop them from capturing a crocodile, which, unknown to him, has actually swallowed a tracking transmitter. The film won the Best Family Feature Film award for a comedy film at the Young Artist Awards. The film was produced on a budget of about $12 million, and has grossed $33 million.[8] To promote the film, Irwin was featured in an animated short produced by Animax Entertainment for Intermix.[9]

In 2002, the Irwins appeared in the Wiggles video/DVD release Wiggly Safari, which was set in Irwin's Australia Zoo. It featured Irwin-themed songs written and performed by the Wiggles such as "Crocodile Hunter", "Australia Zoo", "Snakes (You can look but you better not touch)" and "We're The Crocodile Band". Irwin was featured prominently on the cover and throughout the movie.

In 2006, Irwin provided his voice for the 2006 animated film Happy Feet, as an elephant seal named Trev. The film was dedicated to Irwin, as he died during post-production.[10] Another, previously incomplete scene, featuring Steve providing the voice of an Albatross and essentially playing himself, was restored to the DVD release.

Animal Planet ended The Crocodile Hunter with a series finale entitled "Steve's Last Adventure." The last Crocodile Hunter documentary spanned three hours with footage of Irwin's across-the-world adventure in locations including the Himalayas, the Yangtze River, Borneo, and the Kruger National Park. Irwin went on to star in other Animal Planet documentaries, including The Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets.

As a part of the United States' "Australia Week" celebrations in January 2006, Irwin appeared at the Pauley Pavilion, UCLA in Los Angeles, California. During an interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Irwin announced that Discovery Kids would be developing a show for his daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin.[11] The show, Jungle Girl, was tipped to be similar to The Wiggles movies, with songs that surround a story. A feature-length episode of Australian kids TV show The Wiggles entitled "Wiggly Safari" appears dedicated to Irwin, and he's featured in it heavily with his wife and daughter. The show includes the song "Crocodile Hunter, Big Steve Irwin".

In 2006, the American network The Travel Channel had begun to show a series of specials starring Irwin and his family as they travelled on cross-country tours.

Irwin was also involved in several media campaigns. He enthusiastically joined with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to promote Australia's strict quarantine/customs requirements, with advertisements and posters featuring slogans such as, "Quarantine Matters! Don't muck with it". His payments for these advertising campaigns were directed into his wildlife fund.[12]

In 2004, he was appointed ambassador for The Ghan, the passenger train running from Adelaide to Alice Springs in the central Australian outback, when the line was extended all the way to Darwin on the northern coast that year. For some time he was sponsored by Toyota.[13]

He was also a keen promoter for Australian tourism in general and Queensland tourism in particular. In 2002, the Australia Zoo was voted Queensland's top tourist attraction.[14] His immense popularity in the United States meant he often promoted Australia as a tourist destination there.[15]

In 2001, Irwin was awarded the Centenary Medal for his "service to global conservation and to Australian tourism".[16] In 2004, he was recognised as Tourism Export of the Year.[17] He was also nominated in 2004 for Australian of the Year, an honour which was won by Australian Cricket Captain Steve Waugh. Shortly before his death, he was to be named an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland's School of Integrative Biology.[18] On 14 November 2007 Irwin was awarded the adjunct professorship posthumously by the University of Queensland.[19] In May 2007, the Rwandan Government announced that it would name a baby gorilla after Steve Irwin as a tribute to his work in wildlife conservation.[20] The Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre in Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary was named by the Kerala government after late Steve Irwin.[21]

Irwin was a passionate conservationist and believed in promoting environmentalism by sharing his excitement about the natural world rather than preaching to people. He was concerned with conservation of endangered animals and land clearing leading to loss of habitat. He considered conservation to be the most important part of his work: "I consider myself a wildlife warrior. My mission is to save the world's endangered species."[14] Irwin bought "large tracts of land" in Australia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the United States, which he described as "like national parks" and stressed the importance of people realising that they could each make a difference.[22]

He had urged people to take part in considerate tourism and not support illegal poaching through the purchase of items such as turtle shells or shark-fin soup.[23]

He founded the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, which was later renamed Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, and became an independent charity. He was described after his death by the CEO of RSPCA Queensland as a "modern-day Noah," and British naturalist David Bellamy lauded his skills as a natural historian and media performer.[24] Irwin and his father discovered a new species of turtle that now bears his name, Elseya irwini - Irwin's Turtle - a species of turtle found on the coast of Queensland.[25]

He also helped to found a number of other projects, such as the International Crocodile Rescue, as well as the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund, in memory of his mother (who was in a fatal car crash in 2000), with proceeds going to the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

Irwin, however, was criticised for having an unsophisticated view of conservation in Australia that seemed more linked to tourism than to the problems Australia faces as a continent.

In response to questions of Australia's problems with overgrazing, salinity, and erosion, Irwin responded, "Cows have been on our land for so long that Australia has evolved to handle those big animals." The Sydney Morning Herald concluded with the opinion that his message was confusing and amounted to "eating roos and crocs is bad for tourism, and therefore more cruel than eating other animals".[26]

According to Terri, Sir David Attenborough was an inspiration to Irwin. When presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to Attenborough after Irwin's death at the British National Television Awards on 31 October 2006 Terri stated "If there's one person who directly inspired my husband it's the person being honoured tonight." She went on to say "[Steve's] real, true love was conservation - and the influence of tonight's recipient in preserving the natural world has been immense."[27] Sir David reciprocated with praising Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator."[6]

In 1992, Irwin married Terri Raines from Eugene, Oregon, United States. The pair had met a few months earlier, when Terri had visited the zoo on a holiday; according to both of them, it was love at first sight. Terri said at the time, "I thought there was no one like this anywhere in the world. He sounded like an environmental Tarzan, a larger-than-life superhero guy."[28] Although he and Terri were happily married, they did not wear wedding rings; in their line of work, wearing jewelery could pose a hazard to them and/or the animals.[29]Together they had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin (born 24 July 1998), and a son, Robert Clarence "Bob" (named after Irwin's father) Irwin (born 1 December 2003). Bindi Sue is jointly named after two of Steve Irwin's favourite animals: Bindi, a saltwater crocodile, and Sui, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who died in June 2004.

Irwin was as enthusiastic about his family as he was about his work. He once described his daughter Bindi as "the reason [he] was put on the Earth." His wife once said, "The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the people he loves even more."[1]

Terri Irwin recently reported that Steve had an ongoing premonition that he would die before he reached age 40.[30] She wrote about this in her book Steve and Me about their lives together.[31]

A controversial incident occurred during a public show on 2 January 2004, when Irwin carried his one-month-old son, Bob, in his arm while hand-feeding a chicken carcass to Murray, a 3.8-metre (12 ft 6 in) saltwater crocodile. The infant was close to the crocodile, and comparisons were made in the press to Michael Jackson's dangling his son outside a German hotel window.[32] In addition, child welfare groups, animal rights groups, and some of Irwin's television viewers criticised his actions as irresponsible and tantamount to child abuse.[33] Irwin apologised on the US NBC Today Show.[34] Both he and his wife publicly stated that Irwin was in complete control of the situation, as he had dealt with crocodiles since he was a small child, and based on his lifetime of experience neither he nor his son were in any danger. He also showed footage of the event shot from a different angle, demonstrating that they were much further from the crocodile than they had appeared in the publicised clip.[35] Terri Irwin said their child was in no more danger than one being taught to swim. No charges were filed; according to one journalist, Irwin told officials he would not repeat the action.[36] The incident prompted the Queensland government to change its crocodile-handling laws, banning children and untrained adults from entering crocodile enclosures.[37]

In June 2004, allegations were made that he disturbed wildlife (namely whales, seals and penguins) while filming a documentary, Ice Breaker, in Antarctica. The matter was subsequently closed without charges being filed.[38]

After Irwin's death, the vessel MV Robert Hunter owned by the environmental action group Sea Shepherd was renamed MV Steve Irwin in Steve's honour.[39] Sea Shepherd is a controversial[40][41] environmentalist group that conducts direct action operations including the sinking of whaling ships to protect marine species and environments. Shortly before his death, Irwin had been investigating joining their 2007/08 voyage to Antarctica to disrupt Japanese whaling activity. Following his death, as an alternative the renaming of the vessel was suggested by Sea Shepherd and endorsed by his widow Terri.[42]

After questions arose about Irwin being paid $175,000 worth of taxpayers' money to appear in a television advertisement and his possible political ties, Irwin told ABC that he was a conservationist and did not choose sides in politics.

His comments describing Australian Prime Minister John Howard as the "greatest leader in the world" earned him scorn in the media.[43]

In November 2003, Irwin was filming a documentary on sea lions off the coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula when he heard via his boat's radio that two scuba divers were reported missing in the area. Irwin and his entire crew suspended operations to aid in the search. His team's divers searched with the rescue divers, and Irwin used his vessel to patrol the waters around the island where the incident occurred, as well as using his satellite communications system to call in a rescue plane. On the second day of the search, kayakers found one of the divers, Scott Jones, perched on a narrow rock ledge jutting out from the side of a cliff. Irwin and a crewmember escorted him to Irwin's boat. Jones did not recognise his celebrity rescuer, as he had never seen Irwin on television. The other lost diver, Katie Vrooman, was found dead by a search plane later the same day not far from Jones' location.[44]

Having grown up in Essendon, Irwin was a fan of the Essendon Bombers, an Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League.[45] Irwin took part in an Australian Rules football promotion in Los Angeles as part of "Australia Week" in early 2006.[46] After his death, a picture of Irwin wearing a Bombers Guernsey was shown by ESPN.com in their Bottom 10 ranking of the worst Division I FBS college football teams after Week 1 of the season in tribute to him.[47]

Like many Australians, he was a big cricket fan. This was seen during his visit to Sri Lanka where he played cricket with some local kids and saying "I love cricket" and "It's a shame we have to go catch some snakes now". This was seen during the Crocodile Hunter episode "Island of the Snakes".[48]

Living in Queensland most of his life, Irwin was also a fan of rugby league. As a teenager, he played for the Caloundra Sharks as a second-rower,[49] and as an adult he was known to be a passionate Brisbane Broncos fan and was involved with the club on several occasions. On one occasion after turning up to training he asked if he could tackle the largest player, Shane Webcke. Despite being thrown to the ground and looking like he'd been crushed he was jovial about the experience. Irwin laughingly shared the experience with the Queensland State of Origin squad before the 2006 series.[50] Irwin also supported rugby union, being a fan of the national team, the Wallabies. He once wore a Wallaby jersey during a demonstration at the zoo. A behind-the-scenes episode of The Crocodile Hunter showed Irwin and the crew finding a gas station in a remote part of Namibia to watch the Wallabies defeat France in the 1999 Rugby World Cup Final. Irwin was also a talented surfer.[51]

Irwin loved mixed martial arts competitions and trained with Greg Jackson in the fighting/grappling system of Gaidojutsu.[52]

On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in north Queensland. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi Irwin was hosting,[57] when, according to his friend and colleague, John Stainton, he swam too close to one of the stingrays. "He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat the Croc One.

The events were caught on camera, and a copy of the footage was handed to the Queensland Police.[58] After reviewing the footage of the incident and speaking to the cameraman who recorded it, marine documentary filmmaker and former spearfisherman Ben Cropp speculated that the stingray "felt threatened because Steve was alongside and there was the cameraman ahead." In such a case, the stingray responds to danger by automatically flexing the serrated spine on its tail (which can measure up to 25 cm/10 in in length) in an upward motion.

Cropp said Irwin had accidentally boxed the animal in. "It stopped and twisted and threw up its tail with the spike, and it caught him in the chest. It's a defensive thing. It's like being stabbed with a dirty dagger." The stinging of Irwin by the bull ray was "a one-in-a-million thing," Cropp told Time magazine. "I have swum with many rays, and I have only had one do that to me..."[59]

Initially, when Irwin's colleague, John Stainton, was interviewed by CNN's Larry King late on 4 September 2006 he denied the suggestion that Irwin had pulled the spine out of his chest, or that he had seen footage of the event, insisting that the anecdote was "absolute rubbish."[60] The following day, when he first described the video to the media, he stated, "Steve came over the top of the ray and the tail came up, and spiked him here [in the chest], and he pulled it out and the next minute he's gone."[58]

It is thought, in the absence of a coroner's report, that a combination of the toxins and the puncture wound from the spine caused Irwin to die of cardiac arrest, with most damage being inflicted by tears to arteries or other main blood vessels.[61] A similar incident in Florida a month later in which a man survived a stingray barb through the heart suggested that Irwin's removal of the barb might have caused or hastened his death.[62] The coroner's report has not yet been released.

Crew members aboard his boat called the emergency services in the nearest city of Cairns and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to the nearby Low Islets to meet an emergency rescue helicopter. However, despite the best efforts of Irwin's crew, medical staff pronounced him dead when they arrived a short time later.[57] According to Dr Ed O'Loughlin, who treated Irwin, "it became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries. He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest. He had lost his pulse and wasn't breathing."[63]

Irwin's body was flown to a morgue in Cairns. His wife, Terri Irwin, was on a walking tour in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania at the time, and returned via a private plane from Devonport to the Sunshine Coast with their two children.[57]

Fatalities due to stingrays are infrequent and occurrences are not consistently collated.[64] The attack on Irwin is believed to be the only fatality from a stingray ever captured on film.[65]

Stainton told CNN's Larry King "[The tape] should be destroyed".[66] In an ABC interview with Barbara Walters, Irwin's wife Terri said she has not seen the film of her husband's deadly encounter with the stingray and that it would not be shown on television.[67] On 3 January 2007, the only video footage showing the events that led to Irwin's death was handed over to Terri, who said that the video would never become public, and noted her family has not seen the video either.[68] In a 11 January 2007 interview with Access Hollywood, Terri said that "all footage has been destroyed."[69] Despite these statements, numerous videos, including screamers, surfaced on sites such as YouTube claiming to be footage of Irwin's death. Several pictures have also surfaced on Google Images.

Production was completed on Ocean's Deadliest, which aired for the first time on the Discovery Channel on 21 January 2007. The documentary was completed with footage shot in the weeks following the accident.[70] According to Stainton, "Anything to do with the day that he died, that film is not available."[71] Perhaps to maintain the film's original purpose as a nature documentary and prevent it from becoming a documentary of Irwin's final days, his death is not mentioned in the film, aside from a still image of Irwin at the end alongside the text "In Memory of Steve Irwin".

News of his death prompted widespread worldwide shock. Australian Prime Minister John Howard expressed his "shock and distress" at the death, saying that "Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son."[72] Queensland Premier Peter Beattie commented in a Channel Seven television interview that Irwin "will be remembered as not just a great Queenslander, but a great Australian".[73] Several Australian news websites went down because of high web traffic and for the first time the top 10 list of most viewed stories for Fairfax Digital news sites were swept by one topic.[74] Talk-back radio experienced a high volume of callers expressing their grief.[75] Flags at the Sydney Harbour were lowered to half staff in honour of Irwin.[76]

The U.S. feed of the Animal Planet cable television channel aired a special tribute to Steve Irwin that started on Monday, 4 September 2006. The tribute continued with the Animal Planet channel showing highlights of Irwin's more than 200 appearances on Discovery Networks shows.[77]

On the evening of his death, Enough Rope re-broadcast an interview between Irwin and Andrew Denton originally broadcast in 2003. CNN showed a repeat of his interview on Larry King Live, originally recorded in 2004. The Australian federal parliament opened on 5 September 2006 with condolence speeches by both the Prime Minister John Howard and the Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley. The Seven Network aired a television memorial show as a tribute to Irwin on 5 September 2006,[78] as did the Nine Network on 6 September 2006.

Jay Leno delivered a tribute to Irwin, describing him as a great ambassador of Australia. Irwin appeared on Leno's talk show on more than ten occasions.[79] There were also tributes on Live with Regis & Kelly and Barbara Walters' The View; on the former show, Kelly Ripa came close to tears with her praise of Irwin.[79]

Hundreds of people visited Australia Zoo to pay tribute to the deceased entertainer and conservationist. The day after his death, the volume of people visiting the zoo to pay their respects affected traffic so much that police reduced the speed limit around the Glass House Mountains Road and told motorists to expect delays.[80] BBC reported on 13 September 2006 that thousands of fans have been to Australia Zoo since Irwin's death, bringing flowers, candles, stuffed animals and messages of support.[81]

In the weeks after his death, Irwin's conservation foundation Wildlife Warriors reported that thousands of people from around the world were offering their support via donations to the conservation group.

In the weeks following Irwin's death, at least ten stingrays were found dead and mutilated, with their tails cut off, on the beaches of Queensland, prompting speculation that they had been killed by fans of Irwin as an act of revenge. Michael Hornby, a friend of the late naturalist and executive director of Irwin's Wildlife Warrior fund, condemned any revenge killings.

"We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who's taken a form of retribution. That's the last thing Steve would want," he said.[82]

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie extended the offer of a state funeral to Irwin's family, an honour also agreed to by Prime Minister John Howard. The family decided that such a funeral wouldn't be appropriate, a sentiment echoed by many Australians outside media and political circles. Steve Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, stated that his son would not have wanted such an honour, and would want to be remembered as an "ordinary bloke."[83] Beattie stated he would honour the decision of the Irwin family regarding their arrangements. Irwin was farewelled by family and friends at a private funeral service held at Caloundra on the afternoon of 9 September.[84] The naturalist was buried in a private ceremony at the zoo on the same day.[81]

A public service was held at the 5,500-seat Crocoseum at Australia Zoo on Wednesday morning 20 September 2006. The service was broadcast live, commercial free, in the eastern states of Australia, by free-to-air channels Seven, Nine and the ABC in Australia, as well as live on subscription channel Sky News Australia. In addition, it was broadcast live around the world, particularly the United States, where the service was broadcast commercial free on Animal Planet, as well as to Asia and Germany. A BBC camera crew was also sent especially to Australia to cover the memorial service for the United Kingdom. It is estimated that over 300 million viewers worldwide watched the service.[85] The memorial was also rebroadcast on Animal Planet on 1 January 2007 as part of their New Year's Day celebration, and again the following day.

Messages from around the world came from people including Hugh Jackman, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Kelly Ripa and Larry King. Costner called him a fearless man who was brave enough to let people see him as he was.[86]

Prime Minister John Howard made an early speech at the service, as did Irwin's father Bob and his daughter Bindi.

Wes Mannion and John Stainton also made speeches and David Wenham read a poem.[86] Anthony Field from The Wiggles partly hosted the service, often sharing the screen with various animals, from koalas to elephants, and Australian music star John Williamson sang True Blue, which was Irwin's favourite song. Professor Craig Franklin of the University of Queensland told the crowd that the university was about to make Irwin an adjunct professor for his contributions to the study of crocodiles.[87] In a symbolic finish to the service, Irwin's truck was loaded up with gear and driven out of the arena for the last time as Williamson sang.

In a final tribute, Australia Zoo staff spelled out Irwin's catchphrase "Crikey" in yellow flowers as Irwin's truck was driven from the "Crocoseum" for the last time to end the service. Flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge flew at half mast on the day of the memorial service.

The state's forest and wildlife department is perhaps the first government body in the world to name a memorial after Irwin, whose documentaries on wildlife and reptiles endeared him to thousands of viewers. The centre is now called the Steve Irwin Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre.

On 4 September 2007, Australian fans gathered at the Irwin family zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland to commemorate the first anniversary of Irwin's death. State Premier Peter Beattie described Irwin as one of the state's greatest cultural ambassadors. On 15 November, Irwin's widow Terri and children, Bindi and Bob, remembered his life and achievements on "Steve Irwin Day."[91]

Dan Mathews, vice-president of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said it was "no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal". He added that "Irwin made his career out of antagonising frightened wild animals, that's a very dangerous message to send to children." He also made a comparison with another well known conservationist: "If you compare him with a responsible conservationist like Jacques Cousteau, he looks like a cheap reality TV star."[92][93] The son of Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau, also a producer of wildlife documentaries, also took issue with Irwin's hands-on approach to nature television. Cousteau said, "You don't touch nature, you just look at it." Although it "goes very well on television", Irwin's approach would "interfere with nature, jump on animals, grab them, hold them, and have this very, very spectacular, dramatic way of presenting things" which Cousteau felt is "very misleading".[94] Jacques Cousteau's grandson, Philippe Cousteau Jr., however, was himself working with Irwin on the "Ocean's Deadliest" documentary at the time of Irwin's death, and later described him as "a remarkable individual." Describing their project, he said, "I think why Steve was so excited about it that we were looking at these animals that people think of as, you know, dangerous and deadly monsters, and they're not. They all have an important place in the environment and in the world. And that was what his whole message was about."[95] In September 2006, on the evening after Steve Irwin's death, Australian radio announcer and journalist Brian Carlton raised issues concerning Irwin's treatment of animals, criticising Irwin for regularly harassing and provoking them in his documentaries.

Steve Irwin. (2009, May 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:18, May 26, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Steve_Irwin&oldid=292454181

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