STORIES
Animals Heroes

Steve Irwin

by Cassidy from San Diego

Steve Irwin holding a crocodile. (http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/oceans-deadliest/steve-irwin/steve-irwin_zoom.html)
Steve Irwin holding a crocodile. (http://animal.discovery.com/convergence/oceans-deadliest/steve-irwin/steve-irwin_zoom.html)

Most people knew Steve Irwin simply as “the Crocodile Hunter.” His show, titled by the same name, first aired in America on Animal Planet in 1996 and boasted an audience of greater than 500 million viewers in over 120 different countries by the time of his tragic death in 2006. From a humble beginning, Irwin was born on February 22, 1962 near Melbourne, Australia. His parents were naturalists who founded the Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970 and instilled in him a passion for wildlife that later became his vocation. Irwin grew up feeding and caring for the animals in the park. In 1991, he inherited the family wildlife park and renamed it Australia Zoo. He married wildlife activist Terri Raines, an American, in 1992 and the footage from their honeymoon became the inspiration for the first episode of the popular Animal Planet series. On the program, Irwin was portrayed as “the Crocodile Hunter,” an affable Aussie who loved all species of animals. In reality, Steve Irwin was much more than just “the Crocodile Hunter.” He was a “wildlife warrior” whose main goal in life was to protect and preserve the amazing and unique animals of the world.

Steve Irwin promoted the beauty of wildlife in all ways possible in order to save them from extinction. To protect endangered species from elimination and preserve them for future generations, his wildlife preserve, Australia Zoo, created many captive breeding programs (Honovich). Establishing this preserve demonstrates his zeal for earth’s creatures. Irwin believed he was placed on the Earth to conserve wildlife: “The protection of wildlife was his calling, his vocation, and he attacked it with the kind of fervor that made the most apathetic viewer less so” (York). His passion and enthusiasm for wildlife affected all his viewers and made them look at all animals differently. He has earned the admiration of many and even his critics stated that, “the Aussie’s high profile has helped to call public attention to wildlife conservation concerns” (Amerman). In 2002, Irwin and his wife starred in the motion picture The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (World Book Student). During the course of the movie, the Irwins, playing themselves, attempt to protect a crocodile from “poachers,” who they believe were after the creature’s hide, or skin (Williams). The fact that the Irwins created a movie in order to promote conservation and promote public awareness of the illegal trade in animal hides displays the extent of their commitment to this cause. Also, the Irwins donated all of the profit made from this movie to wildlife conservation (Williams). They had the opportunity to make a large amount of money on this movie but instead, they chose to contribute all the revenue to the protection of wildlife. This act of selflessness demonstrates Irwin’s passion for the world’s creatures and this passion for wildlife became evident in every aspect of his life.

Steve Irwin posing with a stonefish (http://news.aol.ca/article/Dad-Says-Crocodile-Hunter-Suffered/187673/)
Steve Irwin posing with a stonefish (http://news.aol.ca/article/Dad-Says-Crocodile-Hunter-Suffered/187673/)

Irwin took whatever steps were necessary to save animals’ native habitat. “He bought up land all over Australia to return them to their natural state” (Encyclopedia of World Biography). This demonstrates his dedication to the animals he loved so dearly. This fact supported his belief that animals could only be saved by restoring their native habitat. Irwin often reiterated this principle by reminding his viewers of the importance of conservation each week on his show “The Crocodile Hunter.” Irwin’s passion for preserving wildlife can be seen in his own charitable contributions: “He also donated $1 million annually to his charity, Wildlife Warriors” (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Irwin demonstrated integrity by living out his words and beliefs. Although his show produced millions of dollars in personal profit, he chose to live modestly and fully support the conservation of animals and their habitats.

Irwin constantly put his life on the line in order to protect the earth’s animals, which he saw as simply “beautiful.” He never displayed fear when approaching and handling all types of creatures in order to protect them and reinforce the concept of conservation (Amerman). His viewers consistently saw him handling venomous snakes, crocodiles, and other dangerous creatures to portray their beauty and promote the need to save all wildlife (Amerman). He would look a poisonous snake right in the eye, exclaiming to his television audience, “She’s a real beauty!" His bravery caused his viewers to appreciate the amazing animals in this world and realize that they are not as vile or frightening as they may appear.

Steve Irwin is an inspiration because of his unswerving dedication to his work and the passion he felt toward his cause. “He once stated, ‘I was put on this earth to promote conservation so people can protect wilderness areas, love wildlife, and feel energy, passion, and enthusiasm for our beautiful native animal species’” (Honovich). He also explained, “…we’re into conservation. That’s our passion. That’s my whole drive in life” (Amerman). Both of these statements demonstrate the extent of Irwin’s passion and dedication. He devoted his life to conservation and remained ardent about saving the animals he loved. Due to the work of “wildlife warriors,” like Steve Irwin, global conservation efforts have been successful in preserving natural habitat and the animals that call it home.

Page created on 2/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 2/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter - A bio on steve Irwin.
Australia Zoo: Home of the Crocodile Hunter - The home page for Australia Zoo.