Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Croikey, we miss him already

'Crocodile Hunter' Irwin Killed by Stingray

Sept. 4, 2006 — Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam near one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.

"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 at the time.

Crew members aboard the boat, Croc One, called emergency services in the nearest city, Cairns, and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to nearby Low Isle to meet a rescue helicopter. Medical staff pronounced Irwin dead when they arrived a short time later, Stainton said.

Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchword "Crikey!" in his television program "Crocodile Hunter." First broadcast in Australia in 1992, the program was picked up by the Discovery network, catapulting Irwin to international celebrity.

"Steve was beloved by millions of fans and animal lovers around the world and was one of our planet's most passionate conservationists," said Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Networks, in a statement available on the Web here.

He rode his image into a feature film, 2002's "The Crocodile Hunters: Collision Course" and developed the wildlife park that his parents opened, Australia Zoo, into a major tourist attraction.

"The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the planet," Stainton told reporters in Cairns. "He died doing what he loved best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. He would have said, 'Crocs Rule!'" ...

Irwin, who made a trademark of hovering dangerously close to untethered crocodiles and leaping on their backs, spoke in rapid-fire bursts with a thick Australian accent and was almost never seen without his uniform of khaki shorts and shirt and heavy boots.

His ebullience was infectious and Australian officials sought him out for photo opportunities and to promote Australia internationally.

Steve Irwin, conservationist, environmentalist, and hero to millions, this pandologist included--so much so that "Croikey, that was a clooose one!!" and "Yer allroight, there's a good fella!" to this day are oft exclaimed around pandodysssey HQ (ie, my place). I credit Steve Irwin with much of my early education to conservation. He was a darn good surfer too, catching overhead waves in his khaki shorts and boots! Here's a link to a lengthy (but not too depressing) Australian news clip and tribute on youtube to the crocodile hunter and a link to the article of appreciation.

Thanks Steve for letting us all share in your world. Croikey we'll miss you.


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