Crikey . . .

Crocodile-Hunter extraordinaire Steve Irwin died yesterday in a freak accident involving a stingray. If you didn’t know, he was the Australian dare-devil environmentalist that appeared non-stop on the Discovery Channel, wrestling crocodiles, poking venomous snakes with sticks, etc.

My dad worked in Australia for a year in 1993 and, when he came back, found Steve Irwin on late, late night TV (one of his first shows). My dad loved watching this guy manhandle horrifically poisonous snakes with nonchalance. For him, I think, Irwin was a mix of the Australian cultural bravado he saw in his time down under and the familiarity with sometimes-dangerous wildlife my dad has from growing up on a farm. I don’t know if Dad read about Irwin’s death . . . but I know he’ll be sad to hear it.

Stingrays aren’t particularly dangerous at all (there are only 17 known recorded deaths by stingray), especially when you compare stingrays to the leading cause of animal-related deaths in the world, crocodiles.

On a random note, Steve Irwin’s death is one of the only things recently I’ve seen reported prominently in the NYT, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and People liked this guy.

4 Responses to Crikey . . .

  1. dbay says:

    Yeah, I was really sad about this! Such a bizarre and unexpected way for him to go too. (If it’d been a crocodile or an alligator, it would’ve been sad, but not surprising.) The stingray could’ve hit him practically any other spot on his entire body and he would’ve recovered, EXCEPT for a direct hit to the heart. To survive the constant crocodile bravado stuff and then be taken out by a stingray fluke…. Hard to process.

    By the way, if he’d been taken out by a crocodile, the comparisons to Timothy Treadwell (‘Grizzly Man’) would’ve poured in. I’m glad at least that that’s not the case.

  2. Matt says:

    I just thought it was strange. What I kept telling people was that I thought he was going to live forever–if he was going to get killed, it would have happened already.

    My sister was a fan, but I didn’t really know anything about him, other than the animal-related risk-taking. And it seemed like the Croc Hunter fad had kind of passed over the last few years. So I’m surprised there’s been as much media attention as there has.

  3. karah says:

    I was in love with this guy. Because he loved those animals. Just the joy in his face when he was talking about how beautiful and awesome they were.

    I think and hope that lot of people who just saw snakes et al as icky scary bad things were infected with his appreciation that they were critters like us, with familes to feed, etc., and just amazing in a “Tyger, tyger burning bright” kind of way. He probably did more for conservation and protection than we will ever know.

    I told Teeny that morning when I read about it that the animals of the world had lost a great friend.

  4. Kirsten says:

    The animals have certainly lost a great friend. Indeed the world has lost an irreplacable advocate and spokesman for conservation and preservation of the misunderstood animals on our planet.

    He was certainly a favorite of mine, but I can’t help thinking about how difficult it must be for his wife and children. The attack was caught on film. Would I as a wife want to see my husband’s last moments on earth if it were possible? Or would it be enough to know that he died doing what he loved.

    I feel personally touched by this tragedy because his cause, giving a voice to animals, is close to my heart.

    “Crikey, what a beaut!” Here’s to you, Steve.

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