Steve Irwin, famous for being the Crocodile Hunter, was killed today while filming off of the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44. He was filming a segment for a show called “The Ocean’s Deadliest” when he swam too close to a stingray. “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, friend & colleague who was on board Irwin’s boat at the time. From the Yahoo News article:
“The guy was incredible. His knowledge was incredible,” Hanna said. “Some people that are doing this stuff are actors and that type of thing, but Steve was truly a zoologist, so to speak, a person who knew what he was doing. Yes, he did things a lot of people wouldn’t do. I think he knew what he was doing.”
Irwin’s ebullience was infectious and Australian officials sought him out for photo opportunities and to promote Australia internationally.
His public image was dented, however, in 2004 when he caused an uproar by holding his infant son in one arm while feeding large crocodiles inside a zoo pen. Irwin claimed at the time there was no danger to the child, and authorities declined to charge Irwin with violating safety regulations.
Later that year, he was accused of getting too close to penguins, a seal and humpback whales in Antarctica while making a documentary. Irwin denied any wrongdoing, and an Australian Environment Department investigation recommended no action be taken against him.
We are very sorry to hear of his death, of anyone’s death. However, I am going to need to say something here.Â I find it appalling how animals are used as a form of entertainment. Education is one thing, but death-defying acts are another. We should not be surprised when animals act like animals. They should be treated with respect. Our thoughts go out to Irwin’s family, and hope that we all can learn from this horrible incident.