In the fourth and penultimate blog of the series, we take a look at one of or if not the most famous animal and environmental conservationists there ever was, Steve Irwin.
Steve Irwin was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist, and television personality, dubbed The Crocodile Hunter. Irwin gained global notoriety from the television show The Crocodile Hunter (1996–2007); an international animal documentary show he co-hosted with his spouse Terri. The pair also created Croc Files (1999–2001), The Crocodile Hunter Diaries (2002–2006) and New Breed of Vets (2005). They also owned and operated Australia Zoo, established in Beerwah by Irwin's relatives, about 80 kilometres south of Brisbane's Queensland state capital.
Irwin was born on his mother's birthday to Lyn and Bob Irwin in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne. In 1970, he relocated to Queensland with his relatives as a kid, attending Landsborough State School and Caloundra State High School. Irwin’s father was described as an expert in herpetology (a branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians) while his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. Bob and Lyn Irwin began the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park after relocating to Queensland, where Steve grew up around crocodiles and other animals.
Steve was involved in the park from the get-go, taking part in animal feeding as well as general maintenance jobs and on his 6th birthday, he was given a 12-foot scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age. Irwin took over the management of the park in 1991 and renamed it Australia Zoo in 1998.
Marriage and family
In 1991, Irwin met with Terri Raines, an American naturalist from Eugene, Oregon, who visited Australia's centres for wildlife rehabilitation and chose to visit the zoo. It was love at first sight, according to the pair. They were engaged four months later and got married in Eugene on 4 June 1992. They had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin (born 24 July 1998), and a son, Robert Clarence (named after Irwin's father) Irwin (born 1 December 2003).
The Crocodile Hunter and related work
Steve and Terri trapped crocodiles together on their honeymoon. The film footage on their honeymoon then became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. The show premiered on Australian television screens in 1996 and launched the following year on North American television. The Crocodile Hunter excelled in reaching 500 million individuals in the United States, the United Kingdom, and over 130 other nations.
Irwin starred in other documentaries on Animal Planet, including Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed of Vets. In an interview with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in January 2006, Irwin announced that Discovery Kids would be creating a show for his sister, Bindi Sue Irwin – a project made after his death as the Bindi the Jungle Girl series.