The loss of Steve Irwin

Today Steve Irwin was fatally wounded by a stingray barb today, and passed away. He was known to most people as the Crocodile Hunter and has influenced an entire world with his work with animals.

I can’t remember the first time I saw a TV show with him, but it was many, many years ago. I, as many others, was so positively taken by his sincere love for animals, his engagement in the animal kingdom and his beaming personality. People from all over the world have, with great interest and joy, followed his endeavours and his travels.

When Fredrika and I travelled around the world in 2002, a given stop in Australia was to visit Steve and Terri Irwins’ Australia Zoo. It is a wonderful place with all kinds of animals, and, naturally, an emphasis on crocodiles. Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to see Steve or Terri there, but nevertheless it was an experience we’ll never forget!

Some people will always say that the accident that happened today was bound to happen, one day or another. Personally, I don’t believe that. I am of the conviction that Steve had the greatest respect for animals, that he always knew what he was doing and that he would take any precautions necessary. As I understand it, it was extremely unlikely that such an accident as the one today would occur, and that it would sadly be fatal.

Since I first heard of what had happened today, I’ve been feeling sad that yet another good person who literally changed the world into a better place has passed away. All I can think of right now is the tremendous work and the amazing feats Steve accomplished for a lot of animals, and also of his poor wife and his children that will be left without their beloved dad.

Goodbye Steve. Thank you so much for what you have given us, and the world!

You will be dearly missed.

18 Comments

  • Lachlan Hunt says:

    There are a lot of people, particularly in Australia, that disagree with you about Steve’s respect for animals. Of course, they acknowledge that he has done quite a lot of good things in his life and mean no disrepect to him or his family–it certainly is a tragedy, but many people accused him of harassing (not harming) the animals to get the shots he wanted for his documentaries.

    For instance, unlike others such as David Attenborough who just observe the animals in their natural habitat without any interference, Steve always threw himself into the action to get a direct reaction from the animals. Indeed, there are many examples of this where he’ll jump on crocs, grab snakes or prod the animals sticks.

    In fact, there is even speculation about what exactly he was doing that provoked the attack from the Sting Ray, which apparently aren’t normally agressive. The current theory I’ve heard is that the Sting Ray must have felt cornered by Steve on one side and the camerman on the other, who were just way too close, and so lashed out as a means to escape.

  • Brian says:

    I agree completely with everything you've written about Steve Irwin. We've lost a great champion of wildlife, the environment, and conservation. Sure, his methods were somewhat controversial but he certainly had a respect for the creatures he documented. Even moreso, however, he displayed a great love for these creatures. He will be missed.

  • Phil Sherry says:

    I thought he was cool. I'm sure that's how he'd want to go, though, rather than being knocked over by a car, or dying in his sleep, or something unmanly like that.

  • Ray says:

    There is also another guy that studied bears, he got killed by one of them. You could get obsessed with the animals, and forget safety measures. It can cost your life.

    I think helping animals is great but I dont like the concept of zoos as *to display them for the public*. Animals can co-exist with people but this depends on the species too. Animals dont like the presence of humans all of the time. We can talk this for granted, and be surprised that the animal’s instincts work and they could attack us.

    I think it is great that people care for animals, if they know what they are doing (eg biologists, scientific people) but also animals need their privacy, and remember we are different from them. We can make friends with them, but we need to keep our distance too.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Lachlan,

    First, I really appreciate the tone and respect in your comment. I know people who don't share my opinion about how he treated animlas, and they may very well be right; it's just my peronal take of it.

    I think one need to also be aware that the camera isn't always on, but that there is instead a lot of preparations before they shoot his sequences with the animals, so it wasn't always just the "let's-jump-on-the-animal" experience.

    Regarding the accident: yes, I've also read that it seems like he accidentally cornered the sting ray, and therefore it defended itself.

    Brian,

    I'm glad that you share my opinions and respect for Steve.

    Phil,

    Yes, I guess you're right. If he had to go, that was probably the way. But being a parent, the thought of dying and leaving your children behind, no matter the way, is unimaginably terrible.

    Ray,

    Absolutely, I agree with you. We have to show animals as much respect and empathy as possible.

    The topic of zoos is a hard one: it's good to have zoos so people become more aware and don't want to harm animals, but at the same time it's vital to also keep the animal's best in mind.

  • As I understand it, it was extremely unlikely that such an accident as the one today would occur, and that it would sadly be fatal.

    True; the stingray's natural defense is to swim away, it rarely ever attacks. However, it's believed that Steve was on one side of the stingray, and his mate was on the other side, so the theory is that it felt 'closed-in' and lashed it's tail in an effort to scare them away. Unfortunately, it caught Steve in the chest, puncturing his heart.

    As an Australian, Steve Irwin really was an idol/role model for not just kids, but everyone. This is reflected by the hundreds, if not thousands of people, of all ages, who headed to Australia Zoo today to lay their respects to Steve Irwin and his family in the form of flowers and such.

    R.I.P Steve "The Croc Hunter" Irwin.

  • Or should I say…

    As an Australian, I know first hand that Steve Irwin was…*

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Hayden,

    As an Australian, Steve Irwin really was an idol/role model for not just kids, but everyone.

    Yes, it is amazing to see how he has affected all kinds of people.

  • web says:

    I agree — he will be missed.

    Some people will always say that the accident that happened today was bound to happen, one day or another. Personally, I don’t believe that. I am of the conviction that Steve had the greatest respect for animals, that he always knew what he was doing and that he would take any precautions necessary.

    IMO you can take all the precautions in the world — that just lessens your risk, does not remove it completely. These are wild animals and sometimes they act differently that what the book says — or you have experience 10,000 times before.

    Every time he got in the water with Crocodiles/Sharks/etc. it was a roll of the dice — its only a matter of time before you "crap out".

    He will be missed.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    web,

    IMO you can take all the precautions in the world — that just lessens your risk, does not remove it completely.

    Definitely. But this applies to pretty much everything in life; driving a car, crossing a street etc. Life itself seems to be a roll of the dice sometimes.

  • I believe the critics of Steve Irwin have missed the point that, by handling and occaissonally 'harrassing' potentially deadly creatures and showing they do not have some innate desire to harm all humans, has done immeasurable good for the conservation of mother nature's less cuddly species.

    The world has lost a great ambassador and personality, but that pales into insignificance against the loss suffered by his young family, very sad.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Steve,

    I believe the critics of Steve Irwin have missed the point that, by handling and occaissonally ‘harrassing’ potentially deadly creatures and showing they do not have some innate desire to harm all humans, has done immeasurable good for the conservation of mother nature’s less cuddly species.

    Good point. I think it has been good to show that also animals who aren't cute to look at aren't necessary evil and just out to hurt you because of that.

  • Amy Hite says:

    hi am so sorry that your husband has died

  • David james says:

    The untimely passing of Steve Irwin is a great tragedy. This has effected my family more than I could have imagined; he has been a great influence on myself and my two boys. The world will never be the same. In the past, I have dealt with this type of emotional pain through music. Being a song writer and composer, I have written musical compositions and songs to honour friends, family, and fallen heroes to ease the pain and commemorate the contributions they've made in life. Steve falls under the obvious catagory of "HERO." Please accept and share with the world this musical tribute in honour of the great "CROCODILE HUNTER" Steve Irwin.. WE LOVE YOU STEVE!!!!

    Sincerely:

    David James

    P.S. – You can visit me at: http://www.davidjamesmusic.net
    and download the musical tribute "THE MIGHTY STEVE"

  • The Discovery Channel headquarters is here in Silver Spring, MD. They have announced that the garden space in front of the building will be renamed in Steve's honor. If anyone is interested, I will be covering the event and posting about it on DC Metroblogging when it happens.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    David, Douglas,

    Thanks for letting us know!

  • ixgames says:

    He lived his life on the edge…..RIP Steve (I loved his shows)

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