I’m quite saddened by the freak accident that took the life of The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. My thoughts go out first and foremost to his family, who must be devastated, despite the constant risks Irwin faced in his professional life. The Australian government has offered to give him a state funeral, should his family so choose.
The impact Irwin had on conservation awareness will be a great loss. His methods were unorthodox, to say the least, and probably more than a little reckless. But that Aussie bravado did something the more tame animal experts out there (like the imminently respectable Jack Hanna) could not — reach a broad audience with a conservation message. Irwin’s antics thrilled audiences, and in the process, held their attention long enough to educate them, even a little, about the need to care for and protect all species, even the unlovable ones. Irwin found “real beauties” among the venomous, the dangerous, and the irrationally hated creatures of the world. Would that his example translated into our dealings with humans as well.
I don’t know what, if anything, the afterlife holds, but it isn’t too difficult to imagine the Crocodile Hunter explaining to others at the Pearly Gates that the “amaaaazing stingray” was only doing “what Nature created it to do.” So were you, Steve, and we thank you for it.