Australian wildlife conservationist and TV presenter Steve Irwin's 57th birthday has been marked with an elaborate Google Doodle that encapsulates the highlights of the famed 'Crocodile Hunter's' life and work.
Irwin's death in 2006, at the age of 44, shocked the world; he had been filming a series on the ocean's deadliest creatures off Batt Reef, Queensland, when he suffered a fatal attack from a stingray. He was survived by his wife and partner in wildlife conservancy work, Terri Raines, and children Bindi and Robert.
Irwin was born on 22 February 1962 in Victoria, Australia, and was trained to handle reptiles at a very early age by his father, who is described as "a wildlife expert with an interest in herpetology". Steve Irwin handled his first snake by the age of six, by nine he was wrestling crocodiles.
The Google Doodle post for Steve Irwin notes:
During the early 1970s, the Irwins moved to the Sunshine Coast in the Australian State of Queensland and opened Beerwah Reptile Park.
Learning to wrestle crocodiles since the age of nine, Irwin volunteered with Queensland's East Coast Crocodile Management Programme, helping to capture and relocate endangered saltwater crocodiles — the largest of all living reptiles — to protect them from being harmed. He was involved in all aspects of managing his family’s park, which was renamed Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, and eventually the Australia Zoo.
Australia Zoo — which now covers over 1,000 acres — houses more than 1,200 animals. Terry Raines Irwin notes: "We protect nearly half a million acres of habitat, and our non-profit organisation supports conservation projects around the world. We even have a Wildlife Hospital that has treated over 82,000 sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife, solely to return them back to the wild."
Terri, a naturalist, met Steve Irwin when she visited the Australia Zoo in 1991. She remembered being struck by his courage and enthusiasm in dealing with crocodiles; they married the next year. Instead of a honeymoon, the couple went on a mission to rescue a crocodile — that would become the very first episode of The Crocodile Hunter.
Bindi, born in 1998, and Robert, in 2003, were frequently seen in Steve and Terri's wildlife adventures on TV and film too. The family have continued Irwin's work after his death, championing the causes that Steve and Terri espoused, and the charity they founded — Wildlife Warriors Worldwide.
The Google Doodle — by guest artist Shanti Rittgers — honours a man and his family who "dedicated their lives to the preservation and appreciation of earth’s wildlife and wild places".
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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 10:17:16 IST