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September 05, 2006

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A Not-So-Sad Farewell to the "Crocodile Hunter"

On September 2, Steve Irwin, the self-styled “crocodile hunter” (“crocodile annoyer” would have been more like it) was killed when a stingray barb pierced his heart. Oddly, Mr. Irwin was not pestering the ray when it killed him. I heard on the radio that since Europeans came to Australia, only 10 people have been killed by stingrays. For Mr. Irwin to meet his end like this is rather like an astronomer stepping outside his observatory and getting beaned by a meteorite.

What I disliked about Mr. Irwin (beside the fact that he was an anti-hunter) was that his antics were mostly about him, and not the animals. As was said about the demented Timothy Treadwell, he didn’t accord them any respect. Yanking a snake off the ground by its tail might have entertained him and his audience, but I doubt if the snake appreciated the honor. Snakes, and other dangerous animals, are to be let alone. Unless you want to hunt them, and it’s legal. But they are not stooges for someone who is starved for attention.

There was also a certain amount of b.s. to Mr. Irwin. According to a quote of his: “I’ve worked with more dangerous snakes than anyone in the world and I’ve never been bitten. It’s a gift.”

Well crikey, mate, I don’t think so. From 1947 to 1985, a quiet, self-effacing Floridian named Bill Haas operated the Miami Serpentarium where he milked deadly snakes (more than 60 species) 70 to 100 times a day, every day. He was bitten 170 times. There is no way of knowing how many lives he saved. And he never had a television show.


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Steve Irwin was a great man. He lived more in his short life than most of us will live in ours. He never lost his child-like enthusiasm. He had a genuine interest in the reptiles and animals that he searched for and observed. He was an educator. So he picked up snakes. As kids, many of us picked up snakes. He wrestled croc's to move them from one pond to another in his zoo. That seems crazy for us in the U.S., but Steve grew-up seeing this done by his father. I watched many of his shows and never saw him hurt any creature other than himself. He was bitten, scraped, cut, bruised and battered. Yes, he risked his life but it was his life to risk. I risk my life hunting. Hell, I risk my life just driving to work on I-95 in DC traffic. There may be many differences among us hunters, but one common trait is that we envied him. One difference is that only some of us will admit it!


Althoguh this is an old thread, I see an opportunity to comment. Some of you seem to love the man, others to hate him; everyone forms their opinion based on their experience. Teh man wasn't a devil and he wasn't a saint. he did good work and incredibly stupid things as well (does holding your kid while doing a show with a crocidile make you a brain surgeon). The fact is that he did take unacceptable risks. I remeber watching the news learning that he had died and all my wife or I could say was " I'm surprised it took this long." So, while it is sad that he left young children behind, it was his decision to take these risks. His life and death were his responsibility; in reality the odds just caught up with him.


Yes he was a anti hunter, mainly i beleive in part from his tree hugger wife, altho they had no problem hunting and killing feral hogs with a knife to feed crocs with. I always found that sorta funny


After viewing as much of the Crocodile Hunter eulogies as I could stand, I conclude that IMHO he was a dipstick of the highest order and his spousal unit is just about as dingy. I, too, mourn the loss of human life, but apparently his Father Darwin looked down upon him and finally thought "enough" and took him out of the gene pool. But not soon enough before he spawned. I think I will check the Darwin Awards web site to see if he made the Top 100.

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