Google paid a beautiful tribute to Steve Irwin, the Australian zookeeper and wildlife conservationist, who was also called the ‘Crocodile Hunter.’ Today, 22nd February, marks the 57th birthday of the man who became renowned across the world due to his documentary series ‘The Crocodile Hunter,’ which was aired on Animal Planet and became one of the most popular and longest running shows. The doodle shows him holding a crocodile, playing with another, and exploring the wildlife. It also depicts his wife Terri along with his children Bindi and Robert, who were fixtures on his show. Also, ‘crikey,’ one of the most famous phrases that he used often on his shows, is shown.
Born on 22nd February in Victoria, Australia, Irwin spent his childhood on the Beerwah Reptile Park that was founded and managed by his parents. He was a natural with the wildlife and often went on field trips with his family, helping his parents manage all aspects of running the park. By the 80s, the park had expanded to 4 acres, double its previous size, and was gaining fame. He was also, by this time, engaged with the Queensland government to help with crocodiles.
By 1991, Steve had begun managing the thriving wildlife park by himself, changing its name to ‘Australia Zoo.’ Meanwhile, he met his wife Terri, a conservationist herself. Their love for wildlife was evident as they spent their honeymoon on a crocodile rescue mission, also filming this process. It was this experience that became the first episode of the famous ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ documentary. This show was watched by over 500 million people across 100 countries! Together, they also presented many other documentary series such as ‘The Crocodile Hunter Diaries,’ and ‘Croc Files.’
The husband-wife duo also founded the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital that rescues and rehabilitates thousands of native Australian animals each year.
His enthusiasm and dedication to save endangered species and preserve wildlife made him a world-renowned figure and his fan base spanned across the entire world. From starting with modest beginnings to gaining worldwide fame, Irwin inspired millions across the globe with his passion for wildlife. 15 November is observed as Steve Irwin Day to celebrate the extraordinary life that he lived. This day seeks to continue Steve’s vision with respect to conservation and preservation of the wildlife.
He also received a plethora of awards and honours across his lifetime. In 2001, the Australian government awarded him the Centenary Medal for a lifetime of service. He was also nominated for the Australian of the Year Award in 2004. In 2018, he was also posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Further, the government of Rwanda named a species of gorilla after him.
Unfortunately, Irwin passed away on 4 September 2006 at the young age of 44 after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb. This was when he was shooting for ‘Ocean’s Deadliest,’ an underwater documentary film. However, his legacy lives on as his family still manages the Australia Zoo. Today, it spreads across 1000 acres and is home to mammals, birds, and reptiles!
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