Monday, September 04, 2006

All Creatures Great and Small

Conserving koala bears is easy. When it comes to conserving the nasties like spiders, snakes and crocodiles, and things that kill you and eat you, it's a different story to get people to value those animals. People say, 'What the hell are you conserving them for?' and [Irwin] made a strong contribution in making people think a lot more about the values of conserving these animals.
--Professor Graeme Webb, croc expert, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
Though we all knew that 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin wasn't likely to meet his end in a rocking chair at the age of 98, sipping tea and eating biscuits, the news of his death at 44 from a sting ray's blow has stunned the animal-loving world.

His popular Discovery Channel show taught us to see the beauty in the beast, the splendor in the sinister, the hand of God in the fang of a viper.

We learned of the basic right of every creature to exist and thrive and share our world, regardless of its cuteness, fuzziness, or utility to humans.

Crikey, indeed. He'll be missed.

8 Comments:

I have loved his show for years. And I must admit, of all the ways I thought he would pass on, I was shocked it was by a relatively harmless creature like a stingray. Not including Irwin, there has only been 3 recorded deaths ever by stingrays. My heart truly goes out to his wife and children. And the conservation business lost a true icon and fervent advocate.

Posted by: Blogger Kathy at 9/05/2006 3:55 AM

Wow, only 3? It was a one-in-a-million circumstance, the experts said, to be stung, much less killed, by a ray. It's kind of ironic how Irwin dealt with such dangerous creatures throughout his career, only to be felled by a relatively peaceful one. It's really sad, because he had two young kids and a wife.

I hope they've already destroyed the footage.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/05/2006 7:40 AM

Uh no they haven't. They have turned the film over to the authorites. It's being used as part of the official coroner's inquiry. I just hope that when the coroner releases the footage, it won't then be released publically. From the news story I read the film shows Irwin pulling the barb out of his chest and then dieing. I don't wanna see it. Reading about it was bad enough.

Posted by: Blogger Kathy at 9/05/2006 8:27 AM

Oh yeah, good point about the coroner's report. I meant I hope it never goes public. These things have a way of sneaking out onto the internet. Irwin always said that a lot of people watched his show more to see when he would bite the big one than for any other reason. I think he was being a little too self-effacing, but there was that element of morbid curiosity that drew a lot of viewers.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/05/2006 8:54 AM

I never watched his show, but he always seemed like a good guy, with boundless enthusiasm. We need more of them.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 9/05/2006 10:21 AM

If you'd like to see him in action, the Discovery Channel is planning to honor him with a marathon of his show. Or you could check out the movie he did, Collision Course which is based on his documentary work.

Posted by: Blogger Kathy at 9/05/2006 10:38 AM

I've watched his show since I was real little, and because of him, I wanted to go to Australia and other countries and be a wildlife expert as well. Of course, no one could be better than him. Its so sad, especially because he left his family behind. RIP Steve Irwin.

Posted by: Anonymous Nozomi at 9/09/2006 4:17 PM

Hi, Nozomi. I hope Irwin has inspired lots of people to get more involved in wildlife, even if it's just learning about them.

The vast scope of organisms out there is truly mind-boggling. Evolution produces such amazing feats. To me, it's no less awe-inspiring than the idea of them being created by a higher being. Chance mutations, combined with the pressures of unique environments, plus a whole lot of luck, make for creatures even Dr. Seuss couldn't imagine.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/10/2006 8:19 AM

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