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Steve Irwin the Environmentalist

While most of us remember Steve Irwin for his zany Crocodile Hunter TV persona, he was in fact an avid and serious environmentalist. He didn’t just use the animals in his shows as props to gain personal fame and wealth; he and his wife, through their charitable organization Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, worked hard to stress that all species need to be conserved and protected, even those “icky” ones like snakes and spiders that can be deadly to humans.

An International Herald Tribune article states that “British naturalist David Bellamy said he cried when heard of Irwin’s death.”

The thing with Steve was he mixed damn good science with show business and I don’t know anyone else who did that.

Irwin promoted the preservation of habitats for endangered species, and personally purchased land for this purpose. He railed against the use of animals skins and parts for clothing and tacky souvenirs. He personally saved a struggling Australian zoo where he was working when he met and married his wife in 1992. He invested money and guidance into Australian tourism campaigns to promote sustainable tourism. Most of all, he used his high profile to bring awareness to issues and animals that most of us might never have heard of otherwise.

In other words, there was more to Steve Irwin than funny shorts and a catchphrase: “Crikey!”

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