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This may come as a shock, but the croc hunter passed away 10 years to the day. For many people, he energised and invigorated interest in animals, nature, preservation and conservation. His exciting, innovative and downright brazen and fearless attitude left you on the edge of your seat. It was compelling viewing, captivating audiences the world over.
Steve Irwin. Credit: PA
But there's one moment that sticks in the memory more than anything else for me. And it's not just that his wife Terri and daughter Bindi were as passionate about nature and wildlife as he was in his programme The Crocodile Hunter.
No, it was when he saw that a Komodo Dragon had a fishing hook and wire in its mouth and he thought the best course of action was to try and get it out for the fella in a special programme dedicated to the animals.
In case you don't know what a Komodo Dragon is, here's one.
Anyway, trying to take a hook out of what is pretty much a dinosaur is brave. And the dragon wasn't feeling it that day. He thought to himself: 'Fuck that, some bastard's pulling on my mouth. I'll chase the sod'. The fact that he was putting himself in danger was an irrelevance - the animal needed that hook and wire out of his mouth.
Here's the clip, and the first memory I have when I think of the inimitable Steve Irwin.
Credit: The AJFM
"Great, now he gets aggressive. Oh no, his aggression's turned to a food response. He's onto me - he's going to try and bite my calf muscle."
The fact that he had to abort mission and run up a tree is weirdly hilarious (if it's shown on TV, we know he's going to be alright), while also pretty chilling. The animal, one of the most fearsome looking creatures on the planet, really wasn't asking for his help that day. But it was this near-the-knuckle adventuring and getting close to the world's most impressive and deadly creatures that made his programmes so compelling.
I also remember him lying with Komodo Dragon eggs in this episode because, well why the hell not?
Irwin passed away when filming with sting rays off Batt Reef in Queensland, Australia, filming the Ocean's Deadliest. During a break in production, in a cruel twist of fate he started snorkelling to film another programme for his daughter. He was filming a stingray swimming (an animal not known for lashing out), when the animal attacked Irwin with its barb. It pierced Irwin's heart and he bled to death.
His conservation efforts continue at Australia Zoo, with Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd founded and his survived wife Terri, daughter Bindi and son Robert continue their efforts in his memory.
Steve Irwin - thanks for the memories, and it's great that your work lives on through your family and that this is beneficial to continuing conservation efforts.
If you wish to donate or learn more about his dedicated conservation efforts, click here.
Main image: Steve Irwin with wife Terri and daughter Bindi. Credit: PA
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