Stephen Robert Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), known simply as Steve Irwin and nickname "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australia television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series co-hosted with his wife Terri (née Raines). Together, the couple also co-owned and operated Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin's parents in Beerwah, Queensland.
Irwin died on 4 September 2006 after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship MY Steve Irwin was named in his honour, christened by his widow, who stated: "If Steve were alive, he'd be aboard with them!"
Irwin was born on his mother's birthday to Lyn and Bob Irwin in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. He moved with his parents as a child to Queensland in 1970. Irwin described his father as a wildlife expert interested in herpetology while his mother Lyn was a wildlife rehabilitator. After moving to Queensland, Bob and Lyn Irwin started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Steve grew up around crocodile and other reptile.
Irwin became involved with the park in a number of ways, including taking part in daily animal feeding, as well as care and maintenance activities. On his sixth birthday he was given a scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age. Also at age nine he wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father's supervision. He graduated from Caloundra State High School in 1979. He soon moved to Northern Queensland, where he became a crocodile trapper, removing crocodiles from populated areas where they were considered a danger. He performed the service for free with the quid pro quo that he be allowed to keep them for the park. Irwin followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a volunteer for the Queensland Government's East Coast Crocodile Management program.
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Official Site: Australia Zoo
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