|Full Name:||Stephen Robert Irwin|
|Nickname:||"The Crocodile Hunter"|
|Birthday:||February 22, 1962|
|Birth Place:||Essendon, Victoria, Australia|
|Death Date:||September 4, 2006 (age 44)|
|Spouse:||Terri Irwin (m. 1992-2006)|
|Children:||Bindi Irwin, Robert Irwin|
Stephen Robert Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter", was a famous Australian zookeeper and conservationist known for his education of wildlife. As the exuberant host of the hit series “The Crocodile Hunter,” Steve introduced millions to the wonders of wildlife and inspired generations to care about conservation.
Childhood & Early Life Pursuing His Passion
Steve was born in Melbourne to Bob and Lyn Irwin, owners of a small reptile park. From a young age, he was surrounded by crocodiles and snakes, developing a real love of animals. His father taught him to wrestle crocs as a kid and he was handling reptiles that could kill a human by age 9!
As a true wildlife nut, Steve was always getting into crazy situations – he trapped his first poisonous snake at 6 and was bitten by snakes multiple times. He even broke his arm wrestling a croc as a teen!
Instead of traditional schooling, Steve was homeschooled by his mom so he could work hands-on with the animals he loved. By age 27, he took over managing the family zoo, which he renamed the Australia Zoo.
Meteoric Rise to Fame
In 1996, Steve starred in the documentary The Crocodile Hunter about his work with reptiles. His enthusiastic presenting style was a hit. When it premiered on Animal Planet in 1997, the show became their highest rated ever!
This launched Steve to international celebrity status. He made several follow up Crocodile Hunter documentaries, cemented by his über popular series The Crocodile Hunter Diaries. At his peak, Steve did US talk show appearances, starred in Hollywood films, and was known worldwide.
Steve was passionate about conservation and harnessed his fame to promote environmentalism. He transformed his family zoo into a world-class facility focused on conservation, education and the breeding of threatened species.
In 2002 Steve and wife Terri founded Wildlife Warriors to preserve habitats and rescue endangered animals globally. Their projects secured land for tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans. One of Steve‘s proudest achievements was establishing a 50,000 hectare rainforest reserve in Cape York.
Tragic Death and Lasting Legacy
On September 4, 2006, Steve died at only 44 after a freak stingray injury while filming Ocean‘s Deadliest. The world mourned the devastating loss of this beloved conservation hero.
Steve left an incredible legacy. He inspired generations to be passionate about protecting wildlife and the environment. His Australia Zoo now attracts over a million more visitors yearly. The conservation organization he founded continues his work protecting habitats worldwide.
Fun Facts About Steve
- His dad Bob is the one who first said Steve‘s famous "Crikey!" catchphrase – he picked it up as a kid.
- Saltwater crocodiles were his favorite animal – he kept over 60 of them at the Australia Zoo.
- Steve met Terri in 1991 when she visited the zoo as a tourist. They married less than a year later!
- He loved scientific fieldwork and research, like tracking crocodiles, alongside caring for the animals.
- Steve was surprisingly calm and thoughtful interacting one-on-one, compared to his hyper on-camera persona.
Why Steve Irwin Was So Influential
Steve had an enormous impact on conservation awareness worldwide thanks to:
- His high-energy presenting style that made nature docs exciting
- Making conservation fun, accessible and interesting for all ages
- Hands-on encounters that made audiences feel connected to wildlife
- Undeniable passion for protecting animals and habitats
- Global reach educating hundreds of millions about conservation
He masterfully blended education, entertainment and action to motivate worldwide support for his conservation causes.
The Irwin Family Carries On Steve‘s Legacy
After losing Steve, his family vowed to continue his mission:
- Wife Terri expanded the zoo and overseas conservation projects
- Daughter Bindi is a passionate conservationist and wildlife ambassador
- Son Robert photographs wildlife and provides hands-on animal care at the zoo
Through their tireless work, the Irwins keep Steve‘s spirit alive by inspiring new generations to respect and protect wildlife worldwide.