Quantcast

Google Honors Wildlife Conservationist Steve Irwin With Birthday Doodle

Animals
Steve Irwin poses with a three foot long alligator at the San Francisco Zoo on June 26, 2002. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

February 22 is the birthday of conservationist and beloved TV personality "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, who would have been 57 years old today.

Irwin's life was tragically cut short when the barb from a stingray went through his chest while he was filming in 2006, but his legacy of loving and protecting wildlife lives on, most recently in a Google Doodle today honoring his birthday.


"Today's Google Doodle acknowledges the life and achievements of my husband Steve Irwin, whose efforts to protect wildlife and wild places have been recognised as the most extensive of any conservationist," his wife Dr. Terri Irwin wrote in a guest blog post for Google. "We are so proud that his legacy lives on, as that was his greatest wish. He once said, 'I don't care if I'm remembered, as long as my message is remembered.'"

The doodle shows images of Irwin interacting with his beloved crocodiles and spending time with his wife Terri and their children Bindi and Robert. The last image shows Terri, Bindi and Robert continuing to run the Australia Zoo that the couple had expanded from the small, roadside Beerwah Reptile Park opened by Irwin's parents in the 1970s.

Irwin was born in 1962 in Upper Fern Tree Gully, Victoria, Australia but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Queensland, where he learned to care for wildlife at his parents' park. Terri met him in 1991 when she went to visit the park and was impressed by Irwin's passion for the crocodiles, who he fed from inside their enclosures.

In the blog post, Terri paints a picture of a couple equally devoted to wildlife and each other. She shares the dramatic story of how the couple's famous Crocodile Hunter show was born immediately following their wedding:

"Steve and I married in June 1992 in my grandmother's church in Eugene, Oregon. Afterward, we received a phone call about a poacher trying to kill a large crocodile in North Queensland, so instead of a honeymoon, Steve and I went to Australia to save the croc before the bad guys got him. We invited a film crew to come along and document our efforts. Although we didn't arrive in time to save the crocodile, we did save his mate. She was a beautiful girl, not quite 10 feet long. We didn't know it at the time, but this would turn out to be the very first episode of "The Crocodile Hunter" and the beginning of a 14-year adventure, filming in locations across Australia and around the world."

The crocodile hunter - Pilot Episode part 1 www.youtube.com

Some criticized the Crocodile Hunter show for relying too heavily on stunts, Vox noted, including one scene in which Irwin fed a crocodile while holding his baby son. Irwin was also investigated, but never charged, for filming too close to humpback whales and penguins.

However, his conservation efforts were both sincere and impressive. His Wildlife Warriors, still run by Terri, purchased hundreds of square miles to protect wildlife and now works to save animals like Sumatran tigers, koalas and Cambodian elephants. The Australia Zoo now protects 1,200 animals on almost 1,000 acres, and includes a Wildlife Hospital that has treated 82,000 animals it has later returned to their natural habitats, Terri said in her blog post.

"My job, my mission, the reason I've been put onto this planet, is to save wildlife," Irwin said, according to Vox. Clearly, Google thinks that's a mission worth honoring.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less