The Greatest Wildlife Warrior
Some people say the animals cried after Steve Irwin’s death. It was a death that took everyone by surprise, it was unexpected and tragic, and not only for his family friends but also for the animals he loved. There are very few people that change this world; very few people who make the whole world a better place; however, Steve Irwin was one of those people. He was loved by so many all over the world in the way we love our family. To many people he symbolized what it meant to actively save wildlife; to the animals he was a hero.
Crocs, Snakes, Sharks, Spiders and all dangerous animals were Steve’s passion. He loved them and would do anything for their protection and well-being. Steve risked his life every single day to make sure the world did not hate and fear the apex predators. Many people who work with these animals do it to show off, to show they are “more powerful” than the animals of many people’s nightmares. This was not the case with Steve; he got in the water with a croc, grabbed a snake, and swam with sharks all to get us to understand these animals. Steve always said the greatest reason we fear wildlife is because we do not understand it, that we can only love what we understand. This is why he worked so closely with these animals, talking about them, piquing our interests till one day everyone would love crocs, sharks, and snakes too – that was his dream.
While Steve was most famous for his wildlife documentaries, he also managed one of the most successful zoos in the world. He himself along with his parents started the Australia zoo, which sits today over a hundred acres on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland. It is like an Eden for wildlife who is sick, injured, misunderstood, and persecuted. Crocs bask in their billabongs, roos hop across the lush, grassy fields, birds fly wherever they please, and tigers stretch out lazily under the shade of the many trees that cover the zoo like a green umbrella. Not a leaf is out of place, walkways are swept clean, and enclosures are immaculate. In his time, Steve made sure this zoo was absolutely perfect and his legacy has lived on. The zoo is not only a part of Steve’s dream to educate people on the beauty of wildlife but also a place where critically endangered species are saved. Steve created programs for species such as Fijian crested iguanas, Tasmanian devils, and Sumatran Tigers so that we never have to see an extinction of these animals. Through his zoo, he has created an environment where animals thrive and species survive, the Australia Zoo is one of Steve Irwin’s gifts to the planet and to animals.
Unlike the Zoo and Documentaries Steve created, the work he did with land conservation is not as well known by most. It was Steve’s mission to put all the money he earned back into conservation, which meant the zoo, the breeding programs, and also the land he bought to save from development. He bought thousands of acres to save from the greedy people that would destroy the land animals depended on. Habitat destruction is the number one cause of species extinction and Steve would not let that happen to the animals he loved. All over the world he bought pristine patches of forests, deserts, and scrubland all so the animals would have a home too.
Steve Irwin had a selfless devotion to wildlife. Everything he did was for animals whether it was rescuing a croc, teaching people about Tasmanian devils, pulling over to help a lizard cross the road, or nursing a kangaroo joey back to heath. There are few people in this world that made a difference like Steve Irwin. He changed the way we thought about wildlife, made us love all animals, and helped us to understand them. Steve Irwin was truly a wildlife warrior!
– Morgan Cooney