Those of you from PC wondering why I, along with several others, have a turtle preceding my name on MSN, it's our swan song to Steve Irwin. No one will doubt that he was a man not just of nature, but of Australia itself.
He first developed an intersst in reptiles when he received a snake for his sixth birthday. He then went on to help his family take care of wildlife on their reptile farm, which he transformed into Australia Zoo later in his life. It was at this zoo that many of his documentary shows, the most popular of all and the one giving him that title for eternity being 'The Crocodile Hunter', in which he, his wife Terri, and his pet crocodile Argo put on a show for audiences and, many times, set out to investigate the predatory habits of dangerous creatures such as boas and rattlesnakes.
Personally, I think I never watched his shows as much as I should have. My cousin is an animal lover and almost certainly was a devout fan of his; in fact, at a glance I could probably say that her affinity was derived from watching his series on Animal Planet a lot. I knew, though, that he loved animals so much that he was destined to make himself into a conservationalist renowned throughout the world. That, he cerainly did. Nonetheless, this led, as many sceptics were undoubtedly hoping, to his untimely death: Whilst filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, a stingray poked its tail right into Irwin's heart, and Irwin died before the others could get him to the surface. But in the interest of honour, he died doing what he did best, making the world more aware of nature.
Goodbye from a friend who, in retrospect, really wanted to know you more.