While the wife of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin hasn't held a press conference, Terri Irwin did take a moment to address the staff at Australia Zoo. According to Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warriors spokesman, Michael Hornby, Terri used the Zoo's two-way radio system to thank the staff for their support.
Terri's mother, Judy Raines, is expected to arrive in Australia from Oregon to help her daughter and grandchildren through this difficult time.
Steve's father, Bob Irwin, spoke with the media yesterday. "Terri's holding up very well, considering. She's extremely concerned for her children — Bindi  and Robert  — obviously. And that's the reason I asked the media to please give them a little bit of a break for the children's sake."
Bob Irwin went on to talk about the bond between father and son, saying they were more like mates. He said he would remember Steve as his best mate ever.
Regarding his son's work, the elder Irwin said he would work with Terri to carry on conservation efforts with her until the time the children are old enough to take over. Bob Irwin gave his son his start in working with animals and was the founder of Australia Zoo, which was called the Beerwah Reptile Park in the early '70s, the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park in the '80s, and was renamed Australia Zoo in the '90s.
Father and son spent years relocating rogue crocodiles in an effort to reduce the number of crocs killed after interacting with people or livestock. Techniques developed over time offered better results and cost less money, resulting in the Australian government requesting the pair's assistance with problem crocodiles.
Bob Irwin, practical bloke, insisted his son be formally trained in another trade, "just in case." Steve pursued an education in diesel mechanics, but never had to use his skills at a regular job.
Coworkers at Australia Zoo also spoke to reporters about the loss of the man who was not just their boss, but their friend. Peter Lang, marketing manager for the Zoo, said he can't quite reconcile the fact he won't able to work alongside Irwin again. Jon Hanger, senior vet at the Zoo, talked about the intuitive way Irwin had with animals — "you could see it whenever he was handling animals" — and he had special rapport with animals, regardless of whether or not they were found in the wild, at the Zoo, or were simply pets. He had a heart of gold and was "open-hearted, took you in as part of his family, not afraid to show emotion," said Michael Hornby. He continued on to say Steve Irwin is irreplaceable.
John Stainton, friend and filmmaker, has called for the footage showing the Crocodile Hunter's death to be destroyed once the coroner has finished with it. "At the moment it is in police custody for evidence. There's a coroner's inquest taking place at the moment. When that is finally released it will never see the light of day. Never. Ever," Stainton told Larry King on CNN. Animal Planet and Discovery Channel president Billy Campbell said, "Mrs Irwin would be consulted on any use of the footage of her husband's death."
Police reports regarding the footage indicate Irwin was in no way threatening or intimidating the stingray before it struck. Fellow documentarian Ben Cropp had not seen the footage, but had spoken to a friend on Irwin's vessel, Croc One. "He probably got too close. Do I think he was irresponsible? No, he was unlucky. I know because I've done it myself, but in my case the ray missed me."
Jim Fowler, former host of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom said, "It's one of the biggest tragedies we could have in our world. The real challenge in this century is communication and Steve Irwin was a spokesperson for the natural world." Fowler also said working with animals "is one of the safest professions."
In addition to the vast video legacy left behind, Steve Irwin had sought to purchase available land as a means of preserving habitat for the animals he hoped to save. His plan was to have the land designated as wildlife sanctuaries, like national parks. As well, Australia Zoo and other Irwin-sponsored funds contributed to local medical and research foundations and projects to improve the lives of children in the area. Special events for ill children were often held at the Zoo. When travelling to impoverished countries, Irwin always brought much needed supplies and money to help the locals, especially if wildlife was involved. Providing people with opportunities to preserve natural resources was a high priority.
Update: For those wishing to send condolences to the Irwin Family, the Queensland Government has set up a web page making this possible.
If you'd like to make a donation in Steve's memory, the family has asked donations be made to the Wildlife Warriors Worldwide fund. This is the only official fund for donations made on the Crocodile Hunter's behalf.Powered by Sidelines