Peak of the Week: Vol XXVII Issue 6

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

Everyone loves a wholesome little story. With everything that has been going on, these stories are more important than they ever have been. They help us to get through these weird times. With Peak of the Week, I am hoping we can provide some nice stories to help keep us all going.

Whenever a discussion on wholesome, feel-good personalities comes up, Steve Irwin is usually one of the first names that come to mind for many. The Crocodile Hunter made his name co-hosting a television show of the same name, with his wife Terri. During its airtime, the show provided a platform for people to vicariously experience the Australian landscape, introducing many to the habits and intricacies of species’ that wouldn’t have otherwise been seen on such a scale. The success of The Crocodile Hunter introduced a generation to the beauty of the natural world, something David Attenborough has given Irwin credence for. The interest of the content aside, it was Irwin’s exuberance that made up much of what made people adore him as a positive figure. His uniform and catchphrases became pop culture stalwarts, and his outward enthusiasm bled through the television screens. It was contagious; it's hard not to feel excited hearing him introduce an episode’s subject in such a jovial manner. This infectious adoration becomes important when looking at how important wildlife preservation was to Irwin.

He was known for his contributions towards wildlife preservation; The International Crocodile Rescue and the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund are all efforts he played a part in founding. The most notable of which is Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, which is still operating under Terri and their children. This organisation, which saw a spike in donations following Irwin’s passing, have become a leading force in global conservation efforts, being involved in projects regarding the conservation of endangered species, research centres to develop extinction prevention measures, and even a Wildlife Hospital and Rescue Unit, based in his native Australia. Irwin also bought land in Vanuatu, Fiji and the United States to create national parks, with the effort of protecting native species of the country.

It's clear just how passionate the man was about the natural world, and his efforts that went into protection efforts speak for itself. What could be seen as his most important contribution, though, is how he conveyed this to his fans. Never a preacher, Steve Irwin developed an organic passion for wildlife in those who tuned in every week to watch.