You know, I'm remembering one thing I saw on the show when this crocodile...I think it was one of the first he had rescued...died in the zoo. And he just got in the water and picked it up and started crying. I mean, he totally broke down. Everyone was just stunned, but it was at that moment that I saw just how strong his feelings were about these animals. Nevermind that the water he was standing in had other crocodiles in it.
Later in the narration, he said the other crocs seemed to sense something was wrong and stayed away.
Death held out a hand. I WANT, he said, A BOOK ABOUT THE DANGEROUS CREATURES OF FOURECKS-
Albert looked up and dived for cover, receiving only mild bruising because he had the foresight to curl into a ball.
After a while Death, his voice a little muffled, said: ALBERT, I WOULD BE SO GREATEFUL IF YOU COULD GIVE ME A HAND HERE.
Albert scrambled up and pulled at some of the huge volumes, finally dislodging enough of them to allow his master to clamber free.
HMM... Death picked up a book at random and read the cover.
DANGEROUS MAMMALS, REPTILES, AMPHIBIANS, BIRDS, FISH, JELLYFISH, INSECTS, SPIDERS, CRUSTACEANS, GRASSES, TREES, MOSSES, AND LICHENS OF TERROR INCOGNITA, he read. His gaze moved down the spine. VOLUME 29C, he added. OH. PART THREE, I SEE.
He glanced up at the listening shelves. POSSIBLY IT WOULD BE SIMPLER IF I ASKED FOR A LIST OF THE HARMLESS CREATURES OF THE AFORESAID CONTINENT?
IT WOULD APPEAR THAT-
'No, wait, master. Here it comes.'
Albert pointed to something white zigzagging lazily through the air. Finally Death reached up and caught the single sheet of paper.
He read it carefully and then turned it over briefly just in case anything was written on the other side.
'May I?' said Albert. Death handed him the paper.
"Some of the sheep," Albert read aloud.
Such mores were commonly violated by early nature paparazzi such as Walt Disney and Marlin Perkins, who Bayer rates as "the worst offenders ever."
Dr. Leo Smith, an expert on venomous fishes in the department of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, said that although Mr. Irwin had no scientific degree and some scientists criticized his theatrics and hyperbole, “he could be considered a biologist rather than just a television personality.”
“He was knowledgeable and seemed to care passionately about wildlife,” Dr. Smith said. “He took a very outgoing approach that made people less fearful of sharks and other mean things out there.”
"Until his death, when we began to go over his work, I hadn't fully appreciated his commitment to conservation," Ginette Hemley, vice president for species conservation at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), told Discovery News.
"Steve Irwin put his money where his mouth was at, and he often did this quietly and effectively with little or no promotion."
She explained that Irwin partnered with the WWF to fund endangered species conservation in Africa and Asia, where he provided "critical support" in Manas National Park, India. That funding was used, in part, to buy field equipment for workers patrolling the forests there against poachers.
Irwin took a special interest in saving tigers, since they remain one of the world's most endangered species.
In Africa, he also assisted the WWF with funding for projects to save cheetahs and other wildlife.
"His efforts got money to the ground level where it was most needed," Hemley said.
Irwin and his wife used money from their Crocodile Hunter earnings to buy wilderness lands in Fiji, Tasmania, the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and the United States.
In particular, Irwin was devoted to purchasing, and then salvaging, wilderness tracts in his homeland of Australia. There he bought a large region west of Brisbane near the Murray-Darling Basin.
He also purchased land near his Australia Zoo in Beerwah to save the habitats of tree-dwelling marsupials known as gliders, as well as wallabies, snakes, platypuses and other creatures, many native to Australia.
Ginette Hemley, vice president for conservation at World Wildlife Fund, praised Irwin for popularizing the notion of protecting animals even as he wrestled with them onscreen.
Irwin was the antithesis of the mild-mannered natural scientist, quietly doing field work, Hemley said by telephone.
"He certainly was rough-hewn. He was a larger-than-life personality. ... He was eminently watchable," Hemley said. "For that reason I think he only helped advance the cause that we're committed to, which is conservation."
She agreed with Sanjayan that Irwin's conservation impact would to difficult to measure, but Hemley was gratified that television viewers tuned in to the "Crocodile Hunter" rather than programs unconcerned with protecting wildlife.
The world-renown British naturalist David Bellamy says he admired the way Steve Irwin invested some of his huge television earnings into the environment, particularly through Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. WWW was founded in 2002 by Steve and Terri Irwin. It currently owns 90,000 ha of land as safe wildlife havens in southern and western Queensland and other countries. It also funds an animal hospital and assists in conservation work in India, Indonesia and South Africa. It's where Steve Irwin's family wants tributes and donations to go following his death.
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