Google Doodle honours 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin on his birth anniversary

Irwin would have been 57 on Friday.

Google Doodle honours 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin on his birth anniversary Image Courtesy: Google/Australia Zoo

Google honored the great "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's birthday with a Doodle on Friday. The Australian wildlife conservationist, a familiar face on television in the '90s and early 2000s, could mostly be seen holding a crocodile or exploring natural terrains.

Born on February 22, Irwin gained worldwide fame with his documentary series The Crocodile Hunter (1996–2007). He also hosted several shows with his wife Terri Irwin and two little children Bindi Sue Irwin and Robert Clarence Irwin including the series Croc Files (1999–2001), The Crocodile Hunter Diaries (2002–2006), and New Breed Vets (2005). 

On September 4, 2006, Irwin died after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled Ocean's Deadliest. He was just 44.

Irwin would have been 57 on Friday, which also marks Australia's National Wildlife Day. 

Irwin also owned and operated the Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin's parents. It is at the zoo that he met his wife for the first time.

“Soon after he took over management of the park, Irwin met his future wife Terri who was visiting the zoo. They spent their honeymoon capturing crocs, and the footage they shot became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter, which grew into a runaway hit show seen in more than 100 countries by over 500 million people,” Google in a post.

Irwin and his family dedicated their lives to the preservation and appreciation of earth’s wildlife and wild places, it adds.

Irwin's parents Lyn and Bob Irwin played a great role in cultivating his interest in wildlife. On his sixth birthday, they gifted him an eleven-foot python. “He named the snake Fred. During the early 1970s, the Irwins moved to the Sunshine Coast in the Australian State of Queensland and opened Beerwah Reptile Park,” writes Google.

“Learning to wrestle crocodiles since the age of nine, Irwin volunteered with Queensland's East Coast Crocodile Management Program, helping to capture and relocate endangered saltwater crocodiles—the largest of all living reptiles—to protect them from being harmed. He was involved in all aspects of managing his family’s park, which was renamed Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, and eventually the Australia Zoo,” it further adds.

“Thanks to the show, Irwin’s enthusiasm for saving endangered (and dangerous) animals quickly became as popular as his one-word catchphrase 'Crikey!' It was also a family effort— while Steve and Terri hosted the show together, their children Bindi and Robert became fixtures on the show as well,” writes Google.

In 2001, the Australian government awarded Irwin the Centenary Medal for a lifetime of service, and in 2004 he was nominated for Australian of the Year. Among his many accomplishments was the discovery of a new species of snapping turtle, which was named Elseya irwini in his honor. In 2018 he was also posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Speaking to Google, Terri Irwin recalls, “Steve Irwin was a loving father and husband who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife and wild places. He accomplished this life mission through his wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter, his world famous Australia Zoo, and his charity Wildlife Warriors. He was best known for his rescue and research work with endangered saltwater crocodiles, the closest living relative of the dinosaurs, now the largest reptiles on earth. Today we continue his mission by working to overturn recent legislation in Queensland which allows crocodile egg harvesting from vulnerable crocs in the wild to support the commercial leather trade. Steve’s legacy will definitely live on.”