Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Quarantine Matters! A Steve Irwin, like none other, ever, forever!

These Hitlers use the camouflage of science to make money out of animals. So whenever they murder our animals and call it sustainable use, I'll fight it. Since when has killing a wild animal, eating it or wearing it, ever saved a species?
There are people who butt out their cigarettes in gorilla-paw ashtrays, with wastepaper baskets that were once elephant feet, who have ivory ornaments, who wear cheetah fur. Don't buy these things! Then there'll be no market and the animals won't be killed.
We have domesticated livestock raised for consumption and perfectly good fake leather and fur, so why must we kill wild animals to satisfy the macabre taste of some rich person?

Quarantine Matters!

- Stephen (Steve) Robert Irwin - 22 Feb 1962 - 04 Sep 2006

Strange are the ways that death visits some of us, equally shocking and appalling too!
The world famous Australian Naturalist, wildlife expert and television icon known across the globe for as the Crocodile Hunter is no more.
Swimming close to a stingray, he was stung in the chest by its barb (dagger shaped tail) which reportedly left a hole in his heart.
When I saw the news on Google at 6:43pm IST today, the news was already well past a day and a half old.
Like millions of fans across the globe, I was shocked beyond comprehension at this freak accident and took a few moments to regain myself! It seemed unbelievable and when I did realize how true this actually was, I frantically searched and read more and more news off the internet!
A wasted death, that has significantly weakened the championing of a genuine cause.

At a time when this legend was the face of television via the Discovery Channel & Animal Planet, his death seemed an incident that could not be imagined.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard in his condolence message exacted that "Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son" while Prime Minister Peter Beattie of Queensland extended the offer of a state funeral.

The man as we know him (and will continue to) shot into fame in the year 1991 when he took over 'The Park', a family business which he renamed 'Australian Zoo' in 1992. During the same year he met Terri Raines whom he later married.
Crocodile Hunter first hit TV screens in 1996 in Australia before it gained publicity world over, and when it did, it was soon and electric. By the year 1999, Steve had gained immense popularity in the United States and made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Around the same time, the already famed series was being beamed in more than a 125 countries. His pronounced Austrlian accent combined with a wonderfully articulated presentation style and trademark khakis came to be recognized as iconic.

Perhaps to best describe Steve, behind his vibrant nature that attracted millions, there existed an iron-will to fight poaching, smuggling and endangering of any and all widlife, irrespective of species, geographical location and so-called importance.

He founded the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, which was later renamed Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, and became an independent charity. He also helped to found a number of other projects, such as the International Crocodile Rescue, as well as the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund, in memory of his mother, with proceeds going to the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

With fame came a great deal of criticism and flak. Steve was accused of venturing too close to animals and disturbing their peace and was also rapped for a so called unsophisticated view of conservation in Australia which seemed more linked to tourism than the problems Australia faces as a continent.
In 2002, the Sydney Morning Herald reported lines from Steve's public statement which read "Here is my greatest gift to the world," he cries. "We need to stand proud of what is Australia … the greatest grazing nation on the face of the Earth! The whole joint is grazing land … and by crikey we're good at it! We should be … [eating] beef and lamb, not kangaroos and crocodiles.They're why tourists come to Australia. They are tourism icons!"

Most of us recall his brush with the media when on 02 January 2004, he was filmed feeding chicken to crocodiles while holding his then one-month old son Bob. Stark comparisons were made in the press to Michael Jackson, who dangled his son out of a hotel window in Germany many years ago. Several child welfare and animal rights groups attacked Steve for what was supposedly (labelled) as child abuse and an unprofessional act that could have been a big disaster. However, despite mounting pressure from far and wide, Steve refused to categorize his actions as uncharacteristic and refused also to apologize calling the media's outcry as uncalled for while saying that there was no danger to his son other than perceived danger!
While the entire episode quickly died down, it prompted the Queensland Government to change its crocodile handling laws, banning children and untrained adults from entering crocodile enclosures.

In November 2003, Steve was filming a documentary on Sea Lions off the coast of Mexico's Baja California Peninsula when he heard via his boat's radio that two scuba divers were reported missing in the area. Steve and his entire crew suspended operations to aid in the search. His team's divers searched with the rescue divers, and Irwin used his vessel to patrol the waters around the island where the incident occurred, as well as using his satellite communications system to call in a rescue plane. On the second day of the search, kayakers found one of the divers, Scott Jones, perched on a narrow ledge of rocks over waters with dangerous currents. Steve and a crewmember escorted him to Steve's boat. Jones reported not recognising his celebrity rescuer as he had never seen Steve on television.
The other lost diver, Katie Vrooman, was found dead the following day by a search plane not far from Jones's location.

In 2001 Steve was awarded the Centenary Medal for his "service to global conservation and to Australian tourism".
In 2004 he was recognised as Tourism Export of the Year. He was also nominated in 2004 for The Australian of the Year; an honour which was won by Steve Waugh. However, following the little Bob incident, his nomination did not materialize.

During the course of his life, he funded and presided many conservation efforts that have helped save many endangered species of reptiles, birds and other animals. It is very unfortunate that a person of such stature should have succumbed so tragically and most of all at a time when the world needed him the most.

Steve, whatever you have done to make the world a better place for all its creations has always been a magnificient effort, something that has been a result fueled due to superhuman effort and unparalleled commitment.
You have remarkably described how powerful the power of one is!
Your legacy will continue for ages to come.................................................

Australia, worry not, for the death of your beloved Son shall not once diminish his dream of a just and free planet where human beings understand and recognize their existence as co-creations and not the superior species!

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