September 04, 2006 11:21 AM by Joe Blackmon
There is reality television, and then there is reality television. While we thrill to the exploits of everyday people living on an island with snakes and rats, the reality is that for the most part those survivors are kept out of harm’s way. Sure, every once in awhile, someone might get stung by a jellyfish, bitten by a baby shark, or fall face first into a campfire, but they aren’t jumping on the backs of crocodiles or playing with poisonous snakes. Steve Irwin, a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter, starred in what was by all definitions “reality” television.
Steve Irwin faced death repeatedly on his Animal Planet television show The Crocodile Hunter, and he always did so with a smile on his face and overwhelmingly enthusiasm in educating viewers about reptiles. While many viewers probably couldn’t help but to cringe in fear as Irwin bravely encountered dangerous animals, Irwin himself was always unfazed and confident in his abilities.
Often Irwin appeared to be only inches out of range of the razor-sharp teeth of a crocodile or the venomous fangs of a poisonous snake, but Irwin always appeared to know exactly how close he could get. According to a report on Discovery News, Steve Irwin was killed on September 4, 2006 when he swam to close to a stingray. Apparently deaths caused by stingrays are very rare, but in a freak accident the stingray’s barb went up into Irwin’s chest and pierced his heart.
On the Animal Planet website, Discovery Communications, Inc. has issued a statement mourning the loss of Steve Irwin. Discovery says they plan to rename the garden space in front of their world headquarters, the "Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden." Discovery also states that they are looking into the creation of the Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund, which they plan to call "The Crikey Fund" as a way of honoring Irwin’s commitment to conservation and the animal kingdom. Steve Irwin is survived by his wife Terri and his children Bindi and Bob.