Memories of Steve Irwin… Palawan:
The Death of Steve Irwin is sad for many around the world but in strange sort of way you can tell that from his life that is the way he wanted to go. In this interview below he speaks about what and why he did the things he did. Its not the one we did…. but he said pretty much the same thing to us as to his ‘life’s mission.’
There are litterly thousands of tribute videos on youtube-grouper-google videos and elsewhere to this man who did so much for wildlife – he had his controversy who didn’t – or does not have in this world.
He was a ‘fair dinkum’ man to his ‘mates’ and he helped the world brigde the gap between animals and people. That in any book is good thing.
When we interviewed Steve a few years back on Palawan at the CFI (Crocodile Farming Institute) there circa (1994-95) – I was working with Fe Ramierez, Ricky Ligon, and Ayen who were doing a story for the Inside story.
I remember our group popped in with as a group of people were in the pens, We hopped off of our borrowed PAF chopper just outside the wire fence and later walking into the office.
Dr. Jerry Ortega was running the place then – Jerry gave us a proper scolding for spooking the crocs – but time problems for coverage meant our Air Force Pilots had to drop us off at CFI’s doorstep – they had given us a quick ‘air tour’ of Puerto Princesa.
Steve was a little subdued… but still even in the quick interview showed the flashes of what is seen on TV then, We later found out our chopper a big UH-1 Huey- had come at the worst possible time – breeding day at the croc farm. We never saw crocs move so fast- as well as a film crew hopping to get out of the way in the pens below! When the huge salt water crocs were being filmed!!! Here comes this ‘other film crew’ flying in on WHUP-WHUP-WHUP talk about spoiling the moment.
I know I have some video of the interview form my own camera – a Hi8 I always carried back then – and I know CFI’s in house team had another video cam as well.
So somewhere there’s photo’s of Irwin from that short Palawan trip. This was circa 1993 – we still have pictures somewhere too.
Mind you this was not the best meeting – there were others we had… But none as eventful as that meeting.
I hope somewhere in the files of the Inside Story the video is there… If I remember Tita Fe and Ayen were really excited about the chance meeting and saved the tapes from the Inside Story somewhere. Anyhow…
The way Steve went seems to have been the way most people expected him to go- sad as the whole thin is- as a person who could like a Doctor Doolittle talk almost it seemed with the Animals and in the element they were in make people understand the others of our world we share it with.
The best tribute I have seen was on Jay Leno’s show where Jay said Steve was the best Ambassador Australia ever had. So true… Mr. Irwin will be missed… I watched a couple of shows on the Animal planet today. Listening to him as full of life he described the feeding habits of large croc t the Australia Zoo. He’s still with us… I hope they keep his shows on the air because it one of the best tools of education for children in a easy light hearted way for them to learn about the creatures history has taught us to fear.
I have to say Jay ‘s Ambassador analogy putting Steve as only a Aussie Amby is wrong – Steve could have been or should have been the UN’s Peoples ambassador to Animals and vice versa.
He will be missed but will live on video and more people will learn of we hope a better respect and treatment for our wildlife.