Steve Irwin: Wildlife Warrior

Posted on September 5, 2006

Steve Irwin was a wildlife warrior. He lived his life to show the world dangerous and rare animals. He also taught people about the dangers habitat destruction has on these creatures ability to survive. Steve Irwin also ran the Australia Zoo and put most of his earnings back into the zoo. The zoo is home to many animals, including endangered animals, crocodiles and local Austrlian wildlife. He has purchased tracts of land around the world in order to preserve them and turn them into national parks. An official statement about Steve Irwin's death from Discovery Communications, Inc. can be found here.
Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve's research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.

DCI Founder and Chairman, John Hendricks said, "Steve was a larger than life force. He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us at Discovery Communications. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin as well as to the incredible staff and many friends Steve leaves behind."
There are a few resources that have more information about just how rare deaths from stingray attacks are. There are thousands of stingray attacks each year but deaths from these attacks are very rare. However, the stingray's barb is sharp enough that if it strikes in just the right spot, like it did in Steve's case, then death can result.

  • eMedicine has information about stingray attacks and notes that Jamestown founder Captain John Smith was once injured by a stingray in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Medical News Today writes that stingray venom contains, "serotonin, 5-nucleotidase, and phosphodiesterase. 5-nucleotidase and phosphodiesterase are responsible for the necrosis and tissue breakdown common with stingray envenomations. Serotonin causes inexorable pain in the region of the injury."
  • RangelMD says, "Stingray attacks are actually common as far as marine envenomations go (1,500 per year in the US) but most are minor wounds to the lower extremities caused by people inadvertently stepping on the otherwise shy flat creatures. Injury is caused both by the penetration of the spine of the ray into the victim and the release of toxins."

    Steve Irwin was filming a documentary called Ocean's Deadliest with Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, when he was killed by the singray.

    Updated 9-7-06