February 22 would have been the 57th birthday of Australian wildlife conservationist and television personality Steve Irwin, star of The Crocodile Hunter. Tech giant Google is honoring the beloved animal expert with a Google Doodle on its homepage.
There are six different animated images to scroll through, each colorful cartoon depicting Steve and the members of his family — wife Terri, daughter Bindi, and son Robert — in different scenes.
The first illustration is of Steve holding a crocodile in his arms in the jungle. The Google logo is behind him, and the reptile has the "l" in its mouth.
In the second cartoon, Steve and a dog are in a green boat in the water. He has a video camera and is filming a crocodile that is heading toward the ship.
The third page of the slideshow has two separate images depicting Steve during a performance at his wildlife park. He is feeding a crocodile, who jumps out of the water to get the food. Camera flashes are going off behind him as the attendees try to capture the perfect shot of the entertainment.
The fourth page features several illustrations of Steve with various animals, including toucans, a snake, orangutans, and a whale. His catchphrase, "Crikey," is also displayed.The fifth page features Steve and Terri in the jungle with their young children. Bindi is carrying a baby crocodile, and Robert is sitting on his dad's lap with a pacifier in his mouth.
The last cartoon shows what it is like in 2019 at the Australia Zoo. Bindi, 20, Terri, 54, and Robert, 15, are present, there is a large billboard of Steve with a croc in the background, and visitors are buying tickets to enter the park.
Teri wrote a blog for Google describing the life of her late husband.
She explained how Steve's family first opened a small roadside wildlife park in 1970 in Beerwah on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and how he "helped monitor, study, and relocate crocodiles living too close to populated areas."
Terri, an American, visited the Australian park in 1991 and was fascinated by Steve's passion for wildlife."I had never heard anyone speak about crocs with such enthusiasm, much less have the calm courage to hand feed one of these giant saurian. I just had to speak to him. It was a decision that would change my life forever," she wrote.
They got married in Eugene, Oregon, in 1992, and instead of going on a honeymoon, they went to North Queensland to try to save a crocodile from a poacher. A film crew tagged along to document their efforts, and that became the first episode of their hit series, The Crocodile Hunter.
The Irwins eventually had their children — Bindi was born in 1998 and Robert in 2003.
However, on September 4, 2006, Steve was killed by a stingray while filming a documentary in the Great Barrier Reef.
"Losing Steve was a real crossroads for us, but together we decided to continue his mission. Bindi, Robert, and I have dedicated our lives to the wildlife conservation work that Steve began," said Terri.The tiny roadside park that Steve's parents founded is now called the Australia Zoo and sits on nearly 1,000 acres. It is home to more than 1,200 animals.
The Irwins also have a nonprofit organization that supports conservation efforts all over the world, and their Wildlife Hospital has treated more than 82,000 sick, injured, and orphaned animals and then returned them back to the wild.
"We do this work every day to honor Steve's memory, and now today's Doodle honors him, too," said Terri.