Steve Irwin's son Robert trains to feed crocs

I have to admit I was no fan of Steve Irwin. To me, he always looked like he was provoking those animals to get them to bite so he could mug into the camera and say “Crikey!” Usually when I saw his antics on TV, I was always rooting for the croc. But in reading the article below, I have to wonder if mental instability runs in the family.

Children swimming in a pool separated from crocodiles by a glass panel sounds like a recipe for disaster, IMHO; and training a six-year old by means of “written lessons” to feed them by hand isn’t much smarter.

Another snippet in the artcile that got my blood boiling was this:

The family are also working on Steve Irwin’s Australia in Las Vegas, which will employ hundreds of Australians and showcase native animals.

What, there aren’t any Americans in Las Vegas who need employment?

Well, there are some leftover white tigers in Las Vegas that are looking for someone to run their act.

This is just a guess, but I think they want to play up the exotic angle. Americans love Australian accents (and British accents) and might be more inclined to visit an Australia-themed park if they feel they are surrounded by real, live, Aussies.

I was not an avid watcher of Steve Irwin shows either, but he took serious risks with the animals he handled. I was surprised he lasted as long as he did before his fatal encounter with the stingray.

On the bit about jobs for “hundreds of Australians”, the media here can be just as jingoistic as yours. It would probably provide jobs for some Americans, but I’d be surprised if all the staff were to be Australian. You can’t complain - American businesses have quite a large stake in Australian commerce. Almost every fast food joint in the continent is an American based franchise of some sort.

What the family do is their concern. Obviously I hope his young son doesn’t meet the same fate as his dad, but as far as I’m concerned it takes a lot of guts to feed crocodiles for the sake of entertainment. For that matter I don’t like watching people risk their life on tightropes without nets or safety devices of any kind, or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or old film re-runs of the fantastic risks Houdine took. I fail to see any difference in ethos.

And I think you’ll find it was his American wife, Terri Irwin, who coached him on his public relations methods, or how to say “Crikey!”.

One of the problems with animals in captivity is inactivity. Given that they don’t have to fend for themselves either for securing food or protecting themselves it is necessary to find other ways to get them active and keep them healthy. Having them “chase” him around snapping after dead chickens was - as he explained - beneficial for them.


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