I was having dinner in the kitchen when I overheard the news in the TV reporting that renowned naturalist and conservationist Steve Irwin has died after being stung by a stingray in the chest.
Rushing to watch the report, what I saw and heard saddened me very much. The ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin is dead. An excerpt from the BBC News website reports:
Australian naturalist and television personality Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray during a diving expedition off the Australian coast.
Mr Irwin, 44, died after being struck in the chest by the stingray’s barb while he was filming a documentary in Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.
I’ve grown fond of Steve and his unconventional approach to exploring wildlife which I found not only very educational but also entertaining. Watching his show “The Crocodile Hunter” in the National Geographic Channel further inspired me to study Biology and even dream of becoming a naturalist like himself.
The sting ray is member of the Dasyatidae family of cartilaginous fish, with about 70 species worldwide. They are related to sharks and can be found in tropical seas as well as fresh waters like streams and rivers. They have barbs on their tail coated with toxic venom hence their name. They are not aggressive animals and would only use their barbs in defence or when they feel threatened. Experts say that the sting is painful but the venom is rarely lethal and deaths, like Steve’s could result due to the trauma of the sting itself, sometimes measuring up to 20cm long. This is effect, is like being “stabbed in the heart” since Steve was struck in the chest.
In the wake of this tragedy, my prayers and condolences goes out to his family and I grieve along with the many fans he has worldwide. Indeed, the world has lost a great naturalist and agent of wildlife protectionism. An obituary for Steve Irwin, who died at 44 can be found here at the BBC website. Conversely, a Wikipedia page has just been setup in his honor and can be viewed here.
Farewell ‘Crocodile Hunter’ we will miss you.