- Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin (born c. 1939/1940 in
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), is an Australian naturalist, animal conservationist, and a pioneering herpetologistwho is also famous for his conservation and husbandry work with apex predators and other reptiles. He is the father of Steve Irwinand founder of the Beerwah Reptile Park, now the Australia Zoo.
Irwin was a successful plumber from Melbourne who, in addition, had also spent time building sheds and houses. Bob Irwin's career in animal conservation officially began in 1970, when Irwin moved his family from Essendon, located west of
Melbourne, Australia, to Queensland. Irwin had decided to turn his love for animals from a hobby into a career and purchased four acres of land to construct a wildlife refuge. As a builder, Irwin personally turned his hand to building and designing the Beerwah Reptile Park. Irwin dedicated so much time to constructing the Reptile Park and the enclosures that, for the first years in their new life of exhibiting native fauna, the Irwins lived in an old RV caravan. Irwin would build a shed, and then the Irwin house, which the Irwin family and Bob Irwin inhabit to this day. "The family home was itself a mini zoo and wildlife hospital," said son, Steve Irwin, on his website, "With makeshift marsupial 'pouches' slung over the backs of chairs and snakes stashed everywhere. Later, the park would be significantly expanded to cover 72 acres.
His foresight and innovation in captive care, breeding, and handling of native Australian animals set a new benchmark for wildlife welfare in Australia. Irwin was noted in the conservation sector for utilizing non-violent capture techniques which were then largely unemployed, such as proximity lassoing, hooding, trapping, and netting instead of the more common tranquilizers, chains, or other potentially harmful methods. Irwin would also come to strike bargains with the government, catching problematic or intruding crocodiles in Queensland and in return bringing them to the Reptile Park. Irwin, later aided by son Steve, personally caught and raised every crocodile in the Reptile Park, ultimately tallying over 100 crocodiles.
Bob Irwin married
Lyn Irwin, a maternity nurse who died in a single automobile accident in 2000. Together, they have a daughter, Joy, a son, Steve, and a second daughter, Mandy. Although Irwin was officially a plumber, and Lynn a maternity nurse, the family's consuming passion was rescuing and rehabilitating local wildlife. Steve Irwin, the couple's middle child, would not only come to fulfill the roles of curator and director of the Beerwah Reptile Park, but also produce and star in his highly popular educational documentary series, " The Crocodile Hunter". Steve would enlarge the park to its present size of 72 acres and rename the park the Australia Zoo.
“What a childhood!” wrote Steve Irwin on his website. “My mum was the
Mother Teresaof wildlife rehabilitation. Our house was a giant maternity ward fair smack-dab in the middle of the Beerwah Reptile Park . It was nothing for us kids to be sharing our house with orphaned joey kangaroos, sugar gliders, ringtail or brushtail possums, koalajoeys, baby birds and untold amounts of other injured Australian animals. What a wild menagerie, and an exceptional household to be raised in.”
On March 2, 2008 it was announced that Bob had resigned from
Australia Zooin order to "keep his son's dream alive.". He thanked all the zoo staff for all their support with the one notable exception of Terri Irwin. [ [http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23305524-5006301,00.html AdelaideNow... Bob Irwin quits Steve's zoo ] ]
* [http://www.crocodilehunter.com/australia_zoo/aboutus/media_centre/steveterribios.html AustraliaZoo.com.au, Media Centre, "Steve's Family and Early Life"]
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