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Croc hunter's legacy kept alive by kin

More than the game of cricket, Australia, especially the state of Queensland, is renowned the world over for 'Crikey' - the catchphrase used by wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin.

world Updated: Mar 03, 2012 00:11 IST
Amol Kharadkar

More than the game of cricket, Australia, especially the state of Queensland, is renowned the world over for 'Crikey' - the catchphrase used by wildlife expert and conservationist Steve Irwin.

The word is highlighted all over the Australia Zoo - the family-owned park of late Irwin, who was better known as The Crocodile Hunter the world over.

Though Irwin, who expanded the Beerwah Reptile and Fauna Park - founded by his parents in 1970 and about an hour's drive for Brisbane - into one of the most sought-after zoos in the world, he lost his life in a tragic incident when he was pierced in the chest by a stingray in September 2006.

Yet, his wife, Terri Raines, along with their three kids and Irwin's best friends, has continued the legacy of her husband's wildlife conservation mission.

What stands out in the vast zoo is the freedom the animals - and the animal lovers - enjoy. Feeding kangaroos and handling koalas is common, sighting giraffes, zebras, rhinos and Asian elephants is refreshing, and most importantly, you can watch tigers playing, as you see them in the wild.

With Irwin's love for reptiles well known, there are plenty of them in the park.

The Crocoseum not only offers a detailed account of the history of all types of reptiles, it also has a daily show on crocodile feeding where handlers display how crocodiles sense and hunt down their prey.

As one saw Bosco, a 23-feet-long crocodile, charging towards the handler after smelling a piece of chicken in his hand, one feared for the man's life. No wonder then, the expert said at the end of the show, "Now, I can change my undies!"

We may not see Steve saying "Crikey" on any live show anymore, but a visit to the zoo is enough to ensure that his legacy will live on.