East Texans React To Croc Hunter's Death - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/4/06-Tyler

East Texans React To Croc Hunter's Death

Ask any young boy at the Caldwell Zoo why they like the Crocodile Hunter and they'll quickly tell you.

8 Year old Daniel Stanford says, "He gets to see dangerous animals, like crocodiles and snakes and scorpions."

Steve irwin's passion for animals and his daring way of relating to them made him a larger than life figure many thought of as invincible.

Yvonne Stainbeck is the zoo's curator of birds and reptiles.

She says Irwin's excitment and an enthusisam made kids eager to learn.

"He worked around a lot of dangerous animals, and he certainly had a style.  That was one of the things that drew people to him, and he was certainly able to get his message across that way," says Stainbeck.

Irwin was killed in a freak accident. His heart was punctured by a stingray barb while shooting an uderwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.

Stainbeck has worked with stingrays many times before and says, while there's always the chance of getting stung, she's never heard of anything like this happening.

"Typically, they're not threatening. People go out on adventure tours and go swimming with these types of things. I don't think they normally pose a threat," says Stainbeck.

Friends who were with Irwin say they think he died instantly, and they're glad he was doing what he loved.

Children who only knew him from television will undoubtedly remember the fearless croc hunter for his antics and for that catch phrase he made so famous: "Crikey!"

Irwin is survived by his two children and his wife and business partner Terry.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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