Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Honor the Spirit: Stingray Scandal an Affront to Irwin's Memory

Steve Irwin was all about wildlife preservation.  He dedicated his life to it, and to creating a better understanding of our wildlife companions for the billions of people who inhabit and, frankly, dominate this earth. That he was killed by one of the creatures, a stingray, which he tried to educate people about, is a tragedy. That people are using his death as an excuse to execute and mutilate these animals is far worse.

By now, everyone knows that Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin was killed off the Great Barrier Reef while filming a stingray.  And most people know that the whole nation of Australia has grieved the passing of Irwin, who in many ways popularized Australia, and the cause of wildlife preservation, as none before him had. But what many know is that now Australians are beginning to take revenge on his killer, the stingrays.

So far, 10 dead and mutilated stingrays have been found on the beeches of Queensland State on Australia’s East coast, also home to Australia Zoo, founded by Irwin. The stingrays have been found with their tails cut off, an obvious reference to the way one stingray took his life.  Michael Hornby, executive director of Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors conservation group, had this to say about the attacks:

"We are disgusted and disappointed that people would take this sort of action to hurt wildlife. We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who has taken a form of retribution. That’s the last thing Steve would want."
"Stingrays are beautiful creatures and play an important role for the environment. I hope everyone understands we have to protect wildlife now more than ever. This is what Steve was all about."

Stingrays are fairly docile fish.  They are bottom feeders, often burrowing in the sand, and are normally shy and unobtrusive.  Certainly, they are not the type of creatures to generally merit 10 murders in a week.  

There is also a video game being distributed by email called Terri Irwin’s revenge, showing Irwin’s wife trying to kill as many stingrays as possible before getting stabbed. So far the game, produced at mufunzone.com, has not received great reviews.  Still, the whole concept again really goes against the grain of what Irwin stood for.

You would have to think that Steve Irwin, only laid to rest last week, is already rolling over in his grave.

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Posted by Scottage at 3:43 PM / | |