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There are few people who've had as much of an impact on wildlife conservation as Steve Irwin. The reality TV star dedicated his life to protecting nature long before many Americans had heard the word "crikey."

Irwin passed away in 2006, when he was fatally stabbed by a stingray fish while filming an underwater documentary. He was only 44, and he left behind his wife Terri and two kids.

To honor Irwin's 57th birthday, Google has changed its Doodle to a series of illustrations highlighting his life.




The main DoodleDoodle features Irwin holding a crocodile. While, that alone would be a great tribute to "The Crocodile Hunter," if you click it, it expands and near wordlessly tells you about his life.

From the way his park grew in size, to meeting his wife and becoming a TV star, to having his kids, Bindi and Robert. The literal slide show ends with his family in front of the Australia Zoo, which they now run in Irwin's memory.

It's rather touching.





Irwin had been working with dangerous animals since the age of nine. Despite his "Crocodile Hunter" title, his work was devoted to protecting them, capturing and relocating the animals for their own safety.

His family has a park in Queensland, originally a tiny roadside park called Beerwah Reptile Park, but now called the Australia Zoo. It was there he met his wife, Terri.

While on their honeymoon, the Irwins shot footage capturing crocodiles. This would become the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. The show exploded in popularity, and the fame and money allowed the Irwins to put a lot more into their conservation efforts.

After his passing, his family has carried on his legacy. Terri and her kids, Bindi and Robert, are very involved in conservation efforts, and gave their blessing and assistance with the Google Doodle.

Looking through the images is enough to make you cry.






Terri wrote a post about today's Doodle, expanding on their story.

"Today's Google Doodle acknowledges the life and achievements of my husband Steve Irwin, whose efforts to protect wildlife and wild places have been recognised as the most extensive of any conservationist.
"We are so proud that his legacy lives on, as that was his greatest wish. He once said, 'I don't care if I'm remembered, as long as my message is remembered.'"

She also spoke on the expanded efforts of the Australia Zoo and her family's conservation efforts.

"Today, Australia Zoo is still growing with more than 1,200 animals, and nearly 1,000 acres. We protect nearly half a million acres of habitat, and our non-profit organisation supports conservation projects around the world.
"We even have a Wildlife Hospital that has treated over 82,000 sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife, solely to return them back to the wild."

Let's wish a happy birthday in remembrance of a man who loved nature so very much.





His family runs the Wildlife Warriors charity, whose efforts are dedicated to wildlife conservation and animal care. If you'd like to help, you can find out more and give donations at this link.

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