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Crikey! The Crocodile Hunter has taken over Google’s Doodle for the day, marking what would have been Steve Irwin’s 57th birthday.
The Doodle, which usually just spells out Google in shades of primary colors, gets a makeover from time to time to celebrate an event, holiday or the birthday of a special person in history.
Irwin’s Doodle is interactive, the product of a partnership with Google and Queensland’s Australia Zoo, which is known as the “Home of the Crocodile Hunter.” The Irwin-inspired Doodle showcases scenes of the Irwin family interacting with animals at the zoo.
Google users also can read a guest post on the Google Doodle blog from Terri Irwin, honoring her husband’s life and achievements, or recall fun Irwin facts by saying “Hey Google, Crikey” to Google Assistant.
Irwin mesmerized people with his adventures, and sometimes misadventures, teaching about wildlife and the importance of conservation. He died almost 13 years ago at the age of 44 while filming off the Batt Reef in his native Australia.
Irwin’s family, including children Bindi and Robert, have carried on his legacy at the Australia Zoo, which was founded by Irwin’s parents, and by participating in wildlife conservation efforts.
“We are incredibly proud that Google Doodle has chosen to recognize Steve and all the wonderful conservation work he achieved,” Terri Irwin said. “Steve always wished that his message to protect wildlife and wild places would be remembered. This certainly honors his message and mission.”
Irwin was born in Essendon, a suburb of Melbourne, and grew up in Queensland. His father was a wildlife expert with a particular interest in amphibians and reptiles, and his mother was a wildlife rehabilitator.
The family started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Irwin grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles, learning about animals, their care and how they were threatened by development and ecological changes. Irwin later took over management of the park and changed the name to the Australia Zoo.
Although many thought the Crocodile Hunter was a persona invented after the success of the “Crocodile Dundee” films, Irwin was the real thing. And when he uttered his famous “Danger, danger, danger,” it was a genuine warning about the wildness of an animal.
Irwin and Terri met in 1991. She was a naturalist from Eugene, Oregon, on a trip to the Queensland area when she decided to visit the Australia Zoo. She met Irwin there and, she says, the two fell instantly in love. They were engaged four months later and married in Eugene.
The Irwins spent their honeymoon trapping crocodiles, and the filmed footage later became the first episode of “The Crocodile Hunter” television series. Irwin, with his signature khaki shorts, Australian accent and occasional mishaps, soon became a worldwide hit, and conservationists praised Irwin for educating millions about wildlife and the need to protect and conserve it.
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