Crocs and conservation with Terri Irwin

Queensland’s croc wrangling queen of conservation, Terri Irwin, talks to Your shout about why we all need to show Australia’s largest reptile a bit more love.

Listen to the full story below.

 

They have scales, teeth and an appearance that harks back to the days of dinosaurs, but the crocodile’s fearsome reputation means they’re still largely misunderstood.

In 1996, Aussie conservationist Steve Irwin began filming his adventures into the croc territories of northern Queensland to show the tamer side of these giant reptiles.

Steve’s calling card was an exuberant “Crickey!” and, even to this day, it invokes images of khaki, crocodiles and the Australian bush. Steve is so entrenched in the national consciousness that many Australians can remember where they were when they first heard of Steve’s death in 2006.

Steve left behind a legacy that his wife and Australia Zoo owner Terri Irwin was more than qualified to continue.

Terri was no stranger to the important conservation work done at Australia Zoo after years spent campaigning for wildlife and saving vulnerable top predators in her home state of Oregon.

From a young age, Terri was passionate about saving animals and was lucky enough to have a father who supported her in her journey from young animal lover to an adult determined to advocate for wildlife.

“There were a couple of defining moments that really made me realise what my passion was in life,” Terri said. 

“I think we’re so lucky if we discover that young and if we’re encouraged to follow that path.”

One of Terri’s defining moments included finding a stray dog at her primary school. She wasn’t happy with the process that meant the dog might be put down, so she questioned the adults around her – something her dad taught her from an early age.

“I remember there was a stray dog that came into the school and they said, ‘we’re just going to call the dog pound and they’ll send someone out and take it in’,” Terri said.

“I was nine years old at the time, and lucky enough to have a dad who was a police officer and a heavy haul truck driver, and he would always say to me ‘question authority’.

“And I thought that was so profound because it means when someone tells you the process is that the dog goes here and it might be put down, it’s ok to say that I think I can fix this.

“That’s what I encourage people to do and we’re all people who, to a certain extent, will sit on social media or yell at the news from our sofa but not actually actively change anything.

“That’s what I want to encourage people to do.”

Since that day, Terri has been questioning authority and challenging the status quo to ensure vulnerable and endangered animals can continue to thrive for generations to come.

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