So long Mr. Erwin
I often confuse Steve Erwin with Dr. Brady Barr. Thanks to Wikipedia, the latter is the first person to capture all 12 species of crocodiles in their natural habitat. It was in a National Geographic feature that I saw Dr. Barr captured a baby Philippine crocodile (Crocodylus Mindorensis) in the wild. This was said to be a very remarkable achievement since this particular species, is so rare and endangered that it is thought of to exist only in captivity.
The untimely and unlikely death of Steve Erwin, a famous conservationist and Australian icon, came to me as a shock not because his demise fell a day before my birthday but because he could still have done so many things – like raising awareness about misunderstood animals and educating the younger generations that we actually are not owners but mere stewards of this planet.
I have not seen a live sting ray (pagi in our local dialect) in all 22 years of my life. I only saw portions of the fish, conveniently cut in squares and cooked in coconut milk. The said ‘barb’ that struck Irwin’s heart is sometimes used as whip for misbehaving children. And in some parts of Northern Mindanao, its flesh is sometimes dried, then salted and then sold especially to patrons with exotic taste buds.
Even if Mr. Irwin was still alive today, doing shows in the Australian Zoo or catching tarantulas, venomous snakes and crocodiles with his bare hands, he will never read this blog entry. But I am just humbled to know that he died doing the thing that makes him live – passion in understanding more about this world that we are in.