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A Tribute To Steve Irwin, A Wildlife Warrior And An Inspiration To All

My wife Jennifer and I co-founded Fetch The Sun in 2019 and to say that Steve Irwin was a huge inspiration behind our brand, values, and goals would be an understatement. Today (February 22nd, 2024), Steve would have been 62 years old and even though he's left this life too soon, he leaves behind an amazing legacy though his family's zoo, Wildlife Warriors, and all of his teachings he's imparted on my generation.

Photo of a poster at The Australia Zoo
Photo taken by author at The Australia Zoo. All rights reserved.

Coming of age as adults, we were both fans of Steve's work as a wildlife conservationist and his passion for animal welfare. Even though it'd be about another decade before Jennifer and I would meet, we'd both tune in regularly to Crocodile Hunter. Not only did we learn tons of cool facts about animals all over the world, Steve and his wife Terri also helped impart in us a love of nature (and a sense of responsibility to protect it) and a need to help promote animal welfare. It also taught us some really cool words like CRICKEY which I may, or may not have screamed on multiple occasions with a really bad Australian accent...

Our Inspiration from Steve Irwin

We founded Fetch The Sun in 2019 with the goal of promoting eco-friendliness, the dog/outdoor adventure lover community, and animal welfare. I like to think that even if we never heard of Steve Irwin, we'd come up with a brand like this. However, a big part of me truly believes that all those years of watching him gave us the gentle push to make it a reality. His enthusiasm, love for nature and adventure, and his ability to connect with people of all ages left a lasting impact on us and we, in turn, hope to leave a positive impact on the people in this community we're helping to build. With Fetch The Sun, we hope to carry on Steve's legacy by promoting and supporting animal welfare and conservationism.

Hand feeding a kangaroo
I got to feed the Roo's at The Australia Zoo!

In 2019, while still in the navy, I got to travel to Brisbane Australia for a joint exercise with the Australian Navy for a couple of weeks. On one of my days off, I took a bus to Beerwah and got to spend an entire day at the Australia Zoo (home of the Crocodile Hunter!). What started as the Beerwah Reptile Park by his parents in 1972, Steve and Terri have grown it into a sprawling wildlife park that's home to over 1,200 animals! As much as I followed Steve through the years, being there really hit home his love of animals and the impact he's made on people all over the world.

Sitting with a kangaroo at The Australia Zoo
Jen got to hang with the Roo's, at the zoo, too!

In summer 2001, right after graduating college, Jennifer got to spend a few weeks on a cattle ranch in Tamworth and also got to visit the Zoo (18-years before I got to visit, and just over 4 years before we'd meet!). On her way back home, in the airport, who does she see? Steve Irwin!!! And guess what - he was on her flight, going to LA for a TV appearance! She approached him and said hi. They shook hands and talked for a minute. A few minutes later while Jennifer was sitting in the terminal waiting to board, Steve came back up and gave her a hand drawn picture and said thanks for the support and visiting his family's zoo. The coolest thing is that Jennifer says that in real life he was full of positive energy and that it really was contagious.

Photo drawn by Steve Irwin
All rights reserved.

Wildlife Warriors

Started by Steve and Terri in 2002, Wildlife Warriors is a conservation organization that works to inspire individuals around the world to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats. Their projects are varied but all lead back to the common goal of saving wildlife.

Wildlife Warriors run the wildlife hospital at the Australia Zoo where they've so far helped over 120,000 animals and each year, they provide care to about 800 koalas that are functionally extinct. They manage and protect the 330,000 acre (35 ecosystem) Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York. They provide support to the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa who patrol 41,000km of nature reserve. They also support Rhino Guardian K-9 units, assist Ecocean in their research of the Whale Shark, fight crimes against wildlife, and so much more. Learn more about Wildlife Warriors here.

What Would Steve Do

"Enjoying nature is positively correlated with caring for nature"

I just finished reading "My Steve" again for the third time. The book (written by his wife - Terri) is a tribute to Steve Irwin and the amazing work he did. It's no secret that running this business is difficult at times and it's filled with ups and downs. And sometimes during the downs, I'll flip through this book and every time I read it, I'm left inspired and motivated to continue on doing more.

As we continue to build Fetch The Sun, we often ask ourselves "What would Steve do?" His legacy reminds us that every little action we take can make a difference. Taking a hike and posting pics to social media may inspire more to take that same hike. Offering tips on how to have outdoor adventures with your dog might motivate someone to get out of the house with their pups and enjoy nature (in my opinion, enjoying nature is positively correlated with caring for nature). Visiting a local animal shelter and raising awareness may be the deciding factor in someone adopting a new pet. There's so much we can do for free and that only takes a little bit of time (and it's typically healthy!!).

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Steve Irwin on what would have been his 62nd birthday, we want to take a moment to remember the impact he had and continues to have on our world. His dedication to wildlife conservation, animal welfare, and promoting a love for nature has inspired countless individuals, including us. Let's carry on his mission by making positive changes in our daily lives and supporting organizations that help those who can't help themselves. Thank you, Steve, for all that you did and all that you continue to inspire.


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