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In dedicating WLMD to Steve Irwin I'd like to make a public statement that I support the dedication and passion with which Steve, and his entire family, pursue the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems worldwide.
I joined the Croc Hunter bandwagon relatively late. As a fellow Australian I was aware of Steve's larrikin status but one thing impressed me even before I really understood the breadth of his influence: the fact that he, and his wife Terri, were using profits from their successful ventures in order to purchase and rehabilitate habitat for wildlife. That, to me, was an example of "putting your money where your mouth is".
However, when the Croc Hunter DVDs did hit our house, we went overboard. My children became fans and some would say I became a fanatic. Ultimately the course of WLMD came to a crossroads with Steve Irwin: I felt that if there was anybody in the world capable of going into the wild and finding a live Tasmanian tiger, it would be Steve.
On the weekend that Steve died, just on Father's Day, I had taken the family for a trip up the NSW coast. We rescued a fully grown bearded dragon from an onslaught of traffic, photographed a bar-sided skink, discovered enormous sea slugs and brought home pet bullants. As we arrived home from our "Steve-filled weekend" a friend sent the message that he was dead. I was shellshocked - surely this wasn't possible? He was so young and had so much still to do.
Less than a week earlier I had written to Steve, urging him to explore the prospect of live thylacines in Tasmania. His secretary informed me the message would be forwarded to Steve on return from his current research trip as it was a subject that would interest him. That was the fateful trip from which he did not return however.
With the loss of perhaps the world's most famous wildlife warrior, I have added this dedication to WLMD. Through it I hope to encourage others to pick up the baton, in whatever way possible - small or large - to help with global efforts at conserving this precious paradise we call our home: planet Earth.