By Brandi M. Seals
The world of children's entertainment was dealt a blow today as beloved Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dies in an unusual accident.
Irwin was loved by millions for his antics on his hit television show Crocodile Hunter. He also starred in the film; Crocodile Hunter - Collision Course which was released in 2002 and he appeared in Dr. Doolittle II in 2001.
In addition to his success on television and in the movies, Irwin was also the Director of the Australian Zoo.
Irwin was accidently killed in a stingray attack off the shore of Queensland, Australia along a portion of the Great Barrier Reef while filming a documentary of the ocean's deadliest creatures. While stingray attacks are not usually deadly, Irwin's heart was pierced by the barb on the stingray's tail.
Irwin seemed to anticipate that his life might be cut short. At one point he was quoted as saying "If something ever happens to me, people are gonna be like we knew a croc would get him!"
On this sad occasion let's take a moment and recognize other current individuals that carry on Irwin's dream of teaching everyone, especially children, about animals all around the world.
1.) Jack Hanna
Jack Hanna has been the go-to animal expert for years. He got his start as a pet store owner after majoring in business in college but he knew he wanted to do more. In 1973 Hanna was offered the opportunity to direct a small zoo in Sanford, Fl. He jumped at the chance.
Hanna worked at the zoo for a couple of years before taking a break. Two years later Hanna jumped back in and took over as director of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. The zoo had been suffering from poor attendance. He changed all that by implementing several educational events. He was overwhelmingly successful at drawing people to the zoo and because of his efforts, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a state-of-the-art park today.
In 1985, Hanna got his start with the media. He was invited to appear on Good Morning America and talk to viewers about animals. His knowledge and charm worked well at educating people about animals while he entertained them. His first appearance was so successful that he was soon appearing on so many shows that he had to leave his job at the zoo.
In 1992, Hanna was made director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and in 1993 he began hosting Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures. It is the longest-running, most-syndicated animal show in the world.
2.) Jeff Corwin
Jeff Corwin is a bit of a wildcard. He often quotes movies and jokes around on camera about various animals. His winning personality and whit have taken him far. He is an Emmy winner for his television efforts and Corwin is always working for the conservation of endangered animals.
Corwin is host of The Jeff Corwin Experience, a highly popular cable show that reaches over 13 million viewers in the United States and can bee seen in over 70 countries around the world.
Since June 15, 2005, Corwin has also begun hosting a second show, Corwin's Quest. The series was filmed for months on five continents. In the show Corwin investigates animal behavior and how their senses of smell, sound, etc. affect their behavior.
If Corwin is not out filming, he can probably be found lecturing on wildlife, ecology and conservation across the United States. Corwin has established a museum and environmental education center, called EcoZone, in his hometown of Norwell, Mass.
Corwin holds Bachelor of Science degrees in biology and anthropology from Bridgewater State College, and a Master of Science in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Corwin has appeared in several shows to discuss animal conservation. They include the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Access Hollywood, Extra and Oprah.
3.) Ruud Kleinpaste
Host of Animal Planet's Buggin' with Ruud, Kleinpaste has spent a large part of his life studying insects. Bugs are his passion and each week Kleinpaste shares that with viewers on his popular television show.
He has written several books and numerous columns. He has been on the radio and performed in television shows.
Kleinpaste was born in Indonesia, but moved to Holland with his Dutch parents when he was very young. He attended Wageningen University and eventually earned a Master of Science in silviculture, animal ecology and conservation.
Kleinpaste worked for years as an entomologist for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Auckland, New Zeeland. But, he did not like the public's perception of bugs and set out to become a media advocate. He got his chance to follow his dream in 1987 on a local radio talk show called Ruud's Awakenin. The show was a top-rated series that has continued for over 18 years.
Since 1990, Kleinpaste has expressed his love of bugs on television. He appeared on numerous shows, like Maggie's Garden Party in New Zeeland. He has been a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And now he currently hosts his own Animal Planet show.