06/04/05 141952 Steve Irwin feeds a crocodile at Australia Zoo. Photo: Chris McCormack
06/04/05 141952 Steve Irwin feeds a crocodile at Australia Zoo. Photo: Chris McCormack Chris McCormack

Steve Irwin's original croc hunter team reunites for feed

IN HONOUR or their late leader, four of Steve Irwin's original Crocodile Hunter team members have gathered to feed Australia Zoo's biggest saltwater crocodile, Acco.

Their pilgrimage to the Sunshine Coast tourism icon on Thursday was to raise awareness of today officially being Steve Irwin Day and to reflect on their memories of their friend.

Australia Zoo director Wes Mannion, curator Kelsey Engle, senior crocodile team member Stuart Gudgeon and head of Rescue Unit, Toby Millyard, all worked very closely with Steve on his various crocodile projects and remain specialists in their field.

With the rest of the team at Australia Zoo, they continue to carry on Steve's conservation dream and share his message. Each of the original croc team, known by the world for their involvement in the Crocodile Hunter series and their ongoing dedication to conservation, had different memories to share of working alongside Steve.

Wes fed Acco on Thursday in a spectacular display of the sheer power of saltwater crocodiles. Acco is Australia Zoo's largest croc, measuring 16ft long (five metres) and weighing approximately a tonne.

Because of his cunning nature and intelligence, it took Steve almost two years to catch Acco and remove him from a property where he was under threat of being shot.

When Steve finally caught him on his own with his little dog Sue, Acco death rolled down the bank into the boat and sank it.

Steve enlisted the help of the cane farmers who owned the property to get Acco safely captured and as a result, helped them understand all about crocodiles and why they behave as they do.

The farmers fell in love with Acco once they understood and Steve named him after them.

Each day, Australia Zoo replicates this philosophy, bringing people closer to wildlife so they can understand them, fall in love with them and ultimately save them.

Everyone is invited to join us today in celebrating Steve's philosophy for wildlife, his legacy and his incredible life this Steve Irwin Day.