Crocodile Hunter- no comment needed

September 5, 2006

I don’t often shout ‘hear, hear’ when I read the Telegraph but Ray Mears’s comments here hit the nail right on the head.

“Steve Irwin, the Australian television personality and naturalist known as the Crocodile Hunter, has been killed by a stingray’s barb while diving.
“He clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that,” said Ray Mears, a Briton whose television programs have included “Extreme Survival.”
“It’s a shame that television audiences need that to be attracted to wildlife,” Mears said. “Dangerous animals, you leave them alone because they will defend themselves. Nature defends itself, it isn’t all about hugging animals and going ‘ahh.”‘
Mears warned of the “gladiatorial” television of today and labelled some wildlife shows “voyeuristic”. He continued: “Television has become very gladiatorial and it’s not healthy. “The voyeurism we are seeing on television has a cost and it’s that cost Steve Irwin’s family are paying today.”

For a long time I have raged against the tone of a lot of wildlife documentaries you see on channels like the National Geographic and which seem to me to have been made for bored American teenagers brought up on a diet of action movies.

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5 Responses to “Crocodile Hunter- no comment needed”

  1. calrocks2131 Says:

    I think that you are absolutely wrong on that subject. Crocodile Hunter was one of my favorite shows and I was very sad when I heard that Steve Irwin died. He educated me and a lot of other people about much of the animal kingdom. I just wish that he was still around to educate more people.

  2. tomeemayeepa Says:

    Yes, but I think you can educate people about wildlife without being so sensationalist. It’s not so much Steve Irwin’s programmes that I object to, as he at least did it with humour and enthusiasm, it’s some of the other programmes that this kind of tv has spawned. So many programmes talk about animal predators in awe-struck tones and show graphic scenes of animals killing other animals, far more than you see about other aspects of animal behaviour. This, to my mind, comes perilously close to glorifying violence. And why do so many presenters have to chase after animals and grab them by the neck to show them close up? I would much rather see pictures of animals left to their own devices, and if possible unaware of the presence of the camera.

  3. crazymac Says:

    Of course people making animal programmes have to get close to the animals and take risks- no one would watch the programmes otherwise. Irwin was the best and he wouldn’t have had any success if he’d just filmed crocs splashing around in a pool.Anyone who thinks differently is living in cloud cuckoo land.

  4. tomeemayeepa Says:

    As Virginia McKenna put it in an article yesterday “The fundamental truth of the relationship between wild animals and people is one based on mutual respect and, to an extent, fear….Wild animals rarely attack unless they are threatened or intimidated” Now read what the cameraman said “It probably felt threatened because Steve was alongside and there was the cameraman ahead, and it felt there was danger and it baulked.” To my mind , educating people about conservation issues (and entertaining them) isn’t just about danger and violence. As for the preponderance of this sort of programme, this is what Animal Planet and the National Geographic channels are showing here today:
    Ten Deadliest Sharks, Predators’ Prey:Armour, Most Dangerous, Dangerous Encounters, Ultimate Enemies, Hunter Hunted, Up close and Dangerous and Attack the Mystery Shark.

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