Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin has defended feeding a crocodile while holding his baby son, claiming it's good parenting to teach children about crocodile danger.
Mr Irwin is under investigation by the Queensland Families Department after feeding a crocodile while holding his one-month-old son, Bob, at his Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast yesterday. The incident has made headlines internationally.
At a media conference today outside the zoo and flanked by his father Bob, wife Terri and daughter Bindi, Mr Irwin claimed he was "hurt" by the allegations of child neglect. "I am hurt. I am as hurt as I get," he told reporters. "But this must be happening for a reason. And I sincerely believe that Bindi is the most well-rounded kid her age, and by crikey, is the most croc savvy kid her age in the world.
"If I had the time again maybe I would do it differently. "But it's all about perceived danger ... I was in complete control.
"People say, `well what if you had fallen?' But for that to take place a meteorite would have had to come out of the sky and hit Australia at 6.6 on the Richter scale like in Iran. The Queensland Families Department has confirmed it will seek unedited copies of the tape from the Irwins to ascertain whether they breached Workplace Health and Safety regulations. Scores of Queenslanders rang the Families Department care crisis hotline last night after the footage appeared on the nightly news. Police say they are not seeking criminal charges, and acting Premier Terry Mackenroth said there would be no charges.
Mr Irwin said he lost his mother in a car accident and was well aware of how easily accidents can happen. "Every time I put my children in my car I am scared because my wife and I have no control over the traffic," he said.
Wife Terri also came to Mr Irwin's defence claiming it was a parent's duty to educate children against the dangers of tropical life. "Children learn to swim at an early age. Would you rather have a child learning to swim under duress or to have them drown?," she said. "Children need to be taught the dangers of crocodiles."
Three years ago, a worker from Australia Zoo was admitted to hospital after being mauled by a crocodile. The zoo was fined $300 for not reporting the incident to Workplace Health and Safety.Posted by tstubbs at January 02, 2004 11:39 PM