Steve Irwin’s Last Research Paper

Those who only knew “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin from TV may forget that he was always involved in serious wildlife research. Just yesterday, a research paper was published listing Irwin as one of the authors. It involves the homing instincts of crocodiles. The short version is: you can take a crocodile as far as hundreds of miles away from its home, and he will find his way back. As Coturnix observes:
Can you imagine anyone doing this work without Steve Irwin? Who else would be able to grab a big croc, attach a satellite tracker, load it and unload it some hundreds of miles away, then follow their movements on the computer screen? Would you dare ask your grad students to do that?

Link to story. Link to research paper.

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Agreed. I don't go to circuses, and I don't know what value the field of animal behavior could possibly find in answering questions like "What happens if I pick this thing up by the tail and holler 'Crikey!' at it?"

As for other scientists not daring to do this experiment, is tracking big dangerous reptiles not part of what herpetologists do? Speaking as a grad student, I'd rather collar a croc than teach another English 101 course containing 45 hostile students who've never written anything more complicated than a five-paragraph essay. The animal behaviorists get to use tranquilizer guns. ;-)
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It's just that he ignored the most basic of all principles in animal observing; only interfere as little as possible (eg the cameras are somehow unavoidable). But pulling off stunts with wild animals is something that belongs into the circus. And there it's called abuse in my opinion.
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Agreed, fluff. As far as I can see the only thing Irwin taught us about wild animals is that it's fun to mess with them for no reason at all. Not to tag them for tracking, not to learn anything about them, but for the sheer hell of it. (And it's even more fun to dangle your infant in front of their noses.) Everyone I know who actually works with animals (veterinary assistants, trainers, zookeepers) always hated the guy.
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Serious research? They must be kidding. No even remotely serious researcher would tease an animal like this stupid dork did. He was an entertainer nothing more. And in my opinion he got what he was going for...
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