Steve Irwin would have turned 57 on Friday. The conservationist and television personality died in February 2006 after being pierced in the heart by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary. He was just 44.
While many took to Twitter to praise Irwin for saving the lives of countless animals in his sanctuary, or educating millions on animal rights, or his quiet philanthropy, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) decided to blast The Crocodile Hunter after his death. On his birthday.
To honor Steve Irwin, Google changed the logo on its search page with a Google Doodle that tells the story of his life and legacy. In response to the gesture, the oft-tone deaf PETA pulled no punches in revealing how they feel about Irwin’s life work.
Mind you, this is the same dude who founded Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, an organization that aims at protecting habitat and wildlife, creates breeding and rescue programs for endangered species, and leads scientific research to aid conservation. The same dude who founded the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund in honor of his mother, where all donations go directly to the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which manages 3,450 acres of wildlife sanctuary.
A bit malicious that PETA took such a hard-line stance on Irwin, given that there was so much more to him than his television stunts. Twitter was pissed.
If you thought that the animal rights organization would dial back its comments after the backlash, you’re wrong. In a statement to USA TODAY, PETA said, “People should examine Steve Irwin’s record of wildlife molestation.”
[h/t USA Today]