“Crikey!” Steve and the Kerala crocodiles

March 4, 2009

Think Steve Irwin and it’s difficult to take the crocodile off the frame.

That must be the logic behind the Kerala government renaming its crocodile park on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram after the khaki-clad naturalist.

But the government is in a tight spot after it received a notice from Terri, wife of the Australian “Crocodile Hunter”, questioning the commercial use of her husband’s name.

Irwin died in 2006 after a stingray barb pierced his heart while filming off Australia’s coast.

Kerala, known for its wildlife and backwaters, attracts a lot of foreign and domestic travellers.

The park in question was set up in 1977 for breeding of reptiles and was renamed as the Steve Irwin Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre in 2007.

The facility, run by the forest department, also has a lion safari, deer park and a boating facility.

“The government had renamed the park to honour Steve Irwin and create some interest in people visiting the park,” says Surendranathan Asari, the former principal chief conservator of forests.

But the notice suggests Steve’s wife does not share the same thought.

Was the government right in naming the park without taking prior permission?

What prompted Terri to send a notice nearly two years after the park was renamed?

More will be revealed in the coming days as the state government scrambles for a reply.

What do you feel? Will the name stay or will we soon be reporting a renaming ceremony?

4 comments

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I think the Terri is absolutely in the right on sending a notice to the Kerla government. I am sure she follows the current affairs of Kerala as keenly as rest of the indigenous Australians so the 2 year delay can be ascribed to the that.The argument that Mr Asari, the chief conservator of forests gives is quite ludricrous. If the government wanted to genuinely honour Steve Irwin, the right protocol should have been to contact the nearest kin (Ms. Terri) and apprise them of their intent. It would have been helpful if they would have been invited to the opening of the park as well. Instead some bureaucrat figured out a sly way of gaining free publicity for the park by naming after Mr Irwin.Since it is apparent that the intent was to gain attention and not really to honour someone, the Govt. Of Kerala should do either of the following- If the park is profit motivated then Ms Terri deserves a share of the income- If the park is for educational purposes, at least the Govt should be courteous enough to seek permission.If the Govt. is proud enough to do either, please rename it appropriately.

Posted by SP | Report as abusive

The government should have taken permission, but the re-naming was done with good intentions – of honoring Steve. Hope Terri takes that in to consideration and can be placated with an apology

Posted by Paritosh | Report as abusive

GOVT would have definetly done in good intention since there are huge fan following for steve in Kerala.However GOVT should understand the feelings of steve’s family.GOVT can arrange a visit for steve family to the park and involve them.Show the transperancy that they are dedicating the park to a legend.

The park mentioned has been in existence for 32 years. I am very sure that the move to name the park in Steve Irwin’s name was meant as a tribute only. There was no commercial angle to that. The park charges nominal fee for entry(unlike the australia zoo which charges 53 AUD for an adult and 31 AUD for a child!!!!). To say it had a commercial angle would be a bit harsh. The state has an enthusiastic minister who is handling the wildlife dept who is proactive unlike many of his predecessors.If permission was not asked for using Steve’s name, i think its a mistake. In India generally everyone considers it an honour to name something after someone’s name. It is considered as an honour which does not involve any commercial angle. So its a lesson for the kerala government over there who thought that people associated with Irwin would find this as an honour, a mark of respect.More than a commercial angle i think its just difference culture. The problem is that even though he is famous, Steve Irwin has not achieved the greatness of Gandhi, Nehru or others , there are thousands of institutions named after them with no one bothering. They are not commercial icons like Steve. This is what the kerala government needs to understand, Steve Irwin(rather his name) is part of a commercial venture(Australia Zoo) similar to Disney. Disney is popular enough for the Kerala governmemnt not to name anything as Disney!!!I hope Terri understands enough, and not embarass a government who renamed the park with the right intentions.

Posted by Sarai Bose | Report as abusive