Aussie croc hunter in trouble again

SYDNEY: Australian crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, widely criticised in January for hand-feeding a croc while holding his baby son, was in deep water again Monday for getting too close to whales in Antarctica. Irwin said his company Best Picture Show was under government investigation for a possible breach of wildlife laws after he swam with two giant humpback whales and penguins while filming a documentary on Antarctica in February. Interacting too closely with Antarctic wildlife is banned under Australian wildlife legislation, attracting fines of up to one million dollars or two years jail.

But the unrepentant TV star dismissed the latest furore as “just a big storm in a tea cup”, saying he was being investigated over a misunderstanding and had just been “bobbing around” in the ocean when the whales went to him. The Perth-based West Australian newspaper reported that the Australian Antarctic Division had demanded an urgent video copy of the film, due to be screened in the US next month. Its attention was drawn to the documentary by the promotional material for the hour-long ‘Ice Breaker’ programme which says: “He slides down hillsides with penguins, almost rubs noses with the notoriously dangerous leopard seals and spends the most inspiring time with two friendly humpback whales.”

But Irwin told the Nine Network that the two humpback whales approached him and his boat while he was sitting on an iceberg. “We filmed them, they’re coming up to me while I’m on the iceberg, they’re swimming all the way around me.” He said that after returning to the boat, the whales stayed with it for more than two hours. —AFP