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News Source: The Courier-Mail (14th August 2007)
by Glenis Green
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THE best mate of Steve Irwin says he feels as if the Crocodile Hunter is still with him, almost a year after his death shocked the world.

Wes Mannion told The Courier-Mail in an exclusive interview that Irwin's presence still looms large for him.

"I've never really lost anyone close to me, ever. Someone said that they're always there and I've gone 'yeah, sure' but as time goes on you realise they really are there." he said.

"It's just so strong. You make a decision and you just feel someone is there. It's not a weird thing like a pat on the shoulder and a whisper in your ear. You just feel them there and you feel you're two people rather than one."

Irwin's family will mark the first anniversary of his death next month in private during a camping break in remote Lakefield National Park in north Queensland.

It was the last place they were all together before Terri took their daughter Bindi, 9, and son Robert, 3, on to Tasmania for wildlife commitments while Irwin stayed on in the north to complete documentary filming obligations.

Terri and her children flew out on Monday to join the scientific team doing crocodile research in the wilderness area. The team includes Irwin's father Bob Irwin.

Mannion, an Australia Zoo director, said that rather than focusing on the day Steve died, his family, staff and friends intended to hold a public celebration of his life at the zoo on November 15 - Steve Irwin Day.

It will include family entertainment and activities and wildlife warrior shows.

Read more from this interview here

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