November 2004
Crocodile Hunter visits Oregon Coast Aquarium

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News Times , November 2004


Source: News Times , Page 1, Tuesday November 23 2004
By: Steve Card

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is in the process of filming a new series to air on the Animal Planet network beginning next year, and one of the hour-long episodes will include footage shot at the Oregon Coast Aquarium last week.

Irwin’s animated antics with reptiles –and his frequent use of the word ‘crikey’ are well known among viewers of his Crocodile Hunter series. And while this new series being filmed in parts of Australia, Africa and the United States may not be quite as action packed, it promises to entertain and educate viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the type of innovative medical care animals are receiving these days. The show will be called “The New Breed of Vet,” and it will showcase special veterinary procedures being done that were unheard of in years past. Filming in Newport began Nov. 16 at Animal Medical Care, the veterinary clinic of Dr. Steven Brown. That day, Brown performed surgery on the toe of one of the aquarium’s otters, Aialik. At the same time, Newport dentist Dr. Heidi Romney did a root canal on one of the otters’s canine teeth.

The following day, Irwin spoke with an aquarium veterinarian, about a skate – one of the resident ray fish – that had had skin ulcers removed. The animal was undergoing its weekly checkup where the skin was scraped to check for infection. There was also a rock fish that had had a corrective procedure done on one of its eyes. It was now wearing a contact lens to protect the eye while it healed.

Irwin also watched as a feeding tube was inserted into the esophagus of a Leafy Sea Dragon, to precisely administer medicine needed to keep the creature healthy.

The idea for the new television series came about as a result of work being done at the Australia Zoo, where Irwin has a veterinary hospital. John Stainton, producer/director of The New Breed of Vet, said there are amazing things being done in that veterinary hospital, and it spawned the idea of documenting other innovative techniques being used by veterinarians around the world.

Irwin is no newcomer to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. In fact, he and his wife, who is a Eugene native, have visited on several occasions. And Irwin seem duly impressed by the medical work being done there, enough so that it even prompted him to utter his trademark “crikey” a time or two.