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Retaliation Against Stingrays?

ByABC News
September 12, 2006, 11:25 AM

Sept. 12, 2006— -- Wildlife conservationists fear that the recent death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin has triggered retaliation against stingrays.

Ten stingrays have been killed since a stingray fatally injured Irwin on Sept. 4 as he filmed a segment for his popular television show off the Great Barrier Reef, according to The Associated Press. Multiple stingray bodies have been found on Australian beaches, and two were found mutilated -- with their tails chopped off -- Tuesday.

"It may be some sort of retribution or fear from certain individuals or yet another callous act toward wildlife," said Michael Hornby, executive director of Irwin's Wildlife Warriors conservation group in an interview with The Associated Press.

The killing of stingrays, Hornby continued, was "not what Steve was about.

"We are disgusted and disappointed that people would take this sort of action to hurt wildlife," he told The Associated Press.

Some fans have taken a more virtual revenge against stingrays. Terri Irwin's Revenge, an Internet flash computer game, has been circulating online since the tragedy.

The game features a likeness of the late "Croc Hunter's" wife, Terri, with graphics of her swimming underwater and shooting a harpoon gun at stingrays.

"Guide Terri through epic perils of stingrays to find the murderer of her late husband THE STINGRAY KING!" proclaims the game's Web site.

Not everyone, however, has called for revenge against stingrays. Some people, such as Germaine Greer, the Australian feminist icon and author, believe Irwin's death was a case of the animals finally getting their revenge.

"There was not an animal he was not prepared to manhandle," said Greer in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian. "Every creature he brandished at the camera was in distress. ... Every snake badgered by Irwin was at a huge disadvantage, with only a single possible reaction to its terrifying situation, which was to strike.