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'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin's death affects U.S. conference

UPI News Service, 09/24/2006 

The death of Australian "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin cast a pall over the American Reptile Breeders Conference in Anaheim, Calif., this weekend.

Vendors and visitors shared memories of the activist and entertainer who was killed by a stingray barb while filming a documentary earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

One vendor said watching Irwin on TV cured his fear of snakes and he now owns 15 as pets. Other reptile enthusiasts credited Irwin for boosting interest in reptiles, The Times said.

"He extended the passion that I think most of us feel," Brian Barczyk said. "There are a lot of people who are in this room right now because of what he did 10 years ago. He's why they got into reptiles."

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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