Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:
Steve Irwin, 44, was killed when stabbed in the heart by a
stingray on September 4, 2006, while videotaping a series called
“Ocean’s Deadliest” at Batt Reef, north of Cairns. Irwin starred in
the Crococile Hunter television series, aired in Australia since
1992, later carried globally by the Discovery Channel. An outspoken
opponent of recreational hunting, Irwin led a successful campaign
against a government proposal to open trophy hunting for saltwater
crocodiles in the Australian Northern Territory. Irwin’s parents,
Bob and Lyn Irwin, founded the Australia Zoo, north of Brisbane,
in 1970. “In 1991, Irwin took over the zoo when his parents retired,
and began building a reputation as a showman during daily crocodile
feeding shows. He met and married Terri Raines, of Eugene, Oregon,
who came to the park as a tourist,” in 1992, recalled Brian Cassey
of Associated Press. “They invited a television crew to join them on
their camping honeymoon on Australia’s far northern tip. The
resulting show became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter.


Raines and Irwin founded a pro-animal charity together, Wildlife
Warriors Worldwide, in 2002, but “Irwin’s image was dented in
2004,” Cassey added “when he held his month-old son Bob in one arm
while feeding large crocodiles inside a zoo pen. He argued there was
no danger. Later that year, he was accused of getting too close to
penguins and humpback whales in Antarctica while making a
documentary. An official investigation recommended that no action be
taken against him.” Irwin died only weeks before the scheduled
groundbreaking on a wildlife rehabilitation center he intended to be
the biggest in the world, named in honor of his mother, who was
killed in a car crash in 2000.

Margaret Sacre, 83, died in Hoboken, New Jersey, on
September 2, 2006. Born in England, where she was not allowed to
have pets as a child, Sacre emigrated to first Canada and then the
U.S. after World War II military service. “When she moved to New
York in the late 1950s she became aware of the stray animal problem
and began her rescue work,” recalled her friend Sheila Dines. “In
1979 she moved back to England with 28 cats,” a dog she had rescued,
and “a horse she had saved from slaughter,” but she returned to the
U.S. only five years later with a cat she had rescued in Britain.

Boyd Nathaniel Lyon, 37, a University of Central Florida
graduate student, was pulled underwater and drowned near Melbourne
Beach on August 10, 2006, while trying to tag a sea turtle. A
lifelong turtle enthusiast, Lyon was also noted as a soccer player
for Keystone State in Pennsylvania and for the San Diego State
University Aztecs. He later coached for the Rancho Santa Fe Attack
Soccer Club, ran summer soccer camps, and played guitar for several
California bands. The Ocean Foundation started a fund to support sea
turtle student research projects in his memory.

Don Deichman, 57, died on August 29, 2006, from a heart
attack suffered while driving in rural Maryland. Deichman, an
unsuccessful Democratic Congressional candidate in 2002, was among
the eight co-authors of the Humane Consumer & Producer Guide,
published in 1993 by the Humane Society of the U.S., billed as “the
first national listing of farmers and ranchers identified for their
humane treatment of animals and sustainable farming practices.”
William Russell, 81, died on July 27, 2006. As a research
fellow at Oxford Univesity, Russell was recruited in 1954 to
develop humane experimental methods for the Universities Federation
for Animal Welfare. UFAW hired his research assistant, Rex Burch,
several weeks later. Russell and Burch in their 1959 book The
Principles of Humane Experimental Technique set forth the “Three Rs”
concepts of replacing the use of sentient animals whenever possible,
reducing the numbers used to the minimum necessary to achieve the
scientific goal, and refining methods to minimize harm to animal
welfare.

L.E.L. “Bets” Rasmussen, 67, died September 17 in Seattle
from the bone marrow disorder myelodysplastic syndrome. “A research
professor with the OGI School of Science and Engineering at Oregon
Health & Science University,” recalled Richard L. Hill of The
Oregonian, “Rasmussen gained international attention when she
reported in the journal Nature her discovery of the sex pheromone
that female elephants secrete in their urine to let bulls know
they’re ready to mate.” This “led to other discoveries about
elephant communication. She found that bull elephants communicate
with each other by using two fragrances in secretions from the
temporal glands on their heads during their yearly musth, a period of
heightened sexual activity and aggression. She determined that older
bulls use a foul-smelling substance that deters younger males, while
young bulls emit a sweet, honey-scented secretion to avoid conflict
with the older guys. Another study discovered how female elephants
can detect chemical cues in the urine of other females to determine
the phase of their reproductive cycle. Rasmussen also studied
whales, dolphins and manatees to determine from their breaths whether
they were unhealthy and what might be ailing them.”

Anna Marie McDonald, 24, an employee of the San Martin
Animal shelter, was killed in her home in Santa Clara, California,
on September 8, 2006 by her former housemate James Patrick Krauth,
25. Krauth fled the scene when police arrived. He was shot by
police after allegedly trying to run over an officer the next day in
Calaveras County.

Margaret Ann “Peg” Hazlett Taggart, 101, died on August 24,
2006, in Indianapolis. Taggart in 1972 cofunded the Home for
Friendless Animals in Noblesville, Indiana, now located in
Waynesboro, serving as board member and executive director.

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