He spent eight hours on the WSU campus, most of it at the veterinary
teaching hospital. The best filming of the day, however, was in WSU's
grizzly bear facility at the eastern end of Grimes Way.
"He let the grizzlies lick his face. It will be the highlight of a
program," said John Stainton, Irwin's producer for Animal Planet.
Those who have been involved with filming the WSU grizzlies in the
past were impressed with Irwin's success with the animals that were
roused out of their winter slumbers to meet the "Crocodile Hunter" and
his television crew.
"Last time we filmed there, I tell you, we had trouble," said College
of Veterinary Sciences public information officer Darin Watkins. "I
don't know what it is about this guy, but he had Mica (one of the
grizzlies) sitting in his lap and licking him."
The working title of the four programs is "New Breed Vets" and it is
expected to air in April.
"The theme will be the cutting edge of wildlife and veterinary
medicine," Watkins said.
Besides spending face-to-face time with the grizzlies, Irwin saw a
juvenile bald eagle and a horse get magnetic resonance imagery exams at
the veterinary hospital. He also observed WSU vets doing an endoscope
exam on a thoroughbred horse while it ran on a treadmill at the vet
The MRI machine has been available to the vet school for several
years, but it's still an unusual event for the instrument to be used on
"Snowy (a bald eagle) has been here for some time with a damaged
wing," said WSU undergraduate and Raptor Club President Evelyn Brand.
"The question was whether the wing could be fixed or not and the MRI
exam showed that it really couldn't be. So Snowy will be kept (in
captivity) as an educational bird at a facility in California."
The many laboratory and examination facilities at WSU impressed
"We don't have all this in Australia," Irwin said of the veterinary
Irwin was fatigued after a 22-hour flight from Australia followed by
a full day of filming. As he left the vet hospital, Irwin took time to
be photographed with arms around children who had gathered on campus
hoping to see him. "I can't answer questions," he said to the media.
"I'm a real family man and I want to get all the kids into photos."
After a couple of breathless minutes of photograph taking, Irwin and
Stainton were driven from the vet school to the airport.
"He was here only 24 hours," said college of veterinary medicine
spokesman Charlie Powell. "He's leaving on the same flight he came in on
E. Kirsten Peters can be reached at (509) 334-6397, ext. 310, or
by e-mail at email@example.com.