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Wes Mannion

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Wes Mannion
Wes Mannion with Tiger.jpg
Wes Mannion
Born 1970 (age 44–45)
Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Occupation Director of Australia Zoo
Spouse(s) Jodie Chapman (m. 2004–12)[citation needed]
Children Riley Mannion (b. 2005)
Australia Zoo

Wes Mannion (born September 1970) is best known from the series The Crocodile Hunter as Steve Irwin's best friend and director of Australia Zoo.

Early life

Wes' interest in reptiles began in the dense jungles surrounding his family's home in Malaysia, where his father was stationed as a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.

In 1976, Wes and his family returned to Australia and eventually, in 1985, settled on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.[1] Wes' passion for reptiles continued throughout his childhood years and at age 14, he made his first visit to the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park (now known as Australia Zoo).

Wes and Steve Irwin met in the mid 1980s when Wes and his parents visited Australia Zoo. Wes soon became close to the Irwin family and he was looked upon as a younger brother. Wes volunteered at the zoo for a number of months and was later offered a paid keeping position. Wes and Steve worked alongside each other at the zoo learning about reptile and animal husbandry and eventually moved onto capturing and relocating wild crocodiles.


Steve Irwin, Wes Mannion and Terri Irwin.

Wes started full-time at the Australia Zoo in 1988, working alongside Steve and gaining intimate knowledge of the care and management of wildlife. By 1992, Wes was promoted to head reptile keeper and curator. Realizing the need to gain overseas experience, he temporarily left the zoo to gain knowledge from other zoological and veterinary facilities overseas. Upon returning to Australia Zoo in 1995, Wes took up the position of manager and in 2001 was promoted to director; Wes' ex-wife Jodie Chapman is the records officer of Australia Zoo.[citation needed]

During Steve's growing success with The Crocodile Hunter show, Wes would often star in the show as Steve's right hand and co-host, if Terri was not able to be there. When not co-hosting, he was usually behind the scenes keeping the camera crew safe from animals and ensuring their safety.


Steve showing Wes's scars from the crocodile attack.

In 2001, Wes was involved in a serious incident in which a captive Australian Saltwater crocodile named Graham bit him on the thigh. Steve, acting on instinct and training, subdued Graham with a wooden "safety stick" (a safety device located in all crocodile enclosures), allowing his friend to escape and saving his life.[2]

Wes planting a tree in honor of Steve Irwin.

See also


External links