Television adventurer and conservationist Malcolm Douglas has died in a car crash at his Broome wildlife park early today. He was 69.
He was reportedly killed after a four-wheel-drive vehicle crashed into a tree at about 6.30am in an area near the Douglas’s Wilderness Wildlife Park in Broome.
For more than 40 years, Douglas, also known as the “barefoot bushman” and the original “crocodile hunter”, trekked across the Australian Outback documenting his adventures through dozens of wildlife documentaries and television shows.
He was virtually an overnight success after his first wildlife show, Across The Top, was screened in 1976. He started making wildlife films in 1964.
“What you see is what you get,” he told Fairfax in 2009.
“I’m not fake and I don’t pre-plan takes, it’s all real. There’s no helicopter on standby if something goes wrong. In places like the Kimberley one mistake and you’re dead.’
“I was filming Aboriginal people killing kangaroos and drinking the blood because there wasn’t any water,” he said.
In an ABC interview, he spoke of his favourite crocodile, dubbed ‘Gamy leg’.
“He’s about 4.6 metres – he’s a large croc and he’d been attacked by a very big croc and I saved him with lots of steroids,” he recalled.
“Not to pump him up, but to get him eating again. And now he’s a very agressive croc. All he wants to do is just kill me – but I don’t mind that I just love him.”
His series, In The Bush With Malcolm Douglas, aired in 2009 on Seven to high ratings winning its timeslot 4 out of 6 weeks.
His Crocodile Park opened in 1983 to enormous success, with tourists from all over the world flocking to the park to see and feed his crocodiles.
Douglas was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and told he had 18 months to live.
He is survived by his wife Valerie and two adult children.
UPDATE: Seven will screen the brand new documentary, The Wild and Dangerous Kimberley Coast, on Wednesday, September 29 at 9.30pm.
This was filmed last year, and is one of two remaining specials Douglas had finished for Seven.