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RUSSELL CROWE has turned gladiator again in a bid to stop Australian officials from strip mining in late pal STEVE IRWIN's wildlife reserve in Queensland.
Over 130,000 hectares of wilderness was handed over to conservationists by politicians after Crocodile Hunter Irwin's death in 2006 as a tribute.
But the new Aussie government now plans to allow a local aluminium company to mine a portion of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve - and Crowe is doing everything he can to make officials think again.
He says, "That site actually operates as a water filter and there are some species of plants and animals that don't really appear in other places, and the river the water runs into, the Wenlock River, has the largest bio-diversity range of any freshwater river in the country - it has things like saw-toothed sharks and estuarine crocodiles.
"He's (Irwin) not here to stand up for himself and I just feel, as his friend, that we can't do that... I made an offer to the environmental minister to have a talk about it but he hasn't bothered to respond."
So now Crowe is using his time on chat shows as he promotes new film State of Play to urge fans of his and Irwin's to sign an online petition on the Australia Zoo's website.
Appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman in America on Friday (17Apr09), Crowe rallied support, stating, "If any of you were ever touched by Steve's attitude towards conservation... and making conservation an important subject for us to discuss... go to that website and sign up on that petition because that man deserves to be honoured and respected, whether he's alive or not. He was a fantastic person."
The Save Steve's Place petition already boasts 118,000 signatures, according to Crowe.

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