|Born||1970 (age 43–44) |
|Occupation||Director of Australia Zoo|
|Spouse(s)||Jodie Chapman (m. 2004–12)|
|Children||Riley Mannion (b. 2005)|
In 1976, Wes and his family returned to Australia and eventually, in 1985, settled on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. 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.
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.
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.
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.
- "Animal Planet - Croc Hunter Diaries: Meet the Crew". Animal Planet.
- "Crikey, it's raw Stevo!". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 September 2006.