Animal expert CRAIG FRANKLIN is convinced pal Steve Irwin died on a high after spending the last month of his life making secret scientific breakthroughs about the life of his beloved crocodiles. The CROCODILE HUNTER star, who was killed in a freak stingray attack last month (SEP06), joined Franklin and his family, trapping and releasing saltwater crocodiles in Lakefield National Park. And Franklin, a professor of life sciences at the University of Queensland in Australia, is convinced the TV star and conservationist's efforts will go a long way to saving lives. The professor says, "He was truly in his element. He was in the Australian bush. He was surrounded by his wife and two children and he was helping make world-first discoveries about the animal he loved the most." Franklin reveals that at the end final four-week adventure in August (06), Irwin told him, "This has been the best month of my life."