My Father Was the Crocodile Hunter — Now I’m Continuing His Legacy

The daughter of Steve Irwin, Bindi, reflects on her father’s history with wildlife, and how she’s adopted his practices as her own form of meditation.

Image courtesy of Animal Planet

From the moment I was born, my wonderful mom and dad, Terri and Steve Irwin, introduced me to wildlife. I grew up living in the middle of the Australia Zoo, kept by my dad, who was known to the public as the “Crocodile Hunter.” As a zookeeper and conservationist, my father allowed me to see the difference he was making by traveling around the world with us as a family as he worked on his conservation efforts. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve felt quite confident that spending time with animals is not only what I do — it’s who I am.

After my dad passed away, my brother Robert and I derived incredible strength from our mom. Even on the most challenging days after we lost our dad, my mom still helped us to find the bright things in life. We also chose to celebrate my dad’s life and legacy instead of only focusing on the sadness of losing him. I truly believe that his spirit lives on in our hearts. It is such a blessing to carry on his important work as a family.

Today, I’ve dedicated my career to wildlife conservation, and I count my blessings daily that I get to spend so much of my time continuing my dad’s important work. Often at the end of a busy day at Australia Zoo, when everyone has left for the day, I sit on the grass in our giant Kangaroo paddock and spend time with the ‘roos, watching the sun set. I find that I’m most at peace being around wildlife. In fact, it’s become my form of meditation.

People cope with loss and familial tragedies in different ways, and my family has been lucky to honor my father’s legacy by doing what he loved most. Our new upcoming show, Crikey It’s the Irwins, premiering on October 28th on Animal Planet, has allowed me to realize my purpose in life — to spread love and light and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be just like my parents and carry on all of the extraordinary wildlife conservation work that they started. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that as a society we must first learn to be kind in every part of life.

My dad always taught me that we must all treat animals the way we wish to be treated. I think that his advice applies to both animals and people. In order to protect our planet, we must first learn to be kind in every part of life. If we are able to show kindness for each other, we can be kind to our wildlife, and in turn, to our planet.

As told to Rebecca Muller

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