Few wildlife ambassadors have gained as much fame and notoriety as Steve Irwin. The Australian native spent his life founding Australia Zoo and using the park as a platform to conserve some of the world’s most endangered species.
Steve rose to fame on his popular TV show The Crocodile Hunter. Running from 1996 to 2007, it helped him to spread his conservation message to millions of people thanks to his close encounters with some of the world’s most dangerous animals.
The show’s popularity stemmed from the death-defying wrestles Steve would frequently undertake with crocodiles. Whilst he sustained his fair share of injuries, in a cruel twist of fate it was a stingray that ended his life in 2006.
Steve’s tragic death took place on Batt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland. The 44-year-old wildlife ambassador had been filming underwater footage of a stingray on the reef for this then 8-year-old daughter Bindi’s show.
The only witness said, “All of a sudden [the stingray] propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds.”
After the attack, Steve assumed that he had a punctured lung, but the stingray had in fact stabbed his heart, and he tragically bled to death at the scene. The incident was captured on film, but the footage was subsequently destroyed.
Now, on the 11th anniversary of her father’s untimely death, 19-year-old Bindi has posted a heartfelt tribute to him.
Bindi has very much followed in her father’s footsteps, and she has had a successful career not only as a conservationist but a singer. She also won season 21 of Dancing with the Stars in 2015.
She has spoken fondly of her father throughout her life, and it is clear that he had a huge impact on her in the eight years they spent together.
“November 15. Steve Irwin Day,” Bindi wrote on Instagram. “Today we remember all that Dad achieved for wildlife and wild places around the world. He 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, our planet.”
“I strive to encourage people to remember that conservation is not only about the cute and cuddly creatures, but also our crocodiles, snakes and sharks. We are all connected in some way.”
Although Steve was the star of The Crocodile Hunter, his wife Terri, Bindi and their son Robert also featured on the show. Now the three living members of the Irwin clan will be coming together for a series to be aired on Animal Planet.
“It seemed like a really good time, since we do so many things together as a family,” Terri Irwin said of the upcoming Animal Planet series.
It is not currently known exactly what this new show will involve.
“Steve was very much the face of our channel,” the network’s general manager Patrice Andrews said. “People even today in focus groups bring up the impact of The Crocodile Hunter.”
“Grief is never something you get over,” 53-year-old Terri said. “It’s something that walks beside you every day. And if you can learn how to manage it and honor the person that you miss, you can take something that is incredibly sad and have some form of positivity. That’s kind of what we decided to do with Steve.”
Bindi, however, is not alone in following in her father’s footsteps. His 13-year-old son Robert is doing it too:
We hope that Steve Irwin’s legacy continues to be honored in the years to come.