Steve Irwin accomplished more for wildlife education and conservation than most could in a dozen lifetimes. From his and wife Terri Irwin’s long-running edutainment series, “The Crocodile Hunter” to the founding of the “Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation” (now renamed as “Wildlife Warriors”), the number of animals saved and children taught to respect and value nature may well be immeasurable. In fact, his impact was so significant November 15 was internationally named as “Steve Irwin Day.”
Steve suffered a sudden and tragic death in 2006, when a stingray pierced his chest with a poisonous barb at Batt Reef in Queensland, Australia. However, his legacy was far from over. One of his greatest dreams was to open an elephant hospital, and his family, wife Terri and children, Bindi and Robert Irwin, were proud to carry the mantle.
Just as passionate about the protection of wildlife as their respective husband and father, they’ve continued his efforts in wildlife protection and worked tirelessly to achieve one of his grandest dreams. “We just — just — finished one of his greatest goals, which was to open an elephant hospital in Indonesia.” Terri Irwin tells Buzzfeed News, “In Sumatra, when Elephants step on a landmine or they get caught in a snare there was no hospital to treat them, and we now have just opened an elephant hospital, so it’s pretty special.”
Terri and Steve worked together to grow what was once Steve’s parent’s wildlife park into the great Australia Zoo, now containing nearly 1,000 acres and over 1,000 animals. Australia Zoo staffer Luke Reavley, speaking on the Elephant Hospital, tells Buzzfeed News, “Steve Dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild.” Australia Zoo, among other organizations, helped fund the Elephant Hospital, and their veterinary staff assisted with training the Indonesian team. They have also supplied staff to microchip elephants in order to better monitor their population, Reavely said.
Bindi Irwin tells Buzzfeed News, “I think for us as a family we always want to make sure that his legacy continues. Because Dad always said, ‘I don’t care if people remember me, I care if people remember my message.’” Though his family has always been happy to act in Steve’s name, their own contributions cannot be understated. Terri being a conservationist her whole life, even starting a rehabilitation center for injured predator mammals at just age 22. She and Steve raised their children with the same passion and care for wildlife they both shared. Thanks to the efforts of the entire Irwin family, it’s safe to say neither Steve, nor his message, will be soon forgotten.
If you need more wonderful stories about Steve Irwin and his family, Bindi Irwin shares a beautiful video of her father speaking on fatherhood.