‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin’s passion and legacy are kept alive by his children.
By CHRISTINE CHEAH
IN September 2006, a poignant public eulogy by a little girl in pig tails captured the world’s attention. The eulogy was for her father, and it was broadcast to the rest of the world from the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia.
Just a week ago, that same girl was in Sunway Lagoon, Selangor, confidently addressing a crowd while handling live animals.
Meet Bindi Irwin, now 14, daughter of late wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter”.
“Wow, look at Susan. She is so beautiful! Do you know that she has four chambers in her stomach?” she said to the crowd. Girls her age are rarely that excited over a goat, but then again, Bindi had quite a different upbringing.
Being the daughter of the larger-than-life Crocodile Hunter (who tragically died after being stung by a stingray), she has been exposed to wildlife all her life. In fact, Bindi had started filming her own wildlife documentary series, Bindi The Jungle Girl, as early as 2006.
Today, she and her nine-year-old brother Robert, are walking wildlife encyclopedias who now travel around the world raising awareness about animal and environmental conservation.
“I hope to make a difference and encourage others to stand up for what they believe in and help to protect the Earth for generations to come. We have to be the change we wish to see in the world,” said Bindi during an interview with R.AGE.
The Irwins, Bindi, Robert and mother Terri, are now touring Asia to promote their latest documentary, Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors. The family have been speaking to audiences at “wildlife sessions” to explain to them the importance of their cause.
“The show will give you an insight of our daily lives in Australia Zoo. You’ll see everything from wildlife rescue to jumping crocodiles.
“More importantly, we want to keep dad’s legacy alive and carry on in his footsteps,” said Bindi, who enjoys nothing more than spending time with animals.
But having grown up shooting wildlife documentaries their whole lives, Bindi and Robert have missed out on quite a few “normal” childhood experiences.
Instead of attending a regular school, the two take lessons from a tutor who travels with them.
Bindi, however, wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“Many kids my age feel like they don’t have a voice, and have peer pressure bearing down on them. It seems that we all want to grow up quickly and forget to enjoy life now.
“One of my favourite quotes is ‘don’t count the days, make the days count’, which is what I live by. And although I study through distance education; instead of going to school the same place everyday, I get to travel with schoolwork which is fun,” said Bindi.
Robert, who is a splitting image of his father, said he already knew what he wanted to do in life since he was two, and he’s been slowly working towards it ever since.
“I want to be a paleontologist and I want to discover prehistoric creatures,” said Robert, who has even published his own book, Robert Irwin – Dinosaur Hunter.
Apart from starring in documentaries, Bindi also hopes to appear in more films where she can further spread her message of conservation.
Earlier this year, she acted in an Australian movie called Return to Nim’s Island.
“I would like to continue with my filming work, as I think filming is a great way to bring my message of conservation to a bigger audience. As I get older, I want to start tackling bigger issues facing the world.
“Issues such as human over-population and the non-consumptive use of wildlife seem to be the ‘elephant in the room’ that everyone tends to ignore.”
Bindi Bootcamp: Reboot airs on Discovery Kids (HyppTv Ch 561) every weekday at 10.30am and Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors premieres on July 10 on Discovery Kids with episodes airing every weekday at 8:00pm.
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