celebrity

Steve Irwin’s Daughter Bindi Opens Up About How She’s Continuing His Legacy 12 Years Later

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Somehow, it’s already been 12 years since Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin passed away. His daughter, Bindi Irwin, was just 8 years old at the time, and her father’s death continues to affect her to this day.

Bindi opened up to People about what it was like to lose her dad when she was so young.

“I remember people coming up to me and saying, ‘I’m sorry for your loss, sweetheart. Time heals all wounds.’ But that’s just not true,” Bindi said. “It’s like losing a part of your heart, and when you’ve lost that, you never get it back.”

Steve died in 2006 after a sudden stingray attack. Bindi’s younger brother, Robert, was only 2 at the time.

Over a decade later, Bindi, Robert, and their mother, Terri, run a wildlife conservation nonprofit, Wildlife Warriors.

They’ve also worked to expand the Australia Zoo, where they continue to live and work.

In October, the Irwins returned to television without Steve for the first time with a new Animal Planet show, Crikey! It’s the Irwins.

“We really do try every day to make him proud and follow in his footsteps,” Bindi said.

Before his sudden death in 2006, Steve Irwin was one of the most beloved figures in nature television.

He hunted enormous crocodiles with a smile and plenty of fearless charm.

In the process, he educated countless people about wildlife conservation.

But all of that ended when Steve was filming a new documentary, Ocean’s Deadliest.

The 44-year-old was fatally attacked by a stingray while diving off the coast of Australia. His death came as a complete shock, and fans continue to mourn Steve today.

 

Worst of all, Steve left behind his wife and two young children when he died. He had a daughter, Bindi, 8, and a son, Robert, 2.

Twelve years later, Bindi is now 20 years old and coming into her own passion for wildlife. She and Robert, now 15, recently started a new wildlife TV show with their mom, Terri.

Crikey! It’s the Irwins follows the family’s life at the Australia Zoo, where they live and work.

They’ve also worked on expanding the Australia Zoo since Steve’s death.

“I sure hope dad would be proud,” Bindi told People. “We really do try every day to make him proud and follow in his footsteps. I hope that somewhere he’s out there going, ‘Yes! You did good!'”

The two children have lived at the Australia Zoo their entire lives.

“Our house is right in the middle — we have crocodiles on one side and tigers on the other,” Bindi explained.

And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“No matter where we go, or what we do, we’ll always come back here,” Robert added. “This is our passion. It’s a part of us and Australia Zoo will always be home.”

But losing Steve at such a young age was incredibly difficult for the family, and it hasn’t gotten any easier over time, Bindi explained.

“It’s like losing a part of your heart, and when you’ve lost that, you never get it back,” she said.

In September, she honored the 12th anniversary of Steve’s death with an emotional Instagram post.

View this post on Instagram

Together Forever ❤️

A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin) on

Despite the grief, the family’s wildlife conservation work at the Australia Zoo and beyond keeps them grounded.

“Dad always said that he didn’t care if people remembered him, as long as they remembered his message,” Bindi said. “Every day we work with the beautiful animals at Australia Zoo and do the best we can possibly can to ensure dad’s dreams and goals continue.”

There’s no question that Steve Irwin would be proud of the work his family has done since his death.

Crikey! It’s the Irwins is now airing on Animal Planet.