More than 13 years since his death, Steve Irwin’s family have now fulfilled one of the late animal expert’s greatest wishes.
Since his tragic death from a stingray barb as he recorded a wildlife documentary, Steve Irwin’s family have continued his legacy, working at the Australia Zoo, caring for all types of wildlife and spreading Steve’s conservationist message.
Now, Steve’s wife Terri Irwin has shared the news the family’s zoo has officially finished work on one of her late husband’s biggest wishes.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Terri said:
We just — just — finished one of his greatest goals which was to open an elephant hospital in Indonesia.
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.
These are the things we talk about, and it’s so important to continue his mission.
— Terri Irwin (@TerriIrwin) October 2, 2019
The Australia Zoo has helped construct an elephant hospital in Sumatra, including staff accommodation to assist the program there.
Luke Reavley, who works at the Australia Zoo, said:
Steve dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild.
And now it seems his dream has finally come true as, along with other organisations who helped build the hospital, vets are now on hand to provide ongoing training to the team in Sumatra ahead of opening.
As well as looking after sick elephants, the team have also ‘sent staff to microchip elephants to better monitor their population’, according to Reavley.
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Dad first created the term ‘Wildlife Warriors’. Being a Wildlife Warrior means to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Together we have protected nearly half a million acres of conservation property. We have cared for over 86,000 wildlife patients at our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital with the goal of giving each animal a second chance at life and releasing them back to the wild. We support cheetah and rhino conservation work in Africa and employ a team of 60 rangers in Sumatra to dismantle illegal tiger snare traps. We’ve funded and participated in over 50 conservation studies, learning more about how to better protect our wildlife and wild places. We have filmed across the globe hoping to educate and inspire everyone to believe in their strength to change the world. We have dedicated our lives to standing up for Mother Earth. It’s up to ALL OF US to make a difference for the generations to come. The future is in our hands. 💙
Meanwhile, the Australia Zoo is approaching its 50th anniversary next year, and there are big plans to celebrate, according to Steve’s daughter Bindi. One of which is a new business plan for the zoo, having now completed the 10-year business plan her father left behind.
She told BuzzFeed News:
We have projects all over the planet about that he was so passionate about that we’ve continued. Helping rhinos and cheetahs in Africa, tigers in Sumatra — it’s so important for us to continue Dad’s legacy and what he loved the most, which was wildlife conservation.
Speaking about the work they’ve done in Sumatra, Bindi Irwin told BuzzFeed‘s AM to DM:
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.’
Thanks to the Australia Zoo, Steve’s work is clearly everlasting, and now seems to be growing even further.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.