Steve Irwin's Family Said They've Now Fulfilled One Of His Greatest Wishes
Terri Irwin told BuzzFeed News that opening an elephant hospital in Indonesia had been something her husband had always wanted to do: "It's so important to continue his mission."
It's been more than 13 years since the death of Steve Irwin, the Australian "Crocodile Hunter" who gained worldwide fame thanks to his TV work with animals.
Since then, his family has continued his important conservation efforts.
"I think for us as a family we always want to make sure that his legacy continues," daughter Bindi Irwin told BuzzFeed News' AM to DM on Wednesday, "because Dad always said, 'I don't care if people remember me, I care if people remember my message.'"
Terri Irwin revealed to BuzzFeed News that the family's zoo had just officially finished work on one of her late husband's most cherished dreams.
"We just — just — finished one of his greatest goals which was to open an elephant hospital in Indonesia," she said. "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," she added, "and it's so important to continue his mission."
A spokesperson for Australia Zoo in Queensland told BuzzFeed News that they had helped construct a hospital and staff accommodation to assist the critically endangered Sumatran elephant.
"Steve dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild," said Australia Zoo staffer Luke Reavley via email.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the species has been decimated by habitat deforestation, poaching, and human–elephant conflict.
Australia Zoo was one of several organizations that helped fund construction of the Elephant Hospital, with the zoo's vets on hand to provide ongoing training to the Indonesian team, Reavley said.
"Australia Zoo have sent staff to microchip elephants to better monitor their population," he added.
The Irwin family and their zoo are the subject of the Animal Planet series Crikey! It's the Irwins.
Bindi Irwin said the family has set up a new business plan for the zoo ahead of its 50th birthday next year, having completed the 10-year business plan her father left behind at his death.
"We have projects all over the planet about that he was so passionate about that we've continued," she said. "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."
Bindi Irwin got engaged earlier this year to American wakeboarder Chandler Powell. Her brother told BuzzFeed News he's going to be walking his sister down the aisle on the big day. "I'm sure there's going to be a lot of happy tears," he said.
The wedding will be held at Australia Zoo, and the family teased animals might be involved in the ceremony.
"I think we'd like to see some koalas maybe walking down the aisle with us," said Bindi Irwin.
"We'll get some snakes and crocodiles involved," she joked.
Watch the full interview with the Irwins.