Robert Irwin Holds Back Tears & Says Late Dad Steve Irwin Would Be ‘Stoked’ His Mission Was Completed

Oct 17, 2023 by apost team

Although it has been years since renowned Australian television personality and wildlife educator Steve Irwin passed away in 2006, his family – wife Terri Irwin and children Bindi Irwin and Robert Irwin – have kept his legacy alive and are sure to remember him as they pass every major milestone of their lives. For son Robert, that means cherishing past memories with his father and sharing them with the world, as he did when introducing a new member of the family to Australia Zoo.

Lifelong wildlife lover Steve rose to fame with the show “The Crocodile Hunter” in 1996 as its host alongside his wife. His enthusiastic and energetic manner won him a legion of fans, and viewers returned episode after episode to catch up with his lively and animated presenting style. Consistently clad in his signature khakis, the show made Irwin a household name and introduced his catchphrase “Crikey!” to the wider world. The show ran for 11 years until 2007 and was the longest-running series on the Discovery Communications network.

Steve also picked up fans in the U.S. through his frequent appearances on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” He was also a committed conservationist, launching the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, International Crocodile Rescue, the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund and the Ironbark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility.

Steve and Terri married in 1992 and welcomed Bindi in 1998 and Robert in 2003. But tragedy struck in 2006: while filming an episode for “Ocean's Deadliest” in the Great Barrier Reef, Steve was stabbed in the heart by a short-tail stingray barb. His death shocked fans who had watched Steve put himself in challenging situations for years to create awareness of the natural world. 

Now, Robert is carrying on his father’s legacy and doing his part to honor his memory.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-)

Steve Irwin (2002), (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Robert has followed in the footsteps of his nature-loving father, Steve, by donning the signature khakis and making appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” He also lends his famous last name to shows, including “Crikey! It’s The Irwins” with his mother Terri and sister Bindi, and “Ten Deadliest Snakes.” A staple at Australia Zoo, Robert is also an avid photographer, lending his skills to conservation campaigns and other channels to raise funds and awareness. His efforts have taken him across the world for photography expeditions and led him to meet King Charles III to discuss wildlife habitat conservation.

Besides sharing a passion for wildlife and conservation like his father, Robert also shares an uncanny physical resemblance to his dad, with many mistaking him for his dad in the photos he shares on social media. 

In February 2020, he posted a snap of himself that showed him looking eerily like his late father, so much so that people had to look twice. The photo, which was shared on Instagram, showed the then-16-year-old Robert smiling with his eyes closed while holding a koala, and so much about the photo channeled his dad’s energy.

People could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the photo of Robert, and fans who followed him felt quite moved when they witnessed the similarities to his father. It has definitely brought up a lot of nostalgia. One person commented: "Didn’t look at the name on the shirt and honest to god thought I was looking at Steve." Another person added: “I legit thought this was Steve,” 7NEWS reported.

Robert often pays tribute to his late father on Instagram, particularly on milestones like birthdays. In June 2023, he was excited to reveal a new addition to Australia Zoo with a special link to his father.

Steve Irwin, Robert Irwin (2006), (Australia Zoo/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

On June 12, 2023, Robert shared an interesting video on Instagram in which he introduced the latest addition to Australia Zoo. The new member was an extremely rare species of turtle, which was named after none other than his father, Steve. He discovered it while on a nature trek in the 1990s with his own father, Bob Irwin, who was also a conservationist and expert in apex predators and reptiles.

While holding a member of the freshwater species native to Australia, Robert explained in the video that this was “the first time I am actually laying eyes” on the Irwin's Turtle, or Elseya irwini. Describing it as “such an incredible” and “historic” moment, Robert went on to explain the extraordinary feeling of having the species of turtle at the zoo.

“What makes these guys so incredibly special is the fact that they were originally discovered by my dad,” Robert said. He added his father “knew there was something different about them,” and “sure enough, it was a brand new species.”

Robert added that because they are so rare, not enough data is known about the species to classify them as endangered. “But what we do know is that they're very much at the mercy of human-created threats. Things like dams, mining, pollution, habitat degradation,” he explained.

“They only exist in very isolated pockets, so if anything were to happen to these waterways, it would be game over for the entire species, which is why it's so incredibly important to have a population here at Australia Zoo to ensure that this species can survive on for generations to come.”

Robert Irwin (2019), (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Robert has continued to do all he can to carry on his late father’s legacy and to make Steve proud. On Oct. 14, 2023, Robert uploaded a video to Instagram that showed him with a small turtle. It was a further look into the Elseya irwini that he had previously discussed earlier in 2023. The wildlife lover wrote in the post’s caption:

“Wow. This was a special moment. I think Dad would be pretty proud that we’ve become the first to successfully breed the turtle that he discovered. A rare, and unique species under threat in the wild has just been given a second chance.”

In the video, Robert explained:

"This is one of the highlights of my entire life and one of the most special moments ever for Australia Zoo. This is the very first Elseya irwini, or Irwin's turtle, ever hatched for any zoological facility anywhere in the world. This species is a turtle that dad originally discovered out in the wild, and for the first time we've got a little baby."

As Robert watched the baby turtle take its first swim, he couldn’t help but get choked up, knowing that he had completed his father’s mission. "It's just so surreal. And all those stories from Dad about just how amazing and beautiful they are. I don't get emotional that much. Dad would be stoked," he said.

Fans took to the comments to tell Robert that they agreed Steve would be immensely proud of him. One person said, “Steve is looking down and crying tears of joy.. His heart is proud of not only turtle, but with the fact that his legacy continued with same path he visualized.”

What do you think of the way Robert Irwin has followed in his late father’s footsteps? Do you think Steve Irwin would be proud? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to all the wildlife and nature lovers you know!

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