His family fulfilled "one of his greatest goals" thus keeping his legacy alive
It's been 14 years since the legendary Australian wildlife personality and conservationist Steve Irwin died. One of Steve Irwin's wish was to open an elephant hospital in Indonesia, but because of his untimely death, he never got to see it come to fruition. However, his family is determined to keep his legacy alive.
His wife, Terri, confirmed that his wish has been fulfilled. According to WWF, due to deforestation and human-animal conflict, the Sumatran elephant had been moved from the "Endangered" list to the "Critically Endangered" list in 2012. It is currently estimated that there are only between 2,400-2,800 Sumatran elephants left.
She told BuzzFeed, "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"
The hospital was built through funds from the Australia Zoo, owned by the Irwins, among other organizations. Luke Reavley, a staffer at the Australia Zoo noted, "Steve dreamed of opening an elephant hospital after witnessing first-hand the issues they were facing in the wild."
He added that the funds went into building the hospital as well as the staff quarters and that the Australian Zoo's vets were on hand to provide training to a team in Indonesia. Additionally, the Irwins will also help in the monitoring of elephants. Reavely said, "Australia Zoo have sent staff to microchip elephants to better monitor their population."
His daughter, Bindi Irwin, said, "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.'" She also highlighted that the family has made business plans to try and step up their conversation efforts all across the world.
"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," she said. The Irwin's appear in the Animal Planet show, Crikey! It's the Irwins following in the footsteps of Steve who was widely popular for his show The Crocodile Hunter, a name that also became synonymous with him. During a shooting in Baat Reef in 2014, Steve swam towards a gigantic eight-foot-wide stingray which ultimately killed him.
"All of a sudden, it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds," said Justin Lyons, Steve's cameraman, and best friend. He added, "It probably thought Steve’s shadow was a tiger shark, who feeds on them pretty regularly, so it started to attack him."
After his passing, Bindi married her long-time beau Chandler Powell last year at the Australia Zoo in the midst of a pandemic. She is now expecting her first child. She keeps her fans posted on her pregnancy, and recently shared a picture of her in her third trimester where she recreated an iconic picture of her parents with her husband 20 years later.