8 Questions for the Irwins

April 17, 2020
HANDLE WITH CARE! Bindi and Robert Irwin pose with an anaconda at a ceremony honoring their father, Steve Irwin, in Los Angeles, California, in 2018.
AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC—GETTY IMAGES

Bindi and Robert Irwin are the children of the late Steve Irwin, a conservationist and a zookeeper at Australia Zoo. Their reality-TV show, Crikey! It’s the Irwins, teaches people to care about wildlife. They spoke with TFK Kid Reporter Priscilla L. Ho.

1. What’s it like to run Australia Zoo?

Robert: We live and work in the zoo, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary. There are about 1,200 different kinds of animals there. Our dad and our mom, Terri, wanted the zoo to be a place where animals are given the best life possible, and where we could teach people about protecting wildlife. It’s a pretty awesome place to live.

2. Tell us about your charity, Wildlife Warriors.

Bindi: Wildlife Warriors helps conservation on a global scale, whether it’s tigers in Sumatra or rhinos in Kenya. We collaborate with scientists, to study how we can better protect wildlife. We also have sanctuaries all over Australia, set up for the sole purpose of protecting animals in their natural habitats.

3. How have you helped animals affected by the recent bushfires in Australia?

Bindi: We’ve taken in hundreds of flying foxes at the zoo’s wildlife hospital. As the fires passed through, the mothers flew away but their babies weren’t able to follow. We’re desperately trying to treat these little guys until they are old enough to go back into the wild.

4. What animal needs the most attention to be saved from extinction?

Robert: Every animal is important. You need a healthy population of insects to take care of plants, and you need birds and smaller mammals, and big predators, like crocodiles and bears. Each species fills its own little niche. Lose any one of them, and their ecosystem starts to fall apart.

5. Your show, Crikey! It’s the Irwins, launched in 2018. It’s entertaining. But there’s also a purpose, right?

Bindi: We want it to be a positive place where people can sit down with their families and feel really good, but also learn something. We hope people watch it and think, “Gosh, that’s really important. We’ve got to make a difference for these animals.”

6. How did you balance school with your work at the zoo and filming the TV show?

Bindi: We did online classes, which allowed us to do all our traveling and work at the zoo. Our mom and dad always encouraged us to learn, in school and in life. They instilled a passion for adventure and learning every day.

7. Which wild place would you most like to visit?

Robert: At the top of my list would be seeing polar bears in the wild. Bindi: I would love to go to the Himalayas and see the red pandas.

8. What can kids do to protect the world’s wildlife?

Robert: Even simple things make a big difference. You can help clean up a park or beach, or set out a birdbath. And it’s important to raise awareness about conservation. Learn all you can, then start a conversation with your peers, your family, and your teachers.