The world lost one of its most beloved conservationists and TV personalities in 2006, after Steve Irwin, the iconic star of The Crocodile Hunter, was tragically killed by a stingray.
But his legacy has lived on, both through the fans who grew up watching his wildlife series, and his family, who has kept up his important conservation work at the Australia Zoo, working to protect native wildlife.
Both of his children — Bindi, 24, and Robert, 19, have followed in their dad’s footsteps as both conservationists and television personalities. While they were both young when Steve died, his influence is still deeply felt in them.
Recently, Robert Irwin opened up about the special connection he has with his late dad, and one thing he does every morning to keep Steve’s memory alive.
As Robert Irwin has grown up, many fans have remarked on his strong resemblance to his famous dad. Many photos of the teen working with animals around the Australia Zoo look like pics Steve himself would have taken.
And in a few cases Robert has even recreated his dad’s most famous shots, like holding a koala or feeding a crocodile.
Robert was just 2 years old at the time of Steve’s tragic passing, but it’s clear he’s a chip off the old block. And in a recent interview, Robert revealed something special the father and son have in common.
Speaking to the Australian news outlet Adelaide Now, Robert explained that they both were passionate about the ocean: “I’ve always been about the ocean from a really, really young age,” Robert said. “It has always been my dad who had that strong connection to the sea.”
Robert said he is “definitely most at home when [he’s] next to the ocean,” and goes out on the water every morning. And when he does, he has a little part of his dad with him: he uses Steve’s old surfboards.
“I feel very lucky I get to follow in those footsteps,” he told Adelaide Now.
Robert also explained that they had a shared love of photography. For Robert, who often shares his own wildlife photography on social media, it’s his own special way of keeping his dad’s legacy alive.
“I have found it to be my own individual way to push a conservation message and continue a mission that my dad originally started,” he said.
Robert often shares tributes to and memories of his late dad on social media, often with a throwback family photo. Most recently, he shared a photo of his parents in honor of their 31st wedding anniversary.
“It was on this day 31 years ago that my parents got engaged and set in motion what would become a legacy larger than life,” he wrote.
“I love my mum and dad so much… I’m proud to be their son.”
It’s so great to see Robert Irwin following in his dad’s footsteps! Even though Steve died when he was so young, it’s great to see Robert still has a special connection with his dad!
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