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.
And now every year, the legend is honored with his own holiday: Steve Irwin Day, held every November 15.
The day is described as “an international and annual event to celebrate the extraordinary life of the one and only Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.” It includes a day of events at the Australia Zoo honoring Steve’s life and legacy, while aiming to raise money for Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors’ conservation and preservation work.
In honor of this special occasion, both of Steve’s children took the opportunity to share heartwarming tributes on social media to their late “Wildlife Warrior” dad.
Robert Irwin, Steve’s 18-year-old son who has been noted for his resemblance to his famous dad, shared a throwback pic on Instagram of himself as a toddler, holding a baby alligator with his dad.
He called Steve Irwin Day “a day to remember everything Dad was about – conservation, dedication, fun and family.”
“It never ceases to amaze me what an impact Dad had on the world when I see people in every corner of the globe celebrating his life and legacy on this special day,” Robert wrote.
Robert’s sister Bindi, who has followed in her dad’s footsteps as one of the most famous conservationists and animal heroes in the world, also paid tribute.
She shared a video of Steve Irwin speaking about how he wanted to be remembered, and what legacy he would leave behind:
“If there’s one thing that I, Steve Irwin, would want to be remembered for, passion and enthusiasm. conservation is my job, my whole persona, my life revolves around that and so do my friends, family, colleagues everyone I know is involved in conservation. And you know I get this overwhelming feeling that I’m sharing my wildlife encounters with you. What a beautiful thing.”
It’s moving footage to watch today: Steve died 16 years ago, and he’d be so happy to know that all these years later people still remembered his life and work so fondly, and dedicate a day every year in his memory.
Bindi urged her millions of followers to celebrate the holiday by wearing “your best khaki and celebrating the greatest Wildlife Warrior the world has ever known.”
In addition to carrying on her father’s legacy, doing important work for animals around the world, Bindi has also been busy raising her baby daughter Grace.
She said she is raising her daughter to have an appreciation and love for animals and nature, and young Grace is already taking after her grandpa.
“This sweetheart lights up seeing her ‘Grandpa Crocodile’ on screen,” Bindi wrote on the 15th anniversary of Steve’s passing.
“I wish that Dad could hug my beautiful girl… I hold on to the thought that he’s her guardian angel now, watching over the most special part of my life, Grace.”
And the youngest Irwin seems to be following in her family footsteps already: Grace has a way with animals. Terri Irwin, Bindi’s mom and Steve’s widow, says animals “gravitate” to her granddaughter when they’re at the Australia Zoo.
“I think she’s got that determination that Steve had and that connection with wildlife,” Terri told Entertainment Tonight. “So she’ll go out in the morning in the stroller, and all the kangaroos just gather around her like they’re having a meeting.”
We all miss the late great Steve Irwin, but it’s clear that his legacy has lived on in a huge way, and it’s also clear he made a big impression on his kids.
Please share this story in memory of the great Steve Irwin, and be sure to celebrate “Steve Irwin Day” today by wearing your best khaki!