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 and Robert, have followed in his footsteps as animal conservationists and media personalities.
And now, it seems that the youngest member of the Irwin family is already following in her grandfather’s footsteps.
Bindi gave birth to her first child, Grace Warrior Irwin Powell, last March. The “Warrior” middle name was a tribute to the late Steve.
Even though Grace isn’t even a year old yet, she’s already taking after her famous grandpa: her family says that she’s already demonstrated a special bond with animals while growing up at the Australia Zoo.
“I think she’s got that determination that Steve had and that connection with wildlife,” Terri Irwin, Steve’s widow and Bindi’s mother, told Entertainment Tonight of her baby granddaughter. “Because it is weird to see animals just gravitate to her.”
“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.”
She says that the baby is always reaching out to pet the animals, even ones that are a little too dangerous to interact with yet — a fearlessness she shares with her late grandfather. “That’s Steve all over,” Terri said.
Indeed, over the past year Bindi and her husband Chandler have shared photos of baby Grace meeting all kinds of animals.
There was her first animal encounter with some gentle chickens:
She later met a koala for the first time. The photo shows how adorably curious the baby is about the animal.
It’s also significant in that koalas are such an iconic part of Australian wildlife and Steve Irwin’s legacy. One of the most famous photos of him shows the conservationist holding a koala.
Not only does Grace love the koalas, they love her right back, mom Bindi says.
“Oh my word, the koalas … literally climb out of their trees to come see her,” she told ET.
And she says that even Grace’s best animal friend, a giant Aldabra tortoise named Igloo, comes running when he sees the baby.
“When he sees Grace, he runs across his paddock, which is huge,” Bindi said. “If you’re a tortoise, you can’t really run very fast, but he does his best, runs across the paddock to see her and just sits. She tries to pat him, and she just ends up kind of like hitting him on the head.”
Steve Irwin died 15 years ago, far before Grace was born. But Bindi hopes that her father will still be a big influence on her daughter’s life. She says that the baby is already familiar with her grandpa through old footage.
This sweetheart has been watching her ‘Grandpa Crocodile’ on the projector at our camp here on the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve,” Bindi wrote in a sweet social media post on the anniversary of Steve’s death. “She lights up when she sees him on screen.”
“I wish with all my heart that Dad could hug my beautiful girl. It’s been 15 years since he passed away. I hold on to the thought that he’s her guardian angel now, watching over the most special part of my life, Grace Warrior.”
How adorable. We all miss the late great Steve Irwin, but it’s clear that his legacy has lived on for another generation through his precious granddaughter Grace.
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