As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues, Bindi Irwin has said she wished her late father, Steve Irwin, was around in this time of devastation.
“Dad spent his life working so hard to protect wildlife and wild places, especially in Australia,” the 21-year-old Australian conservationist wrote on Instagram.
“I wish he was here right now to give advice and strength during this time of devastation with the bushfires.
“I know that his spirit lives on through our conservation work and I hope together we can make him proud.”
Steve, who was famously known as the ‘Crocodile Hunter’, was known for his wildlife conservation work till his tragic death in September 2006.
Daughter Bindi and son Robert have continued his legacy with mother Terri Irwin through their work at Australia Zoo.
Earlier in the week Robert and Terri were visibly emotional as they spoke about the catastrophic fires that have swept Australia since October.
“Their instinct is to go up — safety’s in the top of the tree,” Terri told Channel Seven’s Sunrise when speaking about koalas’ survival instincts.
“And with a hot fire, the eucalyptus trees have so much oil in their leaves that they ignite and actually explode. So being able to treat and help koalas is few and far between because they’re basically incinerated, which is absolutely heart breaking.”
The Irwins told CNN on Monday that since the fires began their zoo’s hospital has been flooded with animals with all kinds of injuries.
“Now as they try to escape the flames, we’re seeing not only burn injuries, but also animals coming onto roads, being hit by cars, attacked by dogs, so it really is a tough situation and it’s going to be something that’s going to take years to recover from,” Robert said.
The 2019/2020 bushfire season death toll stands at 25, 10.3 million hectares of land has been burnt, a billion animals are feared to have perished, thousands of people have been evacuated from holiday beaches, and more than 1900 homes have been destroyed.
Bushfire smoke from Australia has now reached South America, the UN World Meteorological Organisation said on Tuesday.
New Zealand police issued an official statement asking Auckland residents not to phone the emergency number there about the alarming orange sky after an influx of calls.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $2 billion to a newly created National Bushfire Recovery Agency.
Celebrities who have donated include Elton John and Chris Hemsworth with $1 million each, as well as billionaire James Packer ($5 million), singer Pink ($500,000) and comedian Celeste Barber who has helped raise over $40 million through her fundraising page.
Elyse Wanshel contributed to this report.