Who could fill Steve Irwin's khakis?

Can you believe it’s been nine years since Steve Irwin was tragically killed by a stingray?

The effervescent Crocodile Hunter was a breath of fresh air in Australia during the first years of the new millennium, loved by Aussies and adored by the rest of the world. His energy, his passion and his never-ending enthusiasm were infectious.

There were two things Steve loved more than life itself and they were his zoo and his family. And today, we reckon he’d be proud of both.

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When you visit Australia Zoo in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Steve beams down at you from the walls but, gradually, his image has been taken over by that of his wife Terri, son Robert and daughter Bindi. And that’s how it should be. It’s possibly how it would be if Steve were still with us.

One thing’s for sure, he’d be super proud of his children. Bindi, at 17, is proving to be a formidable young woman. She has been in the spotlight for her entire life, but instead of letting the fame go to her head, works tirelessly as a global ambassador for the Australia Zoo conservation arm, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide.

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Bindi has featured in a number of documentaries and movies, all with a strong wildlife conservation theme, and was names Young Conservationist of the Year last year.

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Bindi is appearing in the US version of Dancing with the Stars, telling Woman’s Day she is out of her comfort zone in a ballgown. “We always say khaki is an attitude. You can’t climb trees that well in a dress!”

Robert, who is now 11, is the spitting image of his dad and according to the Australia Zoo website, “Is stoked to be a part of the annual Australia Zoo croc research trip up in far north Queensland, helping the experienced croc team catching and tagging crocodiles with tracking devices before releasing them back into the wild.”

As we remember Steve Irwin today, we’re grateful to know his beautiful children are carrying the torch for him.

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Were you a fan of Steve Irwin? What was it about him that captivated the world?