One of my biggest regrets of 2018 is that I didn’t spend time in the animal hospital. When Ruth and I visited the Australia Zoo north of Brisbane, I spent all of my time looking at exotic, like the red panda above, and native animals instead of seeing the facility designed to heal them. I was told that there was no animal of great interest being treated, so I didn’t focus on it. Now I wish I had.
The Irwins are back on Animal Planet with new episodes that began on October 28, 2018. I suspect it is wildly popular and doing well in the ratings. It’s getting 98% favorable reviews. More that 10 years have passed since Steve Irwin was stabbed in the heart by a stingray and died, but he is still a presence both on the show and at the zoo. Steve Irwin would be very proud of what his wife and 2 children have done to keep his memory alive. His daring in dealing with wild animals appears often at the zoo, and he is often featured in the new TV episodes doing something dangerous. Terri, Steve’s wife, calls the animal hospital at the Australia Zoo “a resort for wildlife”. It has treated more than 76,000 animals so far.
Bindi, Steve’s daughter, seems to be emerging as the new star of the family. Now 20, Bindi is featured on the new show, had co-created books, has hosted a series for Discovery Kids called “Bindi, the Jungle Girl”, and appeared on and won “Dancing with the Stars”in 2015. Her trophy and a costume are on display at the zoo. The new episodes show her working at the zoo’s Animal Hospital.
The zoo itself has more than 1,200 animals. Many of them are roaming freely. My favorite area was the large habitat containing many African animals. I saw great numbers of Australian animals wandering about without restraint. At one point I was literally surrounded by lemurs. it was exciting but I still regret not seeing where wounded animals are helped. Steve Irwins wildlife advocacy is in the competent hands of his family, especially his daughter.
As far as I can tell, the next new episode of “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” will appear on Animal Planet on Sunday, December 16.