Bindi Irwin.
Bindi Irwin. Contributed

Bindi Irwin: Why I'm devoted to fulfilling my dad's dream

NOW, more than any other time in human history, the protection of our environment is vitally important.

The world around us is rapidly changing and we have to work together to create a beautiful world for the generations to come.

As a family, our life has always revolved around conservation work. Growing up living in the middle of Australia Zoo with the beautiful family that I have means that every day has always been an adventure, ever since I can remember.

I don't think that I had a typical childhood in any way but that is why I love my life so very much. We are doing our best to create positive change each day.

When we lose an animal species, it's like losing a brick from the house - eventually the house just falls down.

Our backyard is filled with more than 1000 animals that all feel like family and there are so many special places in the zoo that I love with all of my heart.

The funny thing is that when I was really young, I didn't actually understand that we lived in the zoo. It took me until I was about two or three years old to realise that we didn't just go to Australia Zoo every day for a visit!

Today, when I walk around the zoo, every place is filled with memories. Everywhere I go, I see my childhood.

I really think that we are extraordinarily blessed to get to share our home with so many visitors every day of the year.

Australia Zoo is home to the world's most hands-on wildlife experiences. We strive to educate and inspire each person who comes to visit.

Our mission is to empower our visitors to "be the change they wish to see in the world" through meeting and falling in love with the animals we are trying to protect.

My dad often said, "... People want to save things that they love."

We follow this philosophy at Australia Zoo and try to give everyone a life-changing wildlife experience with exciting education, dispelling the myths that people may have about many animal species.

By giving visitors the chance to experience our gorgeous animals and talk to our amazing staff, we have the chance to educate people from around the world.

My dad first created the term "Wildlife Warrior", which refers to someone who stands up and speaks for those who can't speak for themselves.

With all of the conservation work we do at Australia Zoo, my mum and dad decided to set up their own non-profit organisation, Wildlife Warriors, in 2002.

Today, we have conservation projects all over the world.

One of our biggest conservation projects is our spectacular Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo. We have had more than 65,000 animals come through our doors, which is truly phenomenal.

Our Wildlife Hospital is like the heart of Australia Zoo and all of our conservation work. It was originally opened in honour of my grandmother, Lyn Irwin, who passed away just before I was two.

She was an extraordinary wildlife carer who took in many sick, injured and orphaned animals. When she died, mum and dad decided to open the Wildlife Hospital in her memory to ensure that her legacy would live on forever.

The goal at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital has always been to do our absolute best to save each and every life that comes into our care. Now, after treating more than 65,000 animals, it is clear that we have not just saved so many individual animals, but also entire species.

Our other conservation work with Wildlife Warriors is a global approach. We support tiger conservation in Sumatra, grey nurse shark research here in Australia, elephants in Cambodia as well as black rhinos and cheetahs in Africa, just to name a few.

The only way that we are able to continue this vital work is through the kindness of donations and the support of Australia Zoo. The funds that we make go straight back into our wildlife work, just as dad designed, and we will continue to do our best to carry on in his footsteps, forever.

With all of my heart, I believe that everyone can be involved in conservation work.

Think of it this way: you don't have to be a chef to savour fine food. You don't have to be a musician to enjoy music. You don't have to be an artist to appreciate artwork.

The same can be said for conservation work. You don't have to be a conservationist to love wildlife and want to protect our wild places.

I want to thank you so very much for taking the time to read this. I am grateful every day for the opportunity to get to share my story and journey with you.

I hope that I am able to spread positivity wherever I go.

I have been given such an incredible platform to use my voice to reach others and I feel that it is my purpose to help as many people as I possibly can.

So sending love and thank you again.

Love and light.

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