When Australian animal expert Steve Irwin died in 2006, he left behind a zoo, a legacy of helping wildlife, and a caring family that shared his passion. Irwin's widow, Terri, took over the Australia Zoo in Queensland when he passed away, and his family announced this week the animal hospital there treated its 90,000th patient.
"With so many devastating fires within Australia, my heart breaks for the people and wildlife who have lost so much," Irwin's daughter, Bindi, wrote on Instagram last week. "I wanted to let you know that we are SAFE. There are no fires near us @AustraliaZoo or our conservation properties."
The 21-year-old went on to say the wildlife hospital at the zoo is busier than ever. "My parents dedicated our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital to my beautiful grandmother. We will continue to honour her by being Wildlife Warriors and saving as many lives as we can," she added.
In following posts, Irwin shared information about some of the animals they've helped, and how others can pitch in. Her younger brother, Robert Irwin, did the same on his Instagram.
The Irwin kids posted about "Blossom the Possum" and "Bear the Fruit Bat" as well as the hundreds of grey-headed foxes they've taken in since the wildfires began in September.
"We have such an incredible team who work day and night to protect gorgeous animals like Blossom," Bindi wrote. "Devastatingly this beautiful girl didn't make it even after working so hard to save her life. I want to thank you for your kind words and support. This is the heart-wrenching truth, every day is a battle to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves."
Both Bindi and Robert encouraged others to donate to the Australia Zoo's Wildlife Warriors, which funds conservation projects. "To cope with so many animals being admitted to the hospital, in 2019 we opened a sea turtle rehabilitation centre, sea snake ward and are about to complete a new bird recovery area, but it's still not enough to keep up," Bindi wrote in another Instagram post.
"We need to build a new ward for our patients. Wildlife Warriors from around the world are asking how they can help us save native wildlife, you can donate on our website www.wildlifewarriors.org," the post continued.
Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate nearly half a billion animals have died since the wildfires began ravaging Australia. At least 25 people have died as a result of the fires and entire towns have been devastated.
Authorities across southeast Australia are racing to get people to safety, using the light rain and cooler weather for cover after supercharged fires continued to ravage the continent over the weekend.
First published on January 6, 2020 / 12:02 PM
© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.