Crikey! It's the Irwins
This wonderful show is the perfect blend of education and entertainment. (Illustration by Elizabeth Wong, University of Rhode Island)

‘Crikey! It’s the Irwins’ Carries on the Animal-Loving Legacy of Steve Irwin

The legend of the Crocodile Hunter lives on through his wife and children as they strive to continue his work in animal conservation in their wholesome reality show.

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Crikey! It's the Irwins

The legend of the Crocodile Hunter lives on through his wife and children as they strive to continue his work in animal conservation in their wholesome reality show.

“Crikey! It’s the Irwins” is a fun-loving show that celebrates both the Irwin family and the growth of Australia Zoo, which was started approximately 50 years ago by the late and great Steve Irwin.

Irwin was one of the best-known animal conservationists and, most likely, the most popular crocodile enthusiast in the world. Irwin was a beloved icon for numerous fans who felt inspired by his work portrayed in his Animal Planet reality show, “The Crocodile Hunter,” which ran from 1996 to 2004.

Through this program, Irwin was able to reach audiences across the globe. He became a household name through his lovable personality and high-risk escapades intended to educate people about dangerous animals through the lens of someone who truly cared about wildlife.

Tragically, in September 2006, Irwin received lethal wounds from an accidental encounter with a combative stingray in Batt Reef, Australia, and died from blood loss soon after.

One of Irwin’s biggest projects was Australia Zoo, which he co-owned with his wife, Terri Irwin. He dreamed of expanding this rescue facility and bringing attention to all types of animals — not just Australia’s native species.

His dream has continued thanks to his family. Their hard work and focus has resulted in the wildlife center growing to about 700 acres with over 500 employees. Australia Zoo, which has dubbed itself “Home of the Crocodile Hunter,” now includes huge natural habitats, a world-renowned animal hospital and the public’s support through the family’s new reality show.

“Crikey! It’s the Irwins” is an Animal Planet program that supplies a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the intriguing world of the Australia Zoo and the Irwin family’s efforts to maintain wildlife in honor of their late husband and father. It’s an enlightening and fun experience with a slew of helpful information and a great love for animals.

Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin bring the outside world into their domain where they demonstrate “conservation through exciting education” to a whole new audience.

The episodes showcase the different adventures that occur inside the park and focus on each Irwin and their specific passions.

Robert is following in his dad’s footsteps by learning to handle dangerous reptiles like venomous snakes and massive crocodiles. The youngest Irwin is proud to continue his father’s legacy through teaching awareness of these perilous species and reveals the most excitement whenever he gets even a step closer to becoming the crocodile wrangler his dad was. The 16-year-old is usually paired with Wes Mannion, his mentor and his father’s best friend. With Mannion’s guidance, Robert is preparing for his future duties as a full-time animal conservationist and the Irwin that will eventually inherit Australia Zoo.

Robert’s older sister is a little different. Bindi mostly focuses on animals of the cuddlier variety. She showcases koalas, wombats, red pandas, giraffes and many other cute creatures. She displays a wide variety of knowledge on all of the animals she cares for and does so with a cheery temperament unlike anyone else.

The 22-year-old Irwin’s segments on the program are some of the most human aspect of the show. Due to Bindi’s sweet disposition and emotional connection to the animals, she reveals herself to be the most sensitive to animal grievances and injuries. However, she isn’t fragile: She powers through any obstacle put in front of her, whether that be the loss of a baby koala (a joey) or the transfer of a very well-acquainted giraffe.

One might say it is a strength Bindi learned from her mother.

Terri’s segments are all about being where she’s needed at any time. Whether it’s the rehabilitation center, the tiger exhibit or even supporting her children in their specific endeavors, she is constantly proving herself to be the backbone of Australia Zoo and of “Crikey! It’s the Irwins.”

It’s no wonder that the park was able to expand to such a massive level, as Terri demonstrates her hard work in every aspect of the zoo. She is an unstoppable force that carries her late husband’s memory with her and honors that memory time and time again.

The show even highlights all the efforts done by other staff working in the wildlife center. The audience is introduced to many unique animals and their handlers. Each relationship is more special and heartwarming than the next.

Hunter, a blind tiger, is one of the more popular animals featured in the show. The Sumatran tiger experiences certain woes with his prosthetic eyes but is just as loving and playful as a young carefree cub. His relationship with his handler really shows the amount of trust that these employees must have in these creatures.

Other animals include Macadamia, the koala; Minibus, the wombat; Little Grub, the echidna; and many more. Each of their handlers or trainers showcase their own set of knowledge and personal stakes that are intwined with the animals.

“Crikey! It’s the Irwins” displays a community in Australia Zoo. There is an evident sense of family that exists outside of just the Irwins. The entire park supports and loves the wildlife they care for daily and seem to hold up the late Irwin’s legacy in everything they do.

Season 3 of “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” is currently underway and is expected to have more wildlife, more adventures and more Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin making the world a more animal-friendly place.

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