Bindi Irwin says Covid-19 has been her family’s ‘hardest time’ since her father Steve’s death – as Australia Zoo faces major financial struggles
Bindi Irwin has admitted Covid-19 has been the toughest challenge for her family since the death of her father, Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin, in 2006.
The conservationist, 23, spoke to Page Six about the challenges the Irwins have faced during the pandemic, including lockdowns, border closures, financial woes and keeping the zoo open without any visitors.
‘It has probably been the hardest time in our lives other than when dad passed away,’ Bindi said.
Tough times: Bindi Irwin has spoken about the struggles of Covid and how the pandemic has been the hardest trial for the Irwin family since her father Steve’s death. Pictured (L-R): Robert Irwin, Terri Irwin, Grace Warrior, Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell
Bindi explained that because Australia Zoo has ‘over a thousand animals’, the venue is unable to close – even when there aren’t any tourists providing revenue.
‘We still had to feed all our animals, do check-ups,’ she said, adding: ‘It’s as if we were still open, but without any visitors.’
She also revealed her family was in lockdown for a total of 78 days, but they still had to spend $80,000 a week to feed the animals.
Honest: Bindi, 23, admitted Covid-19 had been the toughest challenge for her family since the death of her father, Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin, in 2006
Bindi said her mother, Terri Irwin, had been a ‘champion’ during the pandemic and she doesn’t know what her family ‘would have done without her’.
‘Her leadership has been phenomenal,’ the young zookeeper added.
The Irwins were already struggling early this year, with the Covid-19 recession impacting the family business Australia Zoo throughout 2020.
Matriarch: Bindi said her mother, Terri Irwin (pictured), had been a ‘champion’ during the pandemic and she doesn’t know what her family ‘would have done without her’
But things took a turn for the worse in November when Terri, 57, acknowledged the extent of the financial woes at the Sunshine Coast tourist attraction.
She told The Courier-Mail she’d taken out a bank loan to secure the zoo’s future, after months of border closures impacted their revenue due to lack of tourists.
She said: ‘We are 11 years from the GFC [global financial crisis] and still feeling the ripples of that. So I want to be prepared for whatever’s coming next.’
Financial lifeline: Terri said in November she’d taken out a bank loan to secure Australia Zoo’s future, after months of border closures impacted their revenue due to lack of tourists
Despite state leaders promising borders would reopen soon, Terri said she’d adopted strategies to prevent the animal sanctuary from going under.
The Irwin matriarch noted the early months of the pandemic were difficult because she needed to spend $80,000 a week just to feed the 1,200 animals.
She was also forced to cut costs, reducing her staff from 500 to 200 personnel.
Terri has been at the helm of Australia Zoo since her husband, Steve, died in a freak accident while filming a wildlife documentary in 2006.
Tragic: Terri has been at the helm of Australia Zoo since her husband, Steve, died in a freak accident while filming a wildlife documentary in 2006. Pictured: Terri, Robert, Bindi and Steve Irwin in April 2004