'I think Steve would be amazed that we've treated our 100,000th patient,' said Terri Irwin.
Even 15 years since the tragic death of the legendary Steve Irwin, his family is doing an awe-inspiring job of continuing his legacy of wildlife conservation and rescue. As owners and operators of the Australia Zoo and its Wildlife Hospital, Terri Irwin—the widow of the late beloved "Crocodile Hunter"—and their children, daughter Bindi and son Robert Irwin, have made it their life mission to rescue and save wildlife in danger. To date, the family has helped thousands of animals brought to its center for life-saving treatment. The tight-knit tribe of self-dubbed Wildlife Warriors hit the incredible milestone of treating their hospital's 100,000th patient in November 2020 when an adorable grey-headed flying fox named Isabelle was brought in with an injured wing.
According to Discovery, "Isabelle was sadly hit by a car—an all too common reason for admissions to the hospital." The hospital veterinarians performed life-saving surgery to repair her wing and Isabelle was expected to make a full recovery. "So far, the hospital has treated more than 6,500 bats," the website revealed. "Hundreds of different species have been treated, rehabilitated, and released. Almost ten thousand koalas have been treated here! The hospital has been involved in more than 35 research projects focused on conserving native wildlife like wombats, crocodiles, tortoises and so many others!"
Addressing the unforgettable day in the Wildlife Hospital's history, Terri Irwin said: "Today is an amazing day for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital because we have treated our 100,000th patient. Patient number 100,000 is a beautiful flying fox or fruit bat named Isabelle. She was sadly hit by a car. So today, she'll be getting surgery to fix her injured wing. Grey-headed flying foxes are so important because they are our longest flying, greatest reaching pollinators. They fly all over the country. That's why we have wonderful fruit and agriculture. And so with the bushfires that we suffered earlier in the year, we saw a lot of fruit bats succumbing to the fires, baby fruit bats that couldn't escape the fires."
"And we treated hundreds and hundreds of fruit bats. They're among the most important animals in our ecosystem. And I'm really proud that we continued to care for them," she added. Speaking of how her late husband would feel about their hospital hitting such an incredible milestone, Terri said: "I think Steve would be amazed that we've treated our 100,000th patient. You have to keep in mind, when the hospital first opened back in 2004, year number one, we only treated 64 animals. Now we're seeing more than 64 animals in a single day."
Both Bindi and Robert Irwin have enthusiastically followed in their parents' footsteps to care for the native animals of Australia. "My parents’ dedication to making the world a better place has inspired me since I can remember," Bindi wrote in an Instagram post in September 2020. "Together they created the nonprofit organization 'Wildlife Warriors' to protect wildlife and wild places around the world. Through Wildlife Warriors and Australia Zoo, we have protected nearly half a million acres of conservation property in Australia."
"We have cared for over 94,000 wildlife patients at our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital with the goal of giving each animal a second chance at life and releasing them back to the wild. We support cheetah and rhino conservation work in Africa and employ a team of 60 rangers in Sumatra to dismantle illegal tiger snare traps," she continued. "We've funded and participated in over 50 conservation studies, learning more about how to better protect Mother Earth. We have set up endangered species breeding programs at Australia Zoo supporting at-risk wildlife. We have filmed across the globe hoping to educate and inspire everyone to believe in their strength to change the world. We have dedicated our lives to standing up for the planet. It's up to all of us to make a difference for the generations to come. The future is in our hands."