Robert Irwin, son of the late conservationist and television personality Steve Irwin, recently shared footage of the first ever Irwin’s turtle that has been hatched in captivity.
The Irwin’s turtle (Elseya irwini) is named after Steve Irwin because he was the first person to discover it, while on a trip with his father, Robert’s grandfather.
“This is the very first Irwin’s turtle ever hatched for any zoological facility anywhere in the world,” Robert said. “It’s just so surreal. My dad would be stoked with that.”
Steve Irwin died in 2006 after being stung through the heart by a stingray while filming a documentary. Since his death, his children Robert and Bindi have taken up his conservation and media work. Robert has appeared in several TV shows and currently works at the Australia Zoo, where the turtle was hatched.
Although the Irwin’s turtle is not officially listed as a threatened or endangered species, conservationists have said that its habitat is under threat due to the 1987 construction of the Burdekin Dam, which led to a decline in water quality in areas where the turtle is known to live.
In explaining why it declined to classify the Irwin’s turtle as threatened in 2009, Australia’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee wrote, “A population estimate of the Irwin’s Turtle, based on estimated extent of occurrence, likely habitat and density observations, is some 5,000 individuals. There is no direct evidence of decline because there are no prior estimates to compare with.”
All of this makes it even more special that Robert Irwin has managed to breed this likely threatened species.
Irwin’s hundreds of thousands of social media followers were just as emotional as he was to see him continue on his father’s legacy.
“I’m not crying, you are,” wrote one commenter. “So cool to see @RobertIrwin continue the work of his dad! Growing up watching Steve and now seeing Rob do great things, excellent role model! Just so dang cool!”
“We’re all crying right? Wow. What a legacy,” wrote another.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.