That’s right, much like American Chandler was visiting Australia Zoo back in 2013, American Terri was also paying Down Under a visit back in 1991 when she met her future husband Steve. And, according to the official Australia Zoo website, “it was love at first sight”.
Although the Irwins are best known for their legacy at Australia Zoo, Steve developed his conservation roots back in the 1970s helping his parents at Beerwah Reptile Park, which would later grow to be the Australia Zoo we all know and love.
By the time the 1990s rolled around, animal-lover Steve had taken over the wildlife park. The 29-year-old was busy managing the growing acreage when he ran into Terri Raines from Eugene, Oregon. And from the moment the 27-year-old stepped foot in the wildlife park, it was clear the pair had a lot in common.
Steve was instantly smitten to learn that the American tourist had started her own wildlife rehabilitation facility called Cougar Country which specialised in predatory mammals.
After Steve heard about Terri’s shared passion for animals, much like a cheetah, their love sped at an extraordinarily fast pace. Just a year after their first meeting, the wildlife-loving couple wed in Terri’s home at Oregon before returning to land of the kangaroo.
The minute the khaki-clad pair said their vows, it was clear this union was not going to be your average one.
Rather than embark on a honeymoon, newly-weds Steve and Terri set out on a crocodile rescue mission, filming the entire journey. And thus, The Crocodile Hunter documentary series was born.
Just as newlywed Terri changed her last name to Irwin, the happy couple finally updated the sign outside their growing wildlife park to read ‘Australia Zoo’.
As they were blissfully in love and building an animal empire, Steve and Terri were met with the exciting news that they would soon be welcoming another addition to the park. Though, this time not of the furry variety.
That’s right, back in 1998 the wildlife warriors gave birth to their first child Bindi, who they named after one of Steve’s favourite crocodiles and which also translates to ‘young girl’ in certain Indigenous Australian dialects.
Not five years later, in 2003, little Bindi gained a brother as Steve’s mini-me Robert was born.
As new parents Steve and Terri were kept busy growing both their family and Australia Zoo, the loved-up couple also filled their days filming animal documentaries to share their message of conservation all around the world.
Then, in 2006, disaster fell upon the family.
On September 4th, 2006, Steve Irwin was snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef when he was tragically struck by a stingray. The fatal accident reached ears all over the globe as people far and wide mourned the great Crocodile Hunter alongside his wife and two kids.
Today, Terri, Bindi, and Rob continue to honour Steve’s legacy through running Australia Zoo, where they share their dad’s passion for wildlife with anyone who will listen.
With 22-year-old Bindi currently in her final trimester of pregnancy, widow Terri will be welcoming her first granddaughter next month. We’re sure the mini wildlife warrior will continue to carry on her late grandfather’s legacy.
And, though he may be gone, Steve will never be forgotten as Terri continues to find sweet ways to honour the great love of her life.
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