Has Terri Irwin quit Australia Zoo so she can focus on son Robert's new career in the US?
That’s the bombshell rumour sweeping the Queensland tourist park, after the conservationist mum was a surprise no-show at last week’s Steve Irwin Gala Dinner in Brisbane – the first time the 53-year-old has missed the event since it started in 2006.
Insiders tell New Idea whispers are rife that the legendary naturalist has stepped down as boss, giving daughter Bindi the green light to take the top spot at Australia Zoo.
‘It’s all that anyone’s talking about at Australia Zoo – rumours that Terri has given it all up and Bindi is now in charge,’ says a source.
‘We’re hearing that Terri will obviously still own the zoo, but Bindi will be the face of it and for all intents and purposes will run the show day-to-day.
'Apparently it’s all because Terri wants to really focus on helping Robert build his career and profile in the US. She’s really excited about his photography and thinks he will be an even bigger worldwide name than his dad – the next David Attenborough.
‘But he can’t travel the world and do appearances and take photos in remote locations on his own because he’s too young, and that’s where Terri steps in.
‘She’s really made it her new ambition – to be Robert’s manager and make him a big star, even if it means her stepping away from Australia Zoo for a while.’
Adding weight to these rumours was Bindi and boyfriend Chandler Powell’s big display at the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner, with the glamour couple standing proud in mum Terri’s place for the big event.
The 19-year-old took to Instagram to speak of her excitement about the event, revealing: ‘It was the perfect night of celebrating Dad’s life and legacy, fundraising for @wildlifewarriorsworldwide.’
Adds a source: ‘Bindi and Chandler are really excited about taking on more responsibility at Australia Zoo. They’ve got their own big plans, and this is giving Bindi the freedom to do exactly what she wants and follow her dad’s dream with the man of her dreams by her side.
Terri, meanwhile, was reportedly preparing to head to the US with 13-year-old Robert for his huge TV appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon over the Thanksgiving weekend – famously one of the highest- rating shows of the year.
‘Robert has been on Jimmy a few times this year and he’s become really, really popular in the US,’ says a source.
‘Terri was blown away when he was invited back for their Thanksgiving weekend show – it’s a real show of Robert’s star power, and Terri’s convinced he’s on the cusp of making it really big in America.’
Indeed, Terri has been busy promoting talented Robert’s range of photography gift cards at Australia Zoo – and regularly gushes about his amazing abilities behind the camera.
It’s believed he started taking photos at the tender age of six, and he has revealed his late dad inspired him to first pick up a camera and start snapping.
‘He was not only the most amazing dad and incredible wildlife warrior on the planet, he also had an extraordinarily artistic mind and took breathtaking photos of nature,’ Robert once disclosed.
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