Robert Irwin Gets Emotional as He Completes Dad Steve’s Wildlife Mission: ‘Dad Would Be Pretty Proud’

The ‘Crikey! It’s the Irwins’ star shared the latest milestone at the Australia Zoo.

Crikey! Robert’s Irwin is bringing all he feels!

On Saturday, the wildlife conservationist celebrated the Australia Zoo’s latest milestone, and it has a special connection to his late father, Steve Irwin.

“This is one of the highlights of my entire life and one of the most special moments ever for Australia Zoo. This is the very first Elseya irwini, or Irwin’s turtle, ever hatched for any zoological facility anywhere in the world,” he explained.

As an old photo appeared on the screen of his father holding up the adult Irwin’s turtle he discovered, Robert continued, “This species is a turtle that dad originally discovered out in the wild, and for the first time we’ve got a little baby.”

The video showed Robert holding the tiny turtle in his palm while standing over a small pond at the zoo. “Right now, he’s getting in his first swim in a brand new pond,” he explained. “This is a little slice of the wild. Let’s get him in the water.”

“Off he goes,” Robert said. As he watched the baby turtle swim off and begin to explore its new habitat, Robert reflected on the emotional moment and the memories of his father that surfaces.

“It’s just so surreal,” he said, he voice wavering. “And all those stories from Dad about just how amazing and beautiful they are… I don’t get emotional that much, but I just know Dad would be really proud, Dad would be stoked,” he said.

According to Wildlife Warriors, the animal conservation foundation established by Steve and wife Terri Irwin in 2002, Irwin’s turtles have a specialized habitat requiring fresh oxygenated water to enable cloacal breathing, making them susceptible to habitat degradation. Since the erection of a dam in the Burdekin River in 1987, the turtle species’ population has been in sharp decline.