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Page 3 Profile: Robert Irwin, budding naturalist

Crikey, who’s this little fella?

Say hello to Robert Irwin. If the mop of blond hair and conservationist’s fatigues look familiar to you, you may well be reminded of his father Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter.

Like father like son?

Nine-year-old Robert has announced he is following in his father’s footsteps by co-hosting a nature programme on Discovery Kids Asia. According to the pre-teen naturalist, the show, called Wild But True, will be based on a “really, really cool concept”. “It’s about how science has gotten ideas and built from inventions from the natural world,” he explains.

It must be in the genes.

It seems so. Steve’s father discovered his love for all things scaly early in life. His father had a keen interest in amphibians, and his mother looked after sick wildlife. Together, they opened a reptile park and gave Steve a four-metre scrub python for his sixth birthday.

And the bright lights beckoned?

Robert has inherited his father’s star quality, as well as his love of nature. The first episode of The Crocodile Hunter contained footage of Steve’s honeymoon with his wife,Teri; rather romantically, they spent it trapping crocodiles. Robert’s big sister Bindi also has the on-screen knack, presenting her very own 26-part wildlife documentary series.

It’s a risky business.

True. Steve died after being pierced by a string ray’s barb while filming an episode of Ocean’s Deadliest. Now Robert says he is keen to do his dad proud: “He was really passionate in every single thing that he did. I think it’s really important to carry on what he did, so I’m really glad that that’s what we’re doing.”

And what does his mum make of it?

She’s behind him all the way. “I think we’re really lucky because so much of our lives together were filmed,” she said. “We’ve got that family opportunity of always filming together, so we can look back on good times any time we want.”

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