Robert Irwin reveals family heartbreak on The Project


Robert Irwin has opened up about his family heartbreak on The Sunday Project.

The beloved conservationist was a guest host of the show, joining Hamish Macdonald, Georgie and Michael Hing to talk about a range of topics including the Socceroos bowing out of the FIFA World Cup and the growing mosquito population plaguing many Aussie towns.

And when the topic turned to dementia and how hard it is to watch loved ones still be there physically but not be the same person mentally anymore, the son of Australian icon Steve Irwin expressed his sadness.

He said he knew all too well about the struggles the disease brings, as it has touched his own family. Irwin also expressed his hope that a drug to beat the disease will soon be available to sufferers.

“I think there’s no-one living who hasn’t encountered someone or has a loved one who has experienced this,” Irwin said.

“I know my grandfather on my mum’s side had a form of dementia and a lot of family friends have had that as well and it’s just, it’s devastating.”

“Someone you love, someone you’re close to you see going through that and just not being able to relive and enjoy the moments they had it’s heartbreaking.”

A young Robert Irwin with his older sister Bindi and their father Steve Irwin.
A young Robert Irwin with his older sister Bindi and their father Steve Irwin. Steve died in September of 2004 after being pierced through the chest by a sting ray.
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“But I guess it just reminds you you’ve got to spend every second with the people you love and really surround yourself with love and light and hopefully this is light at the end of the tunnel for a safe way for people to stop this.”

Irwin also talked about how he’s proud to be continuing his dad’s legacy, including by performing with the Wiggles recently at a gala dinner for Steve Irwin Day, hosted by Rove.

“The Wiggles are just legendary, my dad actually did a really fun collaboration project with them at Australia Zoo way back in the day 20 years ago,” he said.

“So we’ve worked with them for a long time so the fact all of the original Wiggles came back to support our charity Wildlife Warriors means the world.

“Dad set this up as a way to support wildlife conservation here in Australia and on the global stage and a night like that just makes us realise his legacy is alive and thriving and it’s the honour of a lifetime to keep that going.”

Irwin also revealed the most dangerous animal he deals with isn’t what you’d expect.

“This is the thing people don’t understand,” he said.

“Everyone goes ‘it must be so crazy to work with venomous snakes and crocodiles, tigers and all this’, but mosquitoes are responsible for the demise of 700,000 plus people worldwide.

“This is something we really need to look at. From my environmental background you can’t just wipe out one particular animal entirely, that always has its ramifications, but it’s definitely something we need to look into.

“There’s a lot of people suffering. Crocodiles are easy, mosquitoes, those things, mate. They attack me. it’s crazy.”

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