It's been almost five months since wildlife expert Steve Irwin's fatal encounter with a stingray. Steve's wife Terri talks to Gayle about how she's coping, and about her commitment to Steve's legacy and wildlife conservation.
Terri says she wants to continue to support Steve's work as a "wildlife warrior" because it was his passion. Steve particularly believed in helping apex predators—the animals at the top of the food chain, such as sharks, crocodiles and snakes—because of their important roles in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, Terri says.
"When we're fighting to protect wildlife, you're really standing up for creatures who don't have a voice," she says. "And it's also important because we forget that the wild places are intrinsically connected to humanity. And if we lose wildlife—apex predators and the animals that help support the ecosystem—ultimately that we're going to find that clean water and clean air are dependant on these places and it will affect us directly."
An American who grew up in Oregon, Terri says she will remain in Australia to raise the couple's two children, Bindi and Robert. "It's the most achingly beautiful continent on the face of the earth," Terri says. "And you go there and you'll feel homesick to leave and the people are so nice and welcoming. … You can go places and drive for two days and not see another person."
Terri says she will continue her work with the Australia Zoo, which includes a wildlife hospital and other conservation properties. "Steve had things planned for the next 10 years—I'm set. I know where I'm going, I know my goals, I know my direction. It's going to be a lot of work, but I know where I'm going."
Published on January 19, 2007