Father Knew Best: Bindi Irwin Follows in Dad’s Conservationist Footsteps

September 4th marked the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, the Aussie animal-wrassler/television host/educator/conservationist whose unbridled enthusiasm never failed to crack everyone up. The family marked the day privately while Aussies commemorated the day at the Irwins’ Australia Zoo in Queensland, and September 15th will bring a public celebration of the Croc Hunter’s life that’s sure to be bittersweet. But the upside of the story is the legacy Irwin left in nine-year-old daughter Bindi, who has come into her own fame in the past year in television appearances like “Bindi, the Jungle Girl,” and “Planet’s Best with Terri and Bindi,” which costars her mom.  

Bindi recently hosted a parade in Las Vegas to introduce her own line of environmentally-themed children’s clothing, Bindi Wear International. The clothes sport environmental messages, the tags are made from recycled cardboard, and the soles of the shoes are made from recycled rubber. Since debuting at the Vegas trade show Magic (with its namesake doing her turn on the catwalk in their fashion show), Bindi Wear is causing a ruckus among retailers eager to stock her T-shirts, sweaters, swimsuits and accessories, reminiscent of the stir made by a certain tote that was not a plastic bag this summer.

Possibly the best part is that 100 percent of profits go to Australia Zoo’s conservation programs. But apparently anyone famous who wants to help the planet in some way will fall under scrutiny, even wee Bindi. Some are wondering if Bindi’s busy year isn’t a little too much for such a young girl (she also has been in a stage show and works at the family zoo). Last year, 69 percent of Australians polled online by New Idea magazine thought Bindi should continue her father’s work with animals. Now that number is down to 49 percent. Back then 6 percent thought she should concentrate on school like other 9-year-olds, and now that number is up to 17 percent. Regardless, Bindi is acting on her noble passion, just like dear old dad.

"We're getting just further and further away from animals,” she says. “If we keep making them into boots, bags and belts what are we going to be left with?"

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Nice to see this young girl put fur-free, leather-free and eco-friendly fashion in the spotlight. She has more wisdom and compassion than other designers many times her age that are still using the skins of animals and other materials that harm wildlife and their habitats.

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