Zoo's $2m bonus
News source: Sunshine Coast Daily, Saturday 15 April 2006
By Mark Furler
Minister gives animal hospital healthy hope
BINDI Irwin hopes to inspire a whole new generation about animal conservation.
She's off to a good start with Federal Minister Mal Brough promising not only to personally double the $275 the seven-year-old has raised for Wildlife Warriors Worldwide this year, but also to push for an extra $2 million in the federal budget to vastly improve Australia Zoo's animal hospital.
Bindi Irwin is also taking her father Steve's animal conservation message to a new generation with her own television show. She made her debut on Thursday at Australia Zoo with a live song-and-dance routine which features her with the Crocmen.
Her show on the Discovery Channel in the USA is due to premiere later this year.
While Steve has never lived down the “Baby Bob” incident where he held his son within snapping range of a croc while feeding it two years ago, he fended off suggestions his children were being pushed into the limelight.
“Absolutely not. She is in control of her own life and ever since she was a tiny little thing running around she's been interested in dancing and singing and wildlife,” Steve said.
Bind handled her first major press conference like a pro, upstaging her famous dad as she explained how she had given him pointers on singing and dancing.
Steve said he believed his later mother, Lyn, who started Australia Zoo with his dad, would “have a tear in her eye” knowing that her conservation battle had gone global and that her granddaughter was actively involved.
“We are just continuing on in the great work she started. She was a pioneer in wildlife rehabilitation way back in the 1960s.”
Steve handed over a cheque for $1 million to Wildlife Warriors on behalf of the Zoo.
On top of that, the Zoo is spending more than $1 million absorbing the running costs of its wildlife hospital so that any donations made go straight to the care of injured animals, not administration.
Mr Brough said it was time everyone put their hand in their pockets to support wildlife. He said he was confident of securing funding from the Commonwealth for a major upgrade of the Zoo's animal hospital, which is treating about 3000 animals a year.
For more details, see www.wildlifewarriors.org.au