This week marked the six-year anniversary of the tragic passing of television personality and animal conservationist Steve Irwin. The 44-year-old was killed in 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a nature documentary off the coast of Australia.
Bob Irwin, father of the beloved Australian icon, marked the occasion by launching a foundation dedicated to preserving the natural world his son loved so much. Called the Bob Irwin Wildlife Conservation Foundation, the group will focus on educating children about animals and conservation — as well as supporting grassroot efforts around Australia.
“I'm just an ordinary Aussie bloke, that cares about our future and cares about our kids and I feel really, really sad that if we don't have organisations that are going to look after the environment, our wildlife and our planet as a whole, then my grandchildren and your grandchildren are not going to see what I have seen in my lifetime and that will be really, really sad,” Irwin told the Brisbane Times.
Raising the profile of the launch event was a most unexpected ally — former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. The 47-year-old, who shares a love of animals with Irwin, says he met the 73-year-old during a 2010 Soundwave music festival in Australia.
“He brought some animals out, so we got to actually meet, so I was really star-struck,” Slash said. “He's one of the great mavericks, [of] animal conservationists, who really loves what he does and really cares about the animals and their well-being."
Irwin returned the sentiment saying, “This man is known throughout the world, he has a massive following of all ages of people, and the best thing about this guy is he is right into conservation, and I love him."
Check out Bob and Slash talking more about the new foundation — and their love of animals — in the video below.