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.


Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Rocker Slash helps launch new wildlife foundation
Former Guns N' Roses guitarist lends support to new Bob Irwin Wildlife Conservation Foundation.