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Before his movie was released, Steve pledged to pour every cent back into conservation.
“To say that I’ve got millions in the bank, mate, would be a load of crap,” he was once quoted as saying.
“It is ironic, considering that the locally endangered Mary River turtle is on display at Australia Zoo and the zoo was in charge of the Australasian captive breeding program for the species,” spokesman Craig Latta said.
“Their lack of interest is really disappointing, as Australia Zoo claims to be all for conservation.” The Sunshine Coast Environment Council said its attempts to encourage the Australia Zoo to become involved in local environmental issues had also failed.
Steve’s movie, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, alone took more than million at the box office, while his enormously popular television series had an audience of half-a-billion viewers worldwide.
The Irwin brand has become synonymous with conservation, and Wildlife Warriors, the charity organisation founded by Steve and Terri Irwin, is involved with projects and a range of partnerships in Australia, Asia and Africa.
But some environmental groups are asking why the Irwins, the zoo and Wildlife Warriors have chosen to remain silent on some key issues in their own backyard.
Last year, the zoo’s expansion plans were given a boost when the state government agreed to excise about 35 hectares of Beerwah State Forest and turn it over to the zoo as part of a land swap.
The former federal government was also a supporter, chipping in .5 million for an expansion of the wildlife hospital due to be completed in April.