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Go wild with Robert Irwin!

Croc Hunter Jr. premieres a fun documentary series, and we find out more about his wild adventures

Robert Irwin is taking big steps in his late father’s shoes

Crikey, a love for wildlife runs strong in the Irwin family! Just last year, Steve Irwin’s loveable daughter, Bindi, released a nature documentary for kids.

Now, Bindi’s precocious younger brother, Robert, is appearing as a host of his first series, “Wild But True”. The show explores how nature has inspired modern-day technology.

Together with Bindi and his mother Terri, Robert sat down with Weekender to talk about his new show, their exploits around the world, and his thoughts on how humans can help to save the animals.

You’ve been busy! What were you up to this year?

2014 has been an awesome, awesome year. (My family and I) have been lucky enough to travel to a lot of different places this year. (For example,) we went to Canada for mountain-biking!

Robert and “Wild But True” co-host Isabel Yamazaki ride in a monster truck for an episode of the show

Which episode from your big project “Wild But True” was your favourite?

That’s really hard to decide! Probably (the one where) we got to spend the day with monster trucks. The whole day was spent in this massive monster truck going over jumps and all kinds of things. I think it’s going to be very exciting to watch.

When you arrive in a new country, what’s the first thing you want to do?

To be honest, (to) check out the native wildlife. Especially with Singapore; the wildlife here is absolutely incredible. We went to MacRitchie Reservoir where we saw monkeys, Asian water monitor (lizards), and squirrels!

Like the rest of the Irwins, Robert is a natural at navigating through wildlife

You work with so many animals – but is there one you wish you could see?

(I’d like) to go out and see wild tigers. We actually do conservation work in Sumatra, where we have an anti-poaching unit… I think it would be really fun to go out there and see – or even just hear – a wild tiger.

What kind of animal do you want to be?

My favourite animal is the crocodile, so I would love to be one! But I also think it’d be cool to be an emu, because emus are direct descendants of dinosaurs. If look closely, underneath their wings, they’ve still kept one massive claw over millions of years.

They probably can’t use that for anything, but it looks cool.

Robert filming for an episode of “Wild But True”

With your tight schedule, how do you find time for family and school?

We’re so lucky – we get to travel everywhere as a family. Wherever we go, we support each other.

When it comes to schooling, we do distance education. We take online courses, complete the work sent to us, and do work with our teachers over the phone or online.

We always work throughout the school holidays, and take time off when we’re filming or travelling. (This way,) we can always stay ahead in school, and build up extra credit.

(Terri tells us that he is currently two years ahead in school – the youngest seventh grader in Queensland!)

The Irwin family. From left: Bindi, Robert, and Terri

You and your sister also believe in aiding people’s communities. How do you help them?

The most important thing: it’s not just (about) directly helping a little injured animal, but it’s all about education. So if we can actually go out and educate people, that’s how positive change is going to be made.

It doesn’t really matter if you have a positive or negative take on something – (as long as) we could all just start talking about it, then eventually, positive change can definitely be made.

What has helped you the most in these few years to find your place in this field?

Whatever we do and want to do, Mom always supports us. Like (how) I’ve just taken up mountain biking – she supports me with that. I think that’s the only reason why we can do what we do.

By Pamela Chow

“Wild But True” airs every Tuesday at 5pm on Discovery Kids.