Terri Irwin biography



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Terri Raines was born in Eugene, Oregon, USA on the 20 July, 1964. Her father drove heavy-haul trucks and would often bring home wildlife that had been injured on the road. This instilled in Terri a love for wildlife and a desire to help animals from a very early age.

At 22, Terri was running the family business, worked part-time at an emergency veterinary hospital and operated a wildlife rehabilitation organisation called 'Cougar Country', rehabilitating and releasing predatory mammals such as cougars, bears and bobcats. It was not long before she was caring for more than 300 animals a year.

In 1991 during a holiday to Australia, Terri visited the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. Terri was captivated by the enthusiastic man in the khakis talking so passionately about crocodiles, and introduced herself, realising they both had in common their passion for wildlife and conservation. This chance encounter would change their lives forever!

Steve and Terri married on 4 June, 1992, in Eugene, Oregon. The wedding was a huge occasion with all of Terri's friends, family and colleagues realising they would be saying goodbye as she started her life in Australia with Steve. Terri and Steve immediately began their life together in Australia with wildlife documentary filming, an amazing zoo, and later two incredible children and a stack of adventures.

Steve and Terri’s wildlife documentaries have brought Australia Zoo to the world stage and have attracted visitors from across the world to the Sunshine Coast. Steve and Terri have filmed over 300 episodes of The Crocodile Hunter, Croc Diaries, Croc Files, New Breed Vets, Ghosts of War and Bindi: The Jungle Girl, and starred in the blockbuster movie The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. These programs have been watched in 142 countries by more than 500 million viewers worldwide.

In 2006, Terri was awarded an Honorary Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her ‘outstanding dedication to wildlife conservation and the tourism industry’. She was also the winner of the 2006 Ernst & Young Northern Region Social Entrepreneur of the Year and 2007 Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Award.  

In 2014, Terri was a Queensland nominee for the prestigious Australian of the Year Awards, and also won the InStyle Australia Women of Style Environmental Award, recognising her for her outstanding work in wildlife conservation.

In 2015, Terri won the Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership in Queensland and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from The University of Queensland in recognition of her outstanding contributions to conservation and environmental management efforts.

Becoming an Australian citizen in 2009, Terri continues to be a passionate wildlife spokesperson and conservation icon around the world. She actively speaks out and supports conservation issues, including the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, a 135,000-hectare property in Cape York dedicated to Steve. After a tireless six year battle, Terri successfully spearheaded a campaign to save the Reserve from the threat of strip mining for bauxite in November 2013. Terri is determined to dedicate the rest of her life to Bindi, Robert and her husband's passion for conservation.