Robert Irwin has opened up about the staggering cost of running his family's Australia Zoo, which was established over 50 years ago by his late father, Steve Irwin and his parents.
On Friday morning, the 18-year-old conservationist told Nova's Fitzy & Wippa that it sets the zoo back a whopping $80,000 just to feed the animals every week.
'Absolutely crazy' cost
Rob revealed that the ongoing pandemic and significantly lower visitor rates have made it even more difficult to keep the 700-acre wildlife park afloat.
"It's a really challenging time and going through a Covid pandemic for anyone is tough, but we're seeing about an $80,000 food bill every week. Just absolutely crazy," he said.
"And when you've got no one coming in it's not the best business model, you know, it's pretty challenging," he added.
Robert, who was just three years old when his dad passed away, went on to explain how Australia Zoo is 'so much more' than just the zoo itself.
"It's about conservation. That's what my mum and dad started. You know, we've got conservation projects all over the world.
"Where I'm sitting right now, I'm in the conference room of our wildlife hospital where we've taken in over 110,000 animals. And, you know, through it all, that hasn't wavered, our conservation work is still going strength to strength and it's thanks to the support from everyone."
Located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Australia Zoo began as the two-acre 'Beerwah Reptile Park' which was set up by Steve Irwin's parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin.
Today, the park is home to thousands of animals and employs over 500 staff in an effort to keep the Crocodile Hunter's legacy alive.
Uncle on duty
Later in their chat, Fitzy and Wippa quizzed Rob about his uncle duties when looking after adorable 11-month-old niece, Grace.
While the wildlife photographer clearly dotes on his older sister Bindi's bub, he admitted he said he'd rather 'catch a venomous snake' than help with nappy changes.
"But eventually I went, 'Okay, I'm gonna do it,'" he recalled. "I'm like, 'Alright, here we go. Can’t be that bad'. Little did I know it was an absolute explosion!"
As the hosts laughed, Rob struggled to convey just the intensity of the situation that faced him.
"No, no, no, no, no, you don't understand. It was like, coming out. I'm not even gonna get into it. So I'm sitting here with a whole pack of wet wipes, I used the entire... I'm not exaggerating the entire packet. And it still wasn't enough. It was the most terrifying experience of my life."
Next month, Bindi, 23, Robert and their mum, Terri Irwin are set to appear on Celebrity Gogglebox Australia along with Aussie power couple Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster Blake.
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